‘Proud to be Wisbech Town manager’ - Fenmen lose 9-0 but Appleby praises players’ passion
DEFIANT Wisbech Town boss Steve Appleby has said the passion shown by his players during last night’s 9-0 defeat made him proud to be their manager.
The Fenmen had three players sent off as they crumbled to their heaviest defeat in four years away at Mildenhall Town.
But Appleby insisted it was the only time in his life that he had ever seen a team “clapped off the pitch having suffered a 9-0 defeat”.
In a statement posted on the club’s fans’ forum today, Appleby praised the bravery of his players and said that an official report on the referee Marc Wilson’s performance would be submitted to the FA.
He said: “I for one was proud to be their manager and for me to say that on the back of a 9-0 defeat seems ridiculous but anybody who witnessed the game last night knows truly what went on.
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“The boys showed passion and commitment to the cause.”
Simon Ashton and Neal Spafford picked up the first red cards of their career and Callum Reed was also dismissed for two bookings during the Ridgeons Premier Division rout.
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Appleby said: “We were on top for most of the first half, even after we went down to nine men. Early second half we went down to eight men and at that point it was still only 1-0.
“Obviously the lads tired and it resulted in the heavy defeat we witnessed.
“Under most circumstances, I and the players should look at ourselves as to why this kind of result happened. The buck stops with us, after all.
“But, in last night’s case, someone else had a major influence on the result as I don’t think it was Mildenhall who beat us.
“I won’t go on here and slate a referee but we all know what happened last night and in due course an official report will be made through the correct channels.
“I went to see our secretary last night to ask for this to be done with the full backing of the chairman.
“This is not a case of sour grapes from a manager after a heavy defeat, it’s just that during the course of this season already, things have not gone for us that are out of our hands.
“Yes, you’ve got to stand up and be counted but when decisions like last night’s are having such a profound effect on a game, it’s time to make a stand as a club.”
Appleby condemned Saturday’s 4-1 FA Cup First Qualifying Round defeat to Wroxham as “woeful” but hit out at fans who directed “personal abuse” at his players and assistant manager Chris Dear.
He said: “During the game, several of the players were criticised loudly by a small section of our supporters and Chris Dear received some abuse in the bar afterwards.
“I for one believe that a supporter should be allowed to express criticism/praise here on the forum, on the Facebook page or at the game.
“But several of the players have come to me and said they were abused. That I do not agree with.
“A proper supporter goes through thick and thin and what I can assure you is no player goes out there to play badly.
“Yes, you should be allowed to express your opinion quite freely. Football is all about opinions and during the game and on the internet, I’ve never had a problem.
“So, please keep doing what you are doing, but cut out the personal abuse as that is something I will not stand for.”
Club chairman Barry Carter and vice-chairman Dave ‘Snips’ Parsons also issued a statement on the forum thanking fans for their support at last night’s game.
They said they were “extremely proud of the manager and the players who performed so well in extremely challenging circumstances.”
They said Appleby was “held in the highest regard” by the whole board and could not “emphasise how little blame they placed on him for last night’s result.”
Appleby concluded his post by stating: “Thank you for your support last night. I’ve never seen a team clapped off the pitch having suffered a 9-0 defeat before in my life and last night I was extremely proud to be the manager of Wisbech Town Football Club.”