Racism allegation mars Poppies win

Kettering Town v Rushall Olympic 2019 NNL-190223-182001002
Kettering Town v Rushall Olympic 2019 NNL-190223-182001002

Kettering Town’s last-gasp win at the weekend was marred by an allegation of racist comments from the crowd.

The Poppies moved eight points clear at the top after Brett Solkhon’s added time winner saw them beat Rushall Olympic 2-1.

But the victory was overshadowed by an allegation made on social media by Rushall’s Massiah McDonald that two Poppies fans in the Latimer Park crowd made racial slurs.

Poppies striker Aaron O’Connor also tweeted to say he heard Rushall’s Orrin Pendley, who used to play for Kettering, was racially abused during the game.

Kettering Town owner Ritchie Jeune said that nobody connected with names on the seats which McDonald alleged racist comments came from was in the seats at the time.

Yesterday (Sunday) a statement from the Poppies said: “The club has been made aware of an allegation of racist comments being made during yesterday’s game against Rushall Olympic.

“We will obviously investigate these claims but in the meantime would remind everyone attending Latimer Park that such behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

“If you did witness anything during yesterday’s match then please contact club chairman David Mahoney via david.mahoney@ketteringtownfc.com.

“Likewise if you witness anything at a future fixture we ask that you immediately inform a matchday steward who will deal with the matter.

“The board wishes to apologise to anyone impacted by these events and assure you that we will not tolerate such behaviour.”

A year ago Kettering Town were warned by the FA after an allegation of racism during their win against Redditch in August 2017.

A police spokesman said the allegation from Saturday’s match hadn’t been reported to them.

The spokesman said: “Racism is absolutely not tolerated in Northamptonshire and we would encourage anyone who has been a victim of racism or witnessed an incident of racism to contact us and report it.”

A statement from Rushall Olympic yesterday said they would co-operate with the Poppies board to investigate the incident.

The statement said: “Inflammatory incidents like this are highly charged and bring a gamut of emotions that transcend football and put the game into perspective.

“As a club we abhor racism and discrimination in all forms and will continue to support our players and staff throughout all our teams through all of our age groups.

“Our chairman, John Allen, has spoken to the Kettering Town chairman, David Mahoney, today and Kettering Town have released an official statement which reiterates their conversation that the alleged incidents will be fully investigated and we will offer our full co-operation as a club during this time.

“As a club, the welcome given to our officials at Kettering Town on Saturday was warm and we are in no doubt that the good people of both Rushall Olympic and Kettering Town, players, staff and supporters, will do their utmost to assist in the investigative process.

“No further comment will be made at this time.”