A FOOTBALL club whose press officer labelled officials of an amateur league as morons has been charged with bringing the league into disrepute.
Northern League chairman Mike Amos said Ricky Butler, who also serves as Northallerton Town FC’s matchday programme editor, had also written on a Facebook page linked to the football club what “appear to be extremely offensive claims suggesting bribes”, and a sexual remark involving Mr Amos.
Mr Butler said the remarks questioning the intelligence of the league’s programme of the year judging panel, who include BBC Look North reporter Ian Reeve and Stockton councilor Michael Clark, had been written as a joke.
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The furore follows Mr Butler, of Darlington, apologising for likening rival team Willington FC’s fans to mental hospital patients and its players to inbreds in a match report about an FA Vase match last September.
Mr Amos said the Northern League expected clubs to be responsible for their social media outlets and that he was dismayed by the damaging comments close to the climax of the league’s 125th anniversary season, with its cup final at St James’ Park next month.
He said at a meeting on May 15 the league could consider fining the club over the matter and may refer Mr Butler to North Riding Football Association, which could ban him from involvement in the game for a limited time period.
Mr Amos added: “The shame of it is that he produces a good programme. I don’t think anyone would give any credit to what he is saying.”
Les Hood, the club’s chairman, was unavailable for comment, but Mr Amos said he understood the club was very unhappy about being linked to Mr Butler’s comments.
While his second season as the club’s press officer had seen the club becoming the league’s first to introduce video highlights of every game, Mr Butler said his comments had attracted more attention and had been taken out of context and had not been written on an official Northallerton Town FC page.
He said: “I find it staggering - there are so many other problems in football at this time – that a long-running private joke can be dealt with in this way.
“The league needs to realise that social media is a good way of getting opinions and if you are only going to allow people who make a positive opinion that’s almost like a Nazi state.”