Stones skipper hit by 112-day ban
Maidstone United manager Jim Ward was summoned to crisis talks with chairman Paul Bowden-Brown today to discuss the team's disciplinary record after captain Paul Foley was hit by a massive 112-day suspension by the KCFA, reports
Foley was dismissed for allegedly head butting an opponent less than 10 minutes into the Charity Shield match with Cray Wanderers on August 2 and on Tuesday Sean Mitchell also walked for violent conduct just five minutes after appearing
as a second half substitute against Slade Green in the Kent League.
Two weeks into the new season Stones have also picked up a number of bookings for dissent and Bowden-Brown is determined to act. He will introduce a zero-tolerance policy to tackle poor discipline which he fears could threaten
the club's promotion ambitions later in the season if key players are missing through suspension.
"I will not go back to the days of the Kent County League when we had one of the worst disciplinary records. I have told Jim I want this matter sorted out now. This is two red cards in three games for violent conduct and I will not stand
for it," said Bowden-Brown.
Ward said he backed his chairman's stance and he was due to have a clear the air meeting with his players at training. The club may tighten its already strict code of conduct which can see players fined up to 50% of their matchday wages if
they are cautioned or sent off.
"I have signed a number of fiery characters during the summer but I want to nip this problem in the bud straightaway because I will not stand for violent play or petulance. Silly bookings mount up during the season and mean players are
suspended when we really need them after Christmas," said Ward.
The club have yet to confirm if they will appeal against Foley's ban which runs from September 9 until the end of December.
The Stones are still waiting to hear what punishment Mitchell will receive.
Foley told the Kent Messenger he was surprised by the size of the
ban. "When Jim told me I just sat down because I could not believe it because I
did not make contact with the player. I have never had such a long suspension so
hopefully it will be reduced or overturned on appeal," he said.
Meanwhile, Stones were this week linked with defender Paul Lamb who has been released by Margate. The 30 year old has also met with Gravesend boss Andy Ford.
Stones play their first home Kent League match against Erith Town on Saturday with Ward promising changes to the starting line-up following Tuesday's draw with Slade Green.