It was probably the worst injury I've ever seen on a pitch, claims Kevin Watson
The 26-year-old club stalwart was seriously hurt just over half-an-hour into the Ryman League Division One North clash at Ship Lane with the scoreline at 0-0.
The fixture was officially abandoned by the referee at approximately 4:20pm and Solly was taken to Dartford’s Darent Valley Hospital by ambulance.
Watson issued the following statement following today’s events in Essex.
“It was a tackle from an opponent and yes he didn’t get the ball and resulted in the injury, which is a dislocated and broken ankle so Matt requires surgery on it tomorrow morning and he’ll have some plates and pins etc put in it and then he’ll be on the road to recovery.
“It was probably the worst injury I’ve ever seen on a pitch certainly. His foot was in a very awkward position and it’s sad to see someone in so much pain.
“Matt’s been playing in the first team at Chatham for ten years so for someone like that – he’s had quite a bad injury before – but not in the extent of this one.
“He is determined, no doubt he will come back possibly stronger from it because he’s that sort of character really.”
Watson said the club will support their injured player – Mr Chatham Town.
“He’s got a manual job in terms of to do with kitchen fitting so he won’t be able to work.
“To be honest with you, we will do all we can financially. Thurrock done a quick whip-round before the ambulance left and they passed it on to me to give to him at the hospital and it was generous from them and we will do as much as we can as a club and I will need to discuss with the board to what extent we do.
“Some sort of benefit game will be good and only fitting really. We will try and do as much as we can but it’s no consolation, especially for someone like Matt. He’s not money orientated. If he was he probably wouldn’t be at the club, he’ll probably be playing elsewhere.
“The lads are devastated as they respect him as a person and as a player.
“He’s the sort of character who gets probably embarrassed by it but he’s a testament to semi-professional football. He’s at every training session and never, ever been late for anything.
“He’s the captain of the team and probably not a traditional captain. He doesn’t go round shouting and hollering. What he does, he leads by example and he’s been a consistent performer. He’s picked up player-of-the-year and players’ player-of-the-year over the last eight or nine seasons and every player that’s ever played with him will turn round and say the same thing.
“He’s a manager’s dream and it’s deeply sad in what’s happened.
“I’ve just come back from the hospital now. I would’ve stayed overnight but I’ll go down there tomorrow. You try and support someone like him, who has given back to the club and to football as much as he has.”
Watson explained why the match didn’t finish.
“There’s a little bit of speculation about why the game got abandoned – that was my decision!
“The referee consulted me and the opposing manager (Mark Stimson). In all fairness to him he left it down to my call because they had a man sent off straight away so you’d think it would be in our best interests to carry on with the game as they’re down to ten men.
“They’re going to be playing with eleven men and we’ll be without arguably our best player when the fixture’s played again.
“But it wasn’t for a manner of all reasons, it wasn’t right to continue the game. The players’ frame of mind wasn’t right, certainly my frame of mind, from a selfish point of view wasn’t right.
“The ambulance took quite a while to get there and the other speculation about his bad the challenge was, it was a bad challenge to cause such an injury. It has to be a bad challenge!
“I’d like to think someone doesn’t go out to break someone’s leg and I give the player the benefit of the doubt with that one.
“There’s tackles that happen every week that are worse than that one that doesn’t result in an injury.
“Thurrock conducted themselves very well. Their physio, who lives in Chatham, came to the hospital to check if he was ok.
“Their chairman and several officials of their club was very helpful and I think shows what small community non-league football can be because everybody can sympathise on such things.”
Meanwhile, Chatham Town return to Maidstone Road on Saturday, when they welcome fifth-placed Aveley.
Chatham are in eighteenth-place in the Ryman League Division One North table, having collected 28 points from 27 games.
The Medway outfit are six points clear of the relegation zone and Watson admits he’s still looking over his shoulder.
He said: “It will be a tough fixture. We went there earlier in the season. We were very good for 45 minutes and very poor for 45 minutes. It was a game of two halves. We should have finished the game off in the first half and didn’t and they came back to win 2-1.
“They’re doing quite well in the league and they’ll look at our league position and expect to come and get three points.
“I think the players should be motivated, especially after today by what’s happened, to go and put in a performance.
“Matt will be there and we need to start clawing our way out of the position we’re in.
“We’re under no illusions. We’re in and amongst it. You have to somewhat see yourself in that pack, otherwise there’s no point waiting, when you’re in there (relegation zone).
“You have to be proactive rather than reactive on that.”
Thurrock issued the following statement on their club website:
“Thurrock chairman Tommy South, manager Mark Stimson and everyone connected with Thurrock FC would like to wish Chatham captain Matt Solly a speedy recovery after suffering a serious injury during the first half of today’s game.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, a bank account has been set-up for Solly so that anyone who wants to make a donation can do so directly to him.
The self-employed footballer will not be able to work for a considerable period.
Any funds will primarily be used to cover the extensive physiotherapy that will be required on a daily basis.
Bank details are:
Sort code: 070116
Visit Chatham Town’s website: http://www.chathamtownfc.info/
Chatham Town v Aveley
Ryman League Division One North
Saturday 3rd January 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Maidstone Road Sports Ground, Bournville Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME4 6LR