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There Were Some 'Unsavoury Scenes' After Drogheda Beat Athlone Town At The Weekend

There Were Some 'Unsavoury Scenes' After Drogheda Beat Athlone Town At The Weekend
By PJ Browne

Athlone Town lost 2-1 at home to Drogheda in the League of Ireland First Division on Friday night.

Post-match, there were what have been described as 'unsavoury' scenes on the Lissywollen pitch.

Athlone manager Alan Matthews spoke to Shannonside FM over the weekend about the incident. Matthews said there was a confrontation between a member of the Drogheda staff - previously employed by Athlone as a coach - and the Athlone Town chairman over money allegedly owed.

There were some incidents after the game. It's quite disappointing to see and it degenerated into a full-blown shouting match between one of the Drogheda staff members who was previously a coach at the club and the [Athlone] chairman.

It did centre around a number of outstanding items that were due to the players and the coach that were previously at the club that haven't been addressed since the end of the season. It boiled over into an extremely ugly exchange which was carried out in full view of maybe 25 or 30 people.

According to Matthews, he and his Drogheda counterparts had never seen anything like it in all their years of football.

It's the classic 'You do not wash your dirty linen in public'. It was extremely disappointing. I spoke afterwards to the Drogheda management team and between us we had almost 100 years of experience in the game and we have never experienced anything like that in all our trials and tribulations.

I agree if there are issues they should be addressed in a business-like professional manner. For it to degenerate into an open shouting match in front of a lot of people - some young kids - it's just disappointing.

Matthews added that the money owed was a 'legacy issue' from the previous season.

I know from the Drogheda point of view, from one individual's point of view, it was said last night that it's about the principle. There are payments outstanding and he had an issue with them not being fulfilled.

There are legacy issues from last year. Some commitments were made during the off-season for payments before now, but they haven't been fulfilled.

He also revealed that there are players in the Athlone Town squad who earn as little as €20 a week.

In our own division you have Limerick who are able to offer full-time contracts but then you come down to the norm. The norm, in essence, particularly in the First Division, is minimal payments. There's guys on our roster who'd bet getting €20 or €30 a week. That wouldn't be unique to Athlone. There'd be guys getting the same at other clubs, covering expenses that sort of stuff.

The First Division side's financial woes are not restricted to last season. This season a generator was used to power the ground due to a problem with the ESB.

When the generator failed to work, a game against Shelbourne back in March had to be postponed.



Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

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Read: The Reason Why Ireland Could Have A New Striker Out Of The Blue For Euro 2016

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