Foxes woe after points deduction

PUBLISHED: 13:21 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 21:46 02 July 2010

UNAWARE: John Hughes.

UNAWARE: John Hughes.

ILFORD have sensationally been thrown back into the Ryman League One North relegation battle after the club were told they will be docked nine points for fielding an ineligible player, WRITES IAIN LIDDLE. The matter relates to defender John Hughes, who pl

ILFORD have sensationally been thrown back into the Ryman League One North relegation battle after the club were told they will be docked nine points for fielding an ineligible player, WRITES IAIN LIDDLE.

The matter relates to defender John Hughes, who played for the club three times earlier in the season under the management of then boss Chris Wood.

Ilford have appealed the judgment to the Football Association and are currently waiting to be given a date for the hearing.

If, as expected, their appeal is dismissed, then the Cricklefields club would slip to just four points above second-from-bottom Leyton, with a game in hand.

"John Hughes was playing for a weekend team last year and, probably unbeknown to Chris when he signed him, he had an outstanding fine," explained manager Colin Walton.

"They've tracked him to down to us and it seems a ridiculous state of affairs, but unfortunately that's the way it goes.

"The blame has to go on to the player. The secretary and probably Chris at the time would have had no idea.

"The players have got to realise that what they do in their Sunday football has an impact on Saturday, if they have suspensions or fines."

Hughes defended his part in the matter, insisting he didn't play while knowingly banned from football.

"It flagged up three months ago, when I tried to sign for Mauritius Sports," he said.

"I had no idea about the fine and it's just an admin error as far as I'm concerned."

Ilford's plight was not helped by a 3-1 loss to league leaders Lowestoft on Saturday, where more than 80 fans made the trip from Suffolk.

Walton took the surprise decision to announce the possible points deduction, and associated club fine, to the players before the match and admits it was not well received.

"We probably hoped it would serve as a gee-up," said the optimistic boss.

"But most were quite shocked to hear the news. They were disappointed."

Gavin Taylor had put Ilford in an early lead with a stunning long-range strike, but two Lowestoft goals in five minutes late in the first half, left them trailing at the break.

A third goal from the visitors came in the 56th minute to end the game as a contest.

Former vice-captain Jamie Pooley was absent on Saturday after his release from the club following a bust-up with Walton after the win over Redbridge last Tuesday.

The combative midfielder has since signed for resurgent Essex Senior League side Barking.

The Foxes chief moved quickly to replace him, along with snapping up a series of other new faces, before yesterday's Ryman League transfer deadline.

Harry Sintim replaced him against Redbridge, and the former Bishop's Stortford man, who is now suspended until after Easter Monday, will continue to play for the club.

Midfielder Danny Berg, who was at Ilford last season, has returned, while defender Jean Michael Lied-Lied and Julian Charles, a former professional at Brentford, have also signed on.

Walton has also secured the signatures of a couple of players from Romania and is excited by their potential. "I know them from my time on the other side of London," he said.

"One of them was a youngster at Steaua Bucharest, so he has a good pedigree."

A number of the new faces are expected to make debuts this weekend, when Ilford visit VCD Athletic on Saturday and host Potters Bar Town on Monday.

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