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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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Steve Durham quits as Workington Reds rocked by four-point penalty

Workington have been plunged into a relegation scrap after FA chiefs hit Reds with a four-point penalty.

The club was charged with breaching rule 6.9 (fielding an ineligible player) after Will Vaulks started against Altrincham and Gainsborough Trinity in October.

A mix-up regarding the on-loan midfielder’s contract meant the Football Conference had not received the paperwork confirming the extension to his Borough Park deal, although the FA had.

At a Wembley hearing on Monday, FA officials threw out Reds’ appeal, prompting club secretary Steve Durham to quit.

The 59-year-old, who began working for the club in 1968 on a voluntary basis, has seen off more than 40 managers during his tenure.

Durham has been secretary for the last six years, and prior to that, was football secretary and match secretary for 25 years.

He has also watched around 2,500 Reds matches, and held positions on the board of directors, and as chairman of the Supporters’ Association.

In his resignation later to chairman Humphrey Dobie, Durham said he was not quitting the club but reverting to being a normal fan.

Branding his position as “untenable,” he added: “I would like to apologise to the chairman and directors, Darren Edmondson and the playing staff, and above all, the supporters of Workington Football Club.

“While I am not 100 per cent to blame for this administration blunder, I am 100 per cent responsible for the outcome, and do not wish to implicate other parties.

“I am embarrassed by what is another sad chapter for the club and a traumatic day for me personally.

“The stress I have experienced for the last three months has taken its toll.

“I resigned as secretary last October and reiterated that intention to Humphrey Dobie in London on Monday on the basis of my position becoming untenable.”

Workington were also fined £500 for the rule breach.

But it’s the points deduction that is most costly, as the club now sit just four points above the relegation zone.

General manager Alec Graham admitted the severity of the penalty had left a bitter taste in the mouth of Borough Park officials.

He said: “It was our responsibilityto ensure the appropriate paperwork was

lodged with the authorities.

We believed this was the case, and used the members’ section of the Football Conference website as a reference. Here, information about players’ availability is stored, and it looked from there that Will was eligible to play. We believed what was published was up to date.

Tomorrow, Workington face a massive match with Colwyn Bay - the side occupying the final relegation place.

Boss Edmondson is hoping to have added new players to his depleted squad.

l Simply Reds draw: 1, £500, Ian McCaul, Bransty; 2, £100, Ian Hodgson, Workington; 3, £75, Lesley Edmondson, Workington; 4, £50, Ron Kelly, Workington; 5, £25, Morris Goodall, Workington.

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