The Isthmian League has responed to allegations made by the former Heybridge Swifts manager in the Non League Paper.
The below statement appears on the official Isthamin website…
The Bostik League entirely refutes the unwarranted allegations made by former Heybridge Swifts FC Manager, Jody Brown, in the Non-League Paper on Sunday.
In the article Mr Brown refers to “The lack of professionalism of the whole League” and alleged that the League did not help the Club at all with its fixtures last season when the Club performed extremely well in both The FA Challenge Cup and The FA Challenge Trophy. The Heybridge Swifts Club Secretary at the time will confirm that the League did everything it could to assist the Club which found itself in a very difficult position because of its success in those Competitions.
Mr Brown has implied that the League was against the Club or against him personally because of a personal matter with Aveley Football Club. The League entirely rejects any implication against the integrity of any member of the Board of Directors which, last season, included Heybridge Swifts own Michael Gibson.
Chairman Nick Robinson commented:
“I am surprised at the allegations apparently made by Jody Brown- whose disciplinary record can hardly be anything a manager would be proud of and who then accuses the League of unprofessionalism!”
“The League, through its Secretary, Kellie Discipline, goes out of its way to help all Clubs. It is acknowledged that Clubs which are successful in the National Cup Competitions do have a fixture problem and Kellie liaised with then Club Secretary Chris Daines to assist the Club as far as she could.
To then impugn the integrity of my Vice Chairman is really quite unacceptable. The Board takes great care to ensure that Directors do not make any decisions on Clubs in their own Divisions.”
The League trusts that Mr Brown will take a step back and consider his comments during the time he is not employed by a Bostik League Club- and hopes that, on reflection, he will wish to withdraw his allegations.”
Speaking in the Non League Paper article Brown also attacks the behaviour of opposition fans aswell as certain Chairmen and Chief Executives of clubs.
“Then there’s all the other stuff that goes on. I had the Aveley chairman following me into the car park two weeks ago to have a go at me for not taking the manager’s job there eight years ago. He told me that he and the Aveley Chief Executive, who is also the vice-chairman of the League, hated me because of that.”
They won the game 3-2 and it’s almost like he waited all that time to do it and chastised me for 20 minutes. When we were in the cups last season they didn’t help us at all with the fixtures. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but when your feelings are confirmed when someone says the vice-chairman hates you because you turned down the job at his club, then you can’t help but think it.”
“On Tuesday night,(at Basildon), I couldn’t even get off the pitch because there’s fans blocking off the tunnel, insulting me, trying to threaten me staring me down. I just thought enough is enough. It’s not the first time this has happened. I think the Isthmian League has a massive problem.”
The topic has caused plenty of discussion on the Non League scene with not everyone agreeing with the Jody Brown point of view. Guests on this week’s ‘Istmian Podcast’ were not to complimentary or agreeing with his point of view. Reacting on the show via Twitter, Brown wrote,
“I’ll compile a dossier of evidence to back up my statements & then perhaps @Isthmianpodcast will produce a more balanced, educated, informed, and sensitive response to a fragile scenario that has seen a coach temporarily walk away from something he loves.”
Where this story goes from here will certainly be worth following. Has Jody gone to far? Is he just speaking his mind and bringing up fair points? Is it all just an excuses and blame for Heybridge starting this season poorly?
Only time will tell.
For more from the Isthmian League please visit their website here