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News Archive > Sport > Boss won’t quit Blazey role as rule breakers apologise

Boss won’t quit Blazey role as rule breakers apologise

By Gareth Davies 30th December 2020

Boss won’t quit Blazey role as rule breakers apologise
Under fire Blazey co-boss Matt Hayden won´t be stepping down

St Blazey’s management and players have labelled their own recent actions in breaking covid-19 rules as ‘thoughtless and stupid’.

An open letter, from co-managers Matt Hayden and Shaun Vincent and first team coach Kevin Kendall, has been sent to the Cornwall County Football Association, South West Peninsula League and the Voice, with the full apology transcribed below.

The trio say they have let the club down, whilst also apologising to those directly affected by their wrongdoings.

In news first revealed by the Voice last week, Blazey were forced to postpone both their festive clashes against St Austell and St Dennis, after players and management from the Blaise Park side were filmed breaking current social distancing rules in Plymouth.

The actions of those connected with the club and the breach have gained widespread condemnation, while both the South West Peninsula League and Cornwall County Football Association (CCFA) have opened investigations into the matter.

Amid mounting pressure to leave Blazey either by his own accord or via the sack, in the wake of the subsequent fall-out, Hayden, also speaking on behalf of his co-manager Shaun Vincent, coach Kevin Kendall and players, broke his veil of silence on Christmas Eve.

“We won't be offering to resign,” he said exclusively to the Voice. “We've done wrong and won't be running from what we have done, but we will take any punishment on the chin that we receive.

“We are determined to put things right, get back playing and pushing to be successful.”

Before Hayden became the first person involved in the incident to speak publicly on the matter, Blazey chairman Martin Richards said that the club would be waiting until the CCFA have carried out their investigation, before making a decision themselves.

“We have nothing to say on the matter at this stage,” Richards added. “We will wait until after the Cornwall FA have concluded their investigation before making our own ruling. We don't expect that to happen until the new year and it will be also done by the committee at our club because that's how we operate.”

The biggest storm to hit Cornish football for well over a decade started on Saturday, December 19 after St Blazey's home match against Godolphin Atlantic was called off because of a waterlogged pitch. With no match, members of their playing squad and management totalling double figures, who are predominantly based in Devon, rented an apartment in the Westminster Suite which overlooks the Barbican in Plymouth.

Under tier two restrictions, this was not permissible and in a video sent to the Voice and then widely circulated on social media, St Blazey players and management were involved in a heated early morning verbal exchange with both the accommodation host and a female, who is understood to be Claire Nicholson, the wife of television celebrity Les Dennis, about noise levels and a gathering taking place, which under current coronavirus laws, was illegal. Mr Dennis is currently starring in the pantomime Robinson Crusoe, which is running at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and was also staying in the Westminster Suite.

Threats were made to call the police although when contacted by the Voice, Devon and Cornwall Police said they had 'drawn a blank' when trying to find the log for this incident.

Representatives of Mr Dennis were also contacted by the Voice, but they did not respond to our request for comment from Ms Nicholson.

Meanwhile, in a short social media statement, the club said they were 'appalled' by the incident and said they would work with the CCFA as they investigate the matter further.

It read: “St Blazey AFC are truly appalled to have learned of some of the players' actions over the weekend.

“We are co-operating with the CCFA and will make no further comment until their investigation is concluded.”

By Gareth Davies 30th December 2020

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