Unlucky 13 as Angels kicked out of cup

THIRTEEN really was unlucky for Sunday football side Bramford Angel when - despite winning 13-1 in the first round of the Suffolk FA Sunday Trophy - they were found guilty of a simple administrative error and kicked out of the competition.

Stuart Watson

THIRTEEN really was unlucky for Sunday football side Bramford Angel when - despite winning 13-1 in the first round of the Suffolk FA Sunday Trophy - they were found guilty of a simple administrative error and kicked out of the competition.

The expulsion comes after the Suffolk FA, upon studying Bramford's team sheet, noticed that 29-year-old midfielder Lewis Knights had an unpaid £22 fine and accompanying suspension hanging over his head from 2005.

The only problem was that the Ipswich resident was completely unaware of the suspension and had been merrily playing football for the past three years without any notification to the contrary.

A miffed Knights quickly contacted the Suffolk FA who explained that when his former club Staff Bank - for whom Knights was signed to but never played a game due to injury - had folded in 2005 their debts were spread amongst all of the club's registered players.

The Suffolk FA claim to have sent out a letter to all of the club's players explaining that they wouldn't be able to play again until they had paid their share of the club's debts (£22 each), however, Knights claims he never saw such a letter.

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Somehow this suspension has gone undetected by the Ipswich & Suffolk Flare Recruitment League for the past two seasons and it was only when Knights played in a Suffolk FA competition this season that the problem was picked up on.

“I work just around the corner from the Suffolk FA offices in Stowmarket so as soon as they explained the situation on the phone I rushed over there within 15 minutes and paid the fine,” said Knights. “I honestly knew nothing about it.”

He added: “They said there is nothing they could do but I do think it is a bit harsh.

“I just feel really disappointed for the team.”

Suffolk FA County chief executive Martin Head said: “Unfortunately we can't duck and dive on things like this - the rules have to be set across the board.

“Of course we are sympathetic to Lewis and Bramford's situation but we can't change rules because it sets a precedent.

“I agree that it is a ludicrous situation when you have got a team that have been beaten 13-1 going through to the next round but we have to abide by the regulations.”

Chantry Rangers were the lucky side to benefit from the confusion and it will be them, not Bramford, that progress to the next round.

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