Barnston ex-captain Laird hits back over party jibe

A FORMER Barnston captain has hit back at current manager Leighton Williams after he was told him to leave and find a new club.

Jimmy Laird, 23, who has been with the club since he was 16, was cast out for a second time after an altercation with the blues’ boss at a pre-season friendly.

An argument flared up when Laird told his manager and teammates he had to leave the ground 13 minutes into the second half against Springfield, culminating in Williams telling him to leave for good.

But Laird said: “I am extremely disappointed with the way I have been treated by the club.

“Leighton was very aware I had a prior engagement and may need to leave early. I offered not to play at all, but he confirmed he was prepared for me to leave.”

Williams said that the player has no future at the club, because in front of 30 or 40 supporters, players and staff he said he was leaving to go to a party.

Laird denies that was the case and added: “There was never any mention a party. This has been concocted by him to create the impression I left for a trivial reason.

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“I left when there had been a long break in play due to a nasty clash of heads. I asked Leighton to substitute me, agreed to stay on the pitch whilst a sub warmed-up but moments later he shouted at me to ‘just go’.

“Later he text me stating Barnston would not be signing me this season.”

Williams said he had given Laird a second chance after banning him for two weeks for fighting with a teammate. He had already taken Laird’s captaincy away when he arrived at the club.

He said: “I always believe in giving people a second chance. Jimmy is a very very good player but 30 or 40 people saw what happened and I am happy with the way the club has acted.

“We have players that give up a lot of time and effort to play here, such as coming back from family holidays early to play, if we let one player get away with this behaviour then that would have a knock on effect.”

- Meanwhile Barnston are taking their first steps towards establishing an in-house soccer school.

They are hunting for sponsorship, FA funding and various grants to set up free football for four to six year olds, and are also searching for a venue and a qualified level 2/3 coach.

The emphasis will be on low-cost coaching and practice, and the club is aiming to put in place a pathway for football from age four all the way up to senior level and on to veterans.