Source: Crosby Herald
Jan 15 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Crosby Herald
JOHN Lawless’ contract with Marine was terminated on Tuesday – but the club are keeping tight-lipped as to why he is leaving the Arriva Stadium.
The 26-year-old midfielder, who had hit six goals in 21 games for the Mariners this season, is being investigated by the Football Association for his alleged conduct during his club’s visit to FC United of Manchester on December 20.
Lawless has been accused by FC United fans of taunting the home crowd by mimicking an aeroplane – a gesture believed to be in reference to the Munich air disaster of 1958, when eight Manchester United players were killed.
Another Mariner player, Shaun Tuck, was also accused of making a similar gesture after his side made it 1-1 through Peter Cumiskey’s 34th minute penalty.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed to the Herald that two men were officially warned at half-time of the UniBond Premier Division match at Gigg Lane, with Marine later confirming that Lawless and Tuck had been written to by the FA and had since responded.
Match referee John Corkhill included the alleged incidents in his match report, which prompted the UniBond League to take the matter to the FA.
Marine chairman Paul Leary had issued a statement to the press on Monday, confirming that an investigation was underway. He then updated the club’s stance on Tuesday evening, saying Lawless had left the Mariners.
But officials at Marine declined to expand on a club statement, which read: “Marine FC announces that contracted player John Lawless has today left the club and his contract has been cancelled by agreement of both parties“.
Manager Alvin McDonald did admit that losing a player of Lawless’ stature would be a huge blow.
He said: “From a player-manager point of view, I am really disappointed. He is an excellent player and over the last two months, he has been our best player. John is a match winner, talented and really enjoyed playing for Marine FC. He could have gone to other clubs and earned bigger wages, but he stuck to his word right throughout the summer and signed with us. I am not looking to bring in anyone to replace him. We have got Darren Brookfield and Paul Woolcott, who can play on the right side of midfield. It is one of the strongest positions at the club.”
Meanwhile, Brookfield is a doubt for Marine’s first competitive match of 2009 against Witton Albion on Saturday, after picking up a foot injury in the 4-0 win over Ashton Athletic in Tuesday night’s friendly match.
Though McDonald is hopeful Brookfield can shake off the knock, he is less optimistic about the chances of Joe Fowler, who was forced off with a twisted knee. Tim Bigland is also a doubt through illness.
Don’t forget that you can keep up-to-date with all the action from Marine v Witton Albion on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, and the Lancashire Co-op Trophy match at Kendal Town on Tuesday night, kick-off 7:45pm, by logging onto www.crosbyherald.co.uk