Leamington manager Paul Holleran has reacted angrily to comments made by his Banbury United counterpart Mike Ford in the run-up to last Monday’s derby.
Ford was heavily critical of Brakes’ style of play in a Banbury Guardian interview, claiming his team would “play football the right way” and “play within the rules”, while Leamington would employ the long ball and “try and bully players”, adding “for the sake of football, I hope my team wins”.
He followed it up with further inflammatory comments in his pre-match programme notes in which he said the two clubs were at a “different level as regards spending”, going on to imply that Leamington were “chucking loads of money” at promotion while his club’s more sustainable financial model was the right way to go.
A last-minute winner for Banbury did little to quell hostilities with Holleran refusing to shake Ford’s hand at the final whistle and a heated exchange between the Brakes boss and home chairman Ronnie Johnson spilled on to the pitch as the players warmed down.
And Holleran was in no mood to back down in midweek, saying the comments showed “a real lack of class”.
He said: “Banbury have a real issue with Leamington.
“The people there are jealous of this football club.
“I read the interviews in the build-up and they showed a real lack of class.
“This was a club that was in a right mess.
“Fair play to Ronnie Johnson there, he’s tidied the place up, but from 2pm to 6pm he’s a nightmare.
“How anyone can’t want Leamington as a model to base their club on I don’t know.
“The FA would love everyone to be like Leamington. A community club, run by supporters and not owing anyone a coin.
“And as for Ford’s comment about budgets. This is the same manager who was at Brackley with a massive budget paying players three times what they were worth and squandering it and at Oxford City paying players a
ridiculous amount of money and getting sacked by both.
“He must think people have short memories.
“He hasn’t an ounce of class.
“If I spoke like that the chairman would be calling me in.
“For him to come out with the nonsense he does is ridiculous.”
Mark Bell’s injury-time winner separated the sides on what Holleran acknowledged was always going to be a difficult afternoon for his side.
A congested midfield, a home side who raised their levels and a lack of quality in the attacking third all combined to prevent Leamington from imposing themselves on the game.
However, Holleran admitted Brakes let themselves down by not safeguarding the point.
“They essentially play six players in midfield but you’d think they’d reinvented the wheel. It’s not rocket science.
“We played with four attacking players but with the midfield so crowded you have to hit diagonals.
“It would have been good to find that bit of quality but we worked hard and limited them to little.
“However, what happened in the last 30 seconds was unacceptable.
“It’s our throw-in and we should have enough know-how but all of a sudden it’s a right mess and we give them the goal.
“It’s the first time it’s happened in a long time.
“Slough and Chippenham both lost there and you can see why.
“A point and a clean sheet would not have been the end of the world.”