It's a conspiracy – Justin Edinburgh's anger at Conference over Gateshead fixture
COUNTY v MACCLESFIELD (Tomorrow, KO 3pm)
NEWPORT County AFC manager Justin Edinburgh has launched a blistering attack on the Football Conference, insisting that there is a ‘conspiracy’ against his team.
Edinburgh’s anger at the Conference ruling that they must play Gateshead in York next Thursday boiled over as he faces up to the prospect of playing five games in ten days.
The Exiles host Macclesfield Town at Rodney Parade tomorrow and promotion rivals Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday.
Edinburgh’s men must then travel to York two days later, then Stockport a week tomorrow and Southport on the following Tuesday.
That means 1,240 miles on the road in five days at a crucial time of the season as County fight for the one automatic promotion place in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
“It’s embarrassing that a club that is chasing the title is being asked to play so many games in such a short space of time,” said Edinburgh.
“It’s three consecutive away games as well and we put to the Conference three other dates as options for the game.
“They’ve told us we’re playing on the 21st. We’ve appealed that but I don’t see them changing it now.
“They have the powers to make you play and I’m sure that’s what they’ll do.
“We’ve had no consideration for the players’ safety and health and for the fans.
“But I’ve been manager here for 18 months now and whenever we’ve tried to work with the Conference they’ve been totally against us,” he added.
“We had the situation with Karl Darlow last year when we didn’t get international clearance for him to play at Wembley in the FA Trophy final, even though we got all the paperwork through.
“Now I’m led to believe that they’ve changed the rule and if you sign players after the semi-final they can play in the final. Not for Newport County, for other teams. Funny that.
“And we asked to move our games from Spytty Park to Rodney Parade last season to give the pitch some breathing time and we were told that was unfair.
“Everything we ask for seems to get rejected and everything anyone else asks for seems to get passed through.
“We’ll have to try to use it to our advantage and create a bit of a siege mentality.”
When asked if he thought there was an anti-Welsh element to the current situation the Exiles boss said: “I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t think that. It’s one rule for one and another rule for us.
“Why weren’t we allowed to move our games to Rodney Parade last season?
“We were told it was an unfair advantage but Gateshead are allowed to use six different venues. Where’s the fairness in that?
“If someone can explain that to me I’ll listen but I haven’t had an explanation and I think there is a conspiracy against the football club.”
Edinburgh also believes Gateshead should have been punished for the way they have acted in recent weeks.
“It wasn’t about the weather this week it was that they didn’t have a pitch they could use,” he said. “Not fulfilling a fixture is a serious breach of rules as far as I’m concerned and nothing’s been done.
“Someone needs to look at that but all we’re being told is ‘do that, do this’, when we’re a team going for the title. Is it fair? No.
“To play the amount of games and travel the number of miles in that space of time is an unfair disadvantage but we have to do it, through no fault of our own.
“It’s going to play a major part in how the season pans out. I still feel it will go down to the last day to decide who wins the title but it’s certainly a massive hindrance to us.
“As a manager I’m frustrated because I feel we’re being unfairly treated but we’re still looking to win the league and we need to focus on ourselves.”