THE football season is hardly begun – and already it has been marred by scandal, writes John Slorance.
Peebles Rovers have cancelled two friendly matches in an astonishing atmosphere of great unrest.
In what is a somewhat bizarre tale, it was first believed that most of the Peebles squad were set to walk out on the club.
This news was revealed to the Rovers management by assistant team boss Kevin Martin who had stated that players did not want to play under current manager Stuart Robertson, but play for him instead.
Taking up the story, Rovers chairman Colin McDonald told TheSouthern: “Kevin Martin came to me with a list of around 15 players who were not willing to play for Stuart Robertson, but said they would play if he was in charge.
“I found this quite amazing and difficult to take in as some of these players had just signed for the club and appeared perfectly happy.
“However, I went on to contact some of these guys and they knew nothing about not wanting to play for Stuart Robertson. It’s just all very difficult to understand.
“We were all looking forward to the start of the season and things seemed to be going very well, but due to this it is like we have taken one step forward and two back.”
Amongst all this confusion, Peebles postponed two friendly games in an attempt to sort matters out in who is staying with the club or moving on.
Rovers manager Robertson, who brought Martin in as his second man last season, is bitterly disappointed as well as annoyed about the goings on behind his back.
He told us in no uncertain terms: “The entire thing stinks.
“I trusted Kevin Martin, he has let me down badly. He has been very underhand as he told me that the players wanted a change of direction in the club and didn’t want me as a manager.
“Perhaps he thought I might crumble and walk away, but Rovers did very well last season as we finished midtable and got 30 points, so there was no way I was going to do that.
“Had Peebles had a very poor season I might have put my hand up and said okay, but Rovers hadn’t.”
Robertson added: “Kevin told me it was all of the players who wanted to leave.
“I have since spoken to a few players and apart from four – Kevin himself, Keith Harper, Elliot Black and Bruce Callan – all have said it was news to them that they didn’t want to play for me.
“I have been involved in football for a long time and know the ups and downs of the game, but what has happened here is a disgrace.”
Meanwhile, Rovers have fixed up brothers Raymond and Ronald Fleming who formerly played with Vale of Leithen, and are in the process of signing former Hawick Royal Albert and Kelso United keeper Scott Dowie.