Stourbridge chairman blasts "arrogant and ignorant" King's Lynn
Stourbridge chairman Andy Pountney has lashed out at rivals King’s Lynn for their “arrogance and ignorance” during the Southern League play-offs fiasco.
The Glassboys will travel to Alvechurch on Saturday for their Central Premier semi-final after agreeing to forfeit home advantage.
It brings to an end several days of chaos and confusion which saw the fixture, originally supposed to have taken place on Wednesday, moved on several occasions.
The winners will then face either King’s Lynn or Stratford Town, who also meet in their semi-final on Saturday, on Monday.
Stour, who share the War Memorial Ground with the town’s cricket club, feel they were left with little choice but to cede home advantage.
Otherwise, the game would have taken place on Monday, with the winners then facing the likelihood of a Wednesday night trip to King’s Lynn for the final.
They have been left furious with what they see as attempts by King’s Lynn - and particularly Linnets chairman Stephen Cleeve - to exploit events for their own benefit since it first emerged Stratford faced possible expulsion for fielding an ineligible player.
Pountney told the Express & Star: “Sanity has finally prevailed, though unfortunately it has had to be at the expense of Stourbridge Football Club.
“This gives both ourselves and Alvechurch the best possible chance of success and means neither of us will be travelling to King’s Lynn on Wednesday with half a team.
“It is the same for our supporters. I did not want them to end up missing the game due to the arrogance, ignorance and self-centred attitude of the King’s Lynn chairman.”
It is believed Stour, who stand to lose around £5,000 over the switch, first offered to forfeit home advantage on Thursday, in order for the final to be scheduled for Monday.
But that offer was rejected by both King’s Lynn and Stratford, before Southern League chairman Terry Barratt stepped in on Friday in a bid to finally resolve a mess which has caused major embarrassment for the league.
The Express & Star, meanwhile, has learned the chaos of recent days was further exacerbated by Southern League secretary Jason Mills being unavailable, due to what clubs were told was “league business”.
The chaos began when Stratford's semi-final at King's Lynn was postponed, with Stour and Alvechurch asked to do the same "in the interests of fairness".
Stratford were ultimately docked three points for fielding an ineligible player, meaning they remained fifth in the table and in the play-offs.