Coventry councillor boycott club over King signing
22 September 2010 08:52
Fan for 48 years won't return until King leaves Anne Lucas, who has supported Coventry City for 48 years, has said she will boycott the club until Marlon King is no longer a City player. The local Labour councillor has taken a stand against the controversial signing of the 30 year old King who convicted of sexual assault and actual bodily harm last year and sentenced to 18 months in prison. King served nine months of the sentence before being released on licence last July. After weeks of negotiation,speculation and wrangling, King was given a one year contract and if he proves a success, his contract will be extended. However Anne Lucas has taken a moral stand and has chosen to stop watching the club she has followed for 48 years. King was sacked by his former club Wigan Athletic following his conviction last year, although King has indicated that he intends to appeal against his conviction for sexual assault. Mrs Lucas said, 'I am a season-ticket holder of 48 years, so I don't know what I'm going to do on a Saturday afternoon, but I just cannot support a team which gives employment as a role model to somebody who has been convicted three times for offences against women." 'Footballers are role models whether they like it or not. I know it's a harsh role to put on them but they are and it sends out all the wrong signals. I'm ashamed of our team. If he was a teacher and there was an offence against a pupil and he was on the sex register, you would say he should never teach again." 'This guy is on the sex offenders' register. Like a lot of clubs, Coventry are a good community club and do a lot of work in the community. Frankly, if you say he should work again, why shouldn't he work at Wigan? They spent £5m on him, they never got their money's worth, and they don't want to touch him; that says everything about him.' The decision to offer King a contract at Coventry City was not taken lightly. City chairman Ray Ranson gave his manager Aidy Boothroyd permission to sign King even though he was well aware that many supporters had threatened to boycott the club if he should join. While at Premier League club Wigan, King was reportedly earning £40,000 a week, but at Coventry he will be on nowhere near that amount, probably earning less than a quarter of the sum as Coventry City, under Ray Ranson have an inflexible wages policy and refuse to pay excessive wages to players. Mrs Lucas, who in addition to being a local councillor, also supports victims of domestic violence. She wrote to Mr Ranson to advise him of her feelings about the potential signing of King, but never had the courtesy of a reply. 'I wrote to the Coventry chairman and I didn't even get an acknowledgement," said Anne Lucas when she was interviewed on BBC 5 Live. 'I have a national role in which I support the victims of domestic violence. While we're trying to protect women who've been beaten, it is clear that violence against young women by young people is still accepted." 'When they do surveys, it's amazing how many boys give reasons why it's OK to hit girls and the number of girls who say it's OK to be hit. If their role models are behaving in this manner, then walking out of prison into a very lucrative job, it's not giving out the right message." 'If King's contract is not renewed I will start watching Coventry again. I can't go while he is anything to do with them It's breaking my heart. I mean, 48 years of support, can you imagine?"