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AFC Fylde hit back at Daily Mail over article on James Rowe

AFC Fylde hit back at the Daily Mail over an article they wrote about manager James Rowe as questions remain on their safeguarding of women.

It comes over allegations were made, claiming that young intern physios were asked to provide personal treatment to manager James Rowe WITHOUT being told of sexual indecency allegations against him.

AFC Fylde are facing more questions over their safeguarding of women after it emerged that young female physios on internships at the club have been asked to provide personal treatment to manager James Rowe this season without being informed of the serious allegations against him.

Sportsmail reported that Rowe departed from Chesterfield in February after being accused of sexual indecency, but it wasn’t too long before he was appointed by Fylde, just the following month in fact.

The article says that this was without the club seeking references from his former employers with Rowe understood to be denying all the allegations and declined to comment when contacted by Sportsmail.

The following points raised by the Daily Mail:

James Rowe left Chesterfield this year after being accused of sexual indecency

Rowe is alleged to have exposed himself to a woman at the club’s premises 

Sportsmail understands Fylde employees were not told about the allegations 

Female physios were asked to provide personal treatment to Rowe this season 

Rowe is understood to deny all allegations but declined to provide a comment


In response to the stories in yesterday’s Daily Mail, the Club has issued the following statement.

The story in yesterday’s Mail attempts to paint Fylde as a club that does not care for the welfare or safety of its women employees and as one who failed to do its due diligence in this respect regarding James Rowe’s appointment as their manager in March this year. This could not be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, certain people from Chesterfield have been touting this story around various media outlets for some time, and the Club Chairman, David Haythornthwaite has had to field a huge amount of questions over the past few weeks from National newspapers, with most of them accepting the explanation and reasoning given but, for whatever reason Matt Hughes from the Mail hasn’t, and despite being given assurances that we would be able to give an official club comment if the story ran, we weren’t, which we suppose suits their ‘headline agenda’.

The article is misleading and inaccurate in so many ways. It seems clear that Chesterfield’s intention is to try and justify their actions and smear James’ name.

Firstly, they claim Fylde didn’t do their due diligence and did not contact Chesterfield for a reference. This is flawed in many ways. Firstly, as Chesterfield are fully aware, James and themselves had reached a compromise agreement regarding his departure, which means neither party were able to discuss with anyone else the terms of that agreement. Once James made us aware of that agreement, we knew it would be futile calling them for such a reference.

Secondly, however, we did make contact with other people in the game that have worked with James, including our own Rowe, Danny, who has been associated with Fylde for many years and was at Chesterfield throughout this period. He is someone whose opinion we trust and value, and as we said when we announced James’ appointment, he spoke very highly of him. We obviously also spoke to James on several occasions and met with both him and his wife together.

Since Chesterfield seemed to have breached their duty of trust with James, this has enabled us to talk to other sources regarding the internal disciplinary hearing, and we believe that there is no record anywhere regarding the allegations in these articles.

As for Chesterfield claiming they have written a letter to the FA questioning James Rowe’s behaviour and calling for ‘a formal review of safeguarding policies’, we find that hard to believe, as we have never been contacted by the FA on this matter, and if not true, is a pretty cheap shot.

With regards to the further article published in this morning’s Mail, we would comment as follows. Firstly, James Rowe has received no ‘personal treatment’, with its obvious insinuations from a female physio. The article purports to suggest that there are a bevy of ‘young female physios on internships at the club’, and again, this is totally untrue as we only have one who works on a daily basis under close supervision of the Head of Medical, Gareth Thomas. Both these people are more than happy to provide whatever evidence is needed in regard to this matter. As for not informing AFC Fylde staff, and that they were not aware of these allegations against James, we would simply refer the Mail to the AFC Fylde statement on the night of James’ appointment. No-one associated with the Club in any way was not aware of the situation.

Regarding the criticism about failing to respond to the complaint about a ‘sex offender’, again this is totally untrue, and in fact, a fabricated lie. The Club were made aware of the person in question after a complaint from a mother who was concerned when she heard he was attending Fylde matches. The Club met with the mother in question in early May – however, before doing so, we consulted with Lancashire Police, who have a special department that deals with these matters, we spoke to Mark Ives at The National League and to the FA, expressing our concerns and asking advice on what we should do. After meeting with the complainant, she was satisfied that we were aware and that we were, based on the advice given by the aforementioned bodies, doing the right thing.

To try and link this incident with other incidents as the Mail has done, without allowing the Club to give any formal response or attempting to interview the individuals in question, is nothing short of despicable, and we expect everyone involved and the Club itself to receive a full and formal apology from The Daily Mail.

The Club will be making no further comments on this situation other than to say that we stand fully behind James Rowe and his family at this very difficult time for them. It will, however, not, as it attempts to do, distract us from focusing all our efforts on Sunday’s game against Boston.

SEE MORE: Disturbing reason behind Chesterfield suspending manager James Rowe revealed

Twitter users reacted as AFC Fylde hit back at the Daily Mail over their James Rowe article…

@jordandavies09: The bit that should have alarmed you was that both sides signed something saying they couldn’t talk about his departure. Clearly a good manager but clearly left for non-footballing reasons and it’s your duty to your staff to find out what they were.

@cestrian85: Your club has got to be a social experiment, I refuse to believe it’s real.

@WillB_2003: Come on Boston!!

@garybrierley: An incredible statement. Not in a good way.

@matthew_bartram: This might just have topped the job interview statement this like

@clairelouisecfc: Fylde trying to get out of the fact that they did NO checks whatsoever before employing JR. or maybe they just don’t care. Surely a simple DBS check would have to be done??

@MichaelWilcox82: Sounds like an intern wrote this. Saying that that an insult on an intern. Absolutely no thought gone into this statement at all. Acted in haste instead of taking your time to deal with this in a professional manner. Can’t believe my eyes in what I’ve just read there wow 😳

@morgan_5556: oh no, fylde at it again 🤦‍♂️

@Trottie_27: As others have said, I genuinely wouldn’t feel upset to hear this club go bust.

@PortDan1121: This is possibly the worst reply in history. Just makes you sound like massive Bellends

@carl25744841: Your a horrible club with a sleeze of a chairman you and your manager deserve one another 😡

@Jamie_SCFC1986: Couldn’t have happened to a nicer club, utter scum of a club

@_TJStone: Update on football clubs I utter despise and hope liquidate:
1. AFC Fylde 🔺
2. Mansfield 🔻
3. Liverpool ➖
4. Boreham Wood

@LouisHeald2: Only Fylde would release a statement like that and back an accused sexual offender and turn away from it all. wow 😳

@mattybarbs: Terrible statement, load of bollocks. Rowe and @AFCFylde are about right for each other.

@RbKeepers: Who’s running this club it’s just disaster after disaster happening 🤦🏾‍♂️

@DRACLAD: James Rowe has form for bullying and not just at Chesterfield, honestly Fylde really are an awful club when it comes PR

@Will_Ostler: Jesus. This is bad. It’s a lot of words to say “we don’t care that we appointed a sex offender, in fact, we might just stick up for him”… awful, awful club. Please do the job on them Boston

@kevinluff: Not sure what’s worse, the statement or the appalling use of commas.

@TheVOTTE: A simple “We don’t fucking care” would have sufficed rather than war and peace. Bellends

@cricketcelt: It’s 2022 and we’ve got football clubs who employ managers accused of exposing themselves to women without their consent basically saying ‘meh, no biggy’.

@Icarus_Williams: This is what David Bottomley does. I’d recognise his style of garbled arrogant mess anywhere. Rochdale fans have nothing against Fylde. We just really don’t want him to do to them what he did to us.

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