World of Sport

U14 football manager punches player in face

World of Sport

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An under-14 football team manager has escaped jail for
punching a teenage player in the face - but has been ordered to attend anger
management training.

Keith Morris, manager of Springhead U14s in Oldham, punched
Josh Jones so hard he split the 14-year-old's lip open, then proceeded to grab
him by the neck.

Josh's shocked mother Jane stepped in - but Morris then turned
on her, shoving her to the ground and causing her to rupture a neck muscle.

Morris, a 45-year-old father of two, was furious at Jones
having left his side a few weeks previously in order to go and play for a rival.

Jones had been the captain of Springhead, but left after
complaining of Morris's bullying and shouting at his young players.

But when Jones's new side Chadderton came up against Springhead,
Morris took the opportunity for revenge by screaming at his former star from
the touchlines. Jones confronted his former manager at the end of the match, an
act which apparently sparked the violent attack.

"I couldn't believe it when Keith punched Josh full in
the face and then grabbed him round the neck and wouldn't let go," said
Jane Jones.

"I walked over and said, 'What do you think you're
doing?' He pushed me so hard I fell to the ground. Josh had a burst lip and
fingerprint marks around his neck.

"We had to go to casualty. He was in a terrible state. It
completely shocked him.

"But looking back it was inevitable that Keith would do
something like this. He ran that club like he was in charge of Manchester
United. We had to raise thousands to have special kit shipped over from

"If the boys forgot a single item of kit or were late
for training they were fined. He was much too strict and regimented, like a
sergeant major.

"One boy was banned for three games because he wore kit
to go to watch Manchester United. Another boy was told he would have his head 'ripped
off' by Keith because he played badly."

Josh said: "I knew he was angry I had left the club.
But he was just too strict. That was why I wanted to leave, but I never thought
he would go for me like that."

Morris received a 12-week suspended prison sentence for the
attacks, and will have to complete 100 hours community service in addition to
taking the anger management classes. He has also been banned from coaching by
the FA.


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