FOOTBALL looks set for another courtroom showdown as former Chippenham Town midfielder Rob Dean began legal proceedings after a tackle by Hungerford’s Ian Herring allegedly ruined his career.
Dean, 25, had to undergo total reconstructive surgery on his leg following the ill-tempered Southern League Premier match on March 19, 2014.
The banker fully dislocated his right knee and twisted his tibia after Herring’s challenge. Dean has instructed football injury specialists Mulderrigs Solicitors to act on his behalf.
At present, it is unclear if Dean is mounting a challenge against Hungerford, Herring or both parties – but The NLP has been passed legal documentation confirming that the process is underway.
Hungerford secretary Mike Hall said: “We are aware of the claim and have received papers, which we have duly forwarded to our insurers who will investigate and we will take things from there.”
Chippenham manager Mark Collier, in charge of the team at the time of the incident, said: “It’s not easy as the clubs are very close, and not just geographically. The players all know each other and the people behind the scenes do as well. But Rob is doing what he needs to do. It’s a difficult one.”
Referee Reuben Simon abandoned Chippenham’s match with Hungerford a year-and-a-half ago after Dean was treated on the pitch for 45 minutes.
A source close to the official said: “Reuben was unimpressed with the general conduct of some of the Hungerford Town management on that evening and actually went over and spoke to their bench twice in the opening half an hour, making it clear their behaviour was of concern.
“Apparently some of the Hungerford officials even questioned his decision to abandon the game at the time, which is incredible considering the severity of the injury and the time it took to remove Rob Dean from the pitch.”
Speaking directly after the game, Bluebirds manager Collier told the BBC: “It was quite horrendous. They (the medics) weren’t keen to move him until he was fully anesthetised.
“He’s just caught Rob, it was just a tackle. You’ll see a lot of tackles like that on a Saturday and on they move. But on this occasion Rob’s suffered. The mental state of players from both teams wasn’t great, so the referee made the right decision.”
Dean and his solicitors both refused to comment on the situation, but it’s not the first time Non-League players have turned to lawyers to seek what they see as justice after an on-the-pitch incident.
In March, Bedford Town were saved from closure when a legal challenge by Weymouth’s Jamie Skinner was thrown out. The Terras player was left with severe leg injuries and sought damages of £150,000. That, in additional to costly legal fees, would have sent Bedford into administration.
Altrincham’s Marcus Hallows, a part-time Elvis impersonator, was successful back in 2010 – he won £32,500 for loss of earnings after a five-year legal battle against Ashton United and defender Danny White.