11 March, 2008

Grays Gangster

In quite an amazing story last week, non-league side Grays Athletic FC faces suspension from all competitions by the FA after they have refused to pay an ex-player who is now in prison. The club terminated scumbag Ashley Sestanovich’s contract before his conviction for conspiracy to rob, but t

Sestanovich’s lockdown is related to a robbery in Streatham which took place in 2005, and while his eight year sentence relates only to the theft, victim Thomas Fahey was actually murdered by his two associates during the raid. Damion Ennis and Hallroy Reid subsequently rolled on Sestanovich under pressure in the dock, ironically labeling him the “brains” of the whole operation. Understandably, the two gun-toting partners received life sentences, but Sestanovich will reasonably expect to be out in four years should he avoid the usual histrionics of prison TV dramas. He might well find himself being a popular guy inside though, as once upon a time Sestanovich tasted the big time, doubling for Thierry Henry in his Nike TV adverts when the ex-Arsenal man was too busy actually playing the game.

What’s interesting though is that even though the club face severe penalties, and ultimately expulsion from the FA, Grays chairman Mike Woodward is adamant that he will not pay up. “I am bitterly disappointed in the FA's judgment, all they seem to want to do is take money from football clubs,” he said yesterday. “We are being forced to pay approximately £14,000 to a player who only had three training sessions and 20 minutes in a pre-season friendly due to his involvement in a heinous crime which saw a young father shot in cold-blood.”

It might sound like soap-boxing but he does have a point, as this appears to be yet another innumerable example of the British legal system protecting the perpetrators of crime more than the actual victims. Mr Woodward continued: “Unfortunately my principles will not allow me to pay this money from either my own pocket, or from the club's, and the directors are of the same opinion. I feel sorry for the supporters of this club but I hope that you will back me on this decision.” The case continues.

For a more sinister take on these events, our good friends over at The Onion Bag think they might have discovered a deeper level to the whole case.

Certainly seems to make sense; Henry has been rubbish since 2006 after all, and a further series of botched robberies would be a perfect explanation to all those mysterious injuries he’s suffered over the last couple of years…