SHEFFIELD UNITED: Croft cleared of Blades racism allegation

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Oldham Athletic midfielder Lee Croft will not face police action after he was accused of racially abusing a ball boy at Sheffield United, writes Dom Howson.

The allegation was made following the Latics 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane on October 13. Croft vehemently denied any wrongdoing and was backed by his manager Paul Dickov.

A statement released on Oldham’s official website read: “South Yorkshire Police have found no evidence to support such allegations and they do not intend to take any further action in relation to this matter.”

The statement continued: “It has been an extremely difficult time for Lee who has received the full support of the club and all his team-mates while these totally unfounded allegations have been investigated.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to South Yorkshire Police for the thorough and expeditious manner in which it has completed its enquiry.”

Speaking at the pre-match press conference for Latics League One trip to Crawley this weekend shortly before the news was announced, Croft thanked his team-mates and Dickov for their support over the past two weeks.

“It’s been hard, obviously, but I’ve just tried to get on with it,” he said.

“Coming in and getting on with my football, the lads have been brilliant.

“The gaffer has been good with me and the club as well, so it’s been okay.”

Meanwhile, former Sheffield United youth boss John Pemberton has officially been confirmed as Nottingham Forest’s performance development coach this afternoon.

The 47-year-old, who spent more than a decade on Forest’s coaching staff before being axed in 2009, said: “Not everyone in football is fortunate enough to get the opportunity to turn back the clock and go back to a club - but I have been.

“Everyone knows that I’ve got great affection for Nottingham Forest having spent 13/14 enjoyable years here – it’s a club I know really well.

“My role will involve working with the Under 21s and putting together a development group, similar to the one we had when I was at the club before when we had Brendan Moloney, Emile Sinclair, Matt Thornhill and Lewis McGugan.

“It’s about trying to bridge the gap between Sean O’Driscoll and his staff at first team level and Nick Marshall and Gary Brazil at Academy level.”

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