The Football League Paper - - NEIL MELLOR -

AS A for­mer Pre­ston player, it was sad to see Jer­maine Beck­ford and Eoin Doyle come to blows last week­end. It brought head­lines and na­tional cov­er­age for all the wrong rea­sons. I think man­ager Si­mon Grayson and the club han­dled it very, very well, but the dam­age was done. There are 72 club in the EFL. Hundreds of play­ers. I guar­an­tee there will be heated ex­changes ev­ery week. I was never con­fronta­tional in my ca­reer, but I do re­mem­ber one time with big Gary Ma­dine at Sh­effield Wed­nes­day. We were play­ing Wal­sall away and it was ac­tu­ally very sim­i­lar to the sit­u­a­tion be­tween Doyle and Beck­ford. The dy­ing min­utes with us chas­ing a re­sult. Gary wanted me to pass him the ball, but I was in a shooting po­si­tion, took it on and the keeper made a save. He gave me a mouth­ful, then wouldn’t let it go. In the end, we car­ried on the ar­gu­ment into the chang­ing room at full-time. There were no punches thrown, which is lucky for me. Gary’s a big guy and I was think­ing to my­self ‘I don’t fancy my chances here’. The last thing I wanted was for it to kick off! In the end, I was the se­nior player so it was in­cum­bent on me to take the abuse and let him calm down. We talked it over, had a laugh about it on the Mon­day and no­body held any grudges. Gary is a great lad and some­body I’ve got a lot of time for. At the end of the day, foot­ball is pas­sion­ate. It’s also frus­trat­ing at times. You may be both­ered by an in­jury, by be­ing out of the team or strug­gling for form. There’s a lot of fac­tors that can have an ef­fect on your men­tal state, make you act un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, or re­act more quickly to provo­ca­tion. In the case of Eoin and Jer­maine, I’m sure both will be frus­trated they haven’t had more in­flu­ence on Pre­ston’s sea­son. But save it for the train­ing ground or the dressing room af­ter matches. On match­day, you’re rep­re­sent­ing your club on a pub­lic stage and you sim­ply can­not be­have as Doyle and Beck­ford did. I just hope Si­mon and the se­nior play­ers stepped in straight away and made sure they dealt with it there and then. Ar­gu­ments hap­pen. Peo­ple fall out. But if it drags on and fes­ters, it can cause mas­sive prob­lems for a squad.

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