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Monday 26 June 2017

Listen: Disgraced Alfie Barker and his father take to radio to issue apology to Harry Arter

Bournemouth's Harry Arter with manager Eddie Howe, pictured after the loss of his daughter
Bournemouth's Harry Arter with manager Eddie Howe, pictured after the loss of his daughter

Harry Clarke

Disgraced Alfie Barker has said he is ashamed of himself for the vile comments sent on Twitter to Bournemouth and Ireland midfielder Harry Arter about his stillborn daughter.

The Football Association will investigate the tweets from an account in the name of Barker, which were sent to Arter after Arsenal came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Bournemouth on Tuesday night. One of the messages said: "atleast you didn't lose your kid."

It was then followed up by another tweet to the midfielder which said: "big hype just for a disappointment like the 9 months leading up to your childs birth."

On Wednesday, Barker issued an apology for what he described as ''disgraceful comments''.

He also went on BBC 5 live alongside his father and revealed he takes medication for ADHD.

 "I work every day and I have spent the whole day trying to understand why I did what I did. I would like to meet Harry Arter face to face to apologise," said Barker.

"I cannot justify in any way, shape or form what I did but I would like to say sorry. I would like to write a letter to Harry saying sorry too.

"I feel like the worst person in the world today. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it is so out of character. I honestly don’t know why I did it."

Alfie's father Danny added: "I’ve given him the tongue-lashing of his life. I can’t believe he’s been so stupid. It’s completely out of character.

"He’s a good lad really, he just didn’t think about what he was doing. We apologise unreservedly for any distress Alfie has caused Harry Arter and his family."

In an interview with Stevenage-based newspaper The Comet, Barker also said he was annoyed because Arsenal were 3-0 down against Bournemouth in the Premier League.

"I was watching Arsenal at home and I was hyper. At 3-0 down they weren't playing well and I was annoyed," he said.

"I'd had a couple of beers and was frustrated at the way the team was playing and I just lashed out. I have no idea why I focused on Harry Arter and his family and I am so, so sorry for what I have done.

"It was a moment of madness. It's the worst thing I've ever done in my life, but it is so out of character. I honestly don't know why I did it.

"I also completely understand why Hitchin Town took the action they did and I completely agree they did the right thing."

Southern Football League Premier Division side Hitchin hold Barker's registration, with the midfielder having been playing on loan at Langford and Codicote.

Hitchin issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon announcing they were "terminating Alfie Barker's registration and relationship with the club with immediate effect".

Hitchin manager Mark Burke told Press Association Sport the club would be looking into the matter when contacted on Wednesday morning.

The club's subsequent statement stressed any one of their players would be expected to follow a responsible approach to social media.

"Alfie Barker was registered to play for Hitchin Town in the Southern League and has appeared only briefly for the club in the 2016-17 season. He has been playing at Langford and Codicote on a dual registration basis," the club statement read.

"The club adopts a responsible approach to social media and would expect any player connected to Hitchin Town to do likewise.

"In the light of the player's irresponsible and anti-social behaviour, we are terminating Alfie Barker's registration and relationship with the club with immediate effect.

"We would reiterate that Hitchin Town, as a community club with established links with various segments of the public, has been a long-time user of social media channels and expects all club stakeholders to use them appropriately."

Additional reporting by PA

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