Sunday 20 October 2019

Aston Villa suspend youth coach Kevin MacDonald after ex-Ireland star Gareth Farrelly makes bullying claim

Gareth Farrelly. Picture credit; David Maher/SPORTSFILE
Gareth Farrelly. Picture credit; David Maher/SPORTSFILE Newsdesk Newsdesk

Aston Villa have suspended long-serving youth coach Kevin MacDonald from working with players pending an investigation into allegations of bullying in the 1990s.

MacDonald has spent the majority of his coaching career at the Birmingham club, working with the reserve and youth teams since 1995 and twice taking caretaker charge of the first team. He was also assistant manager with the Republic of Ireland

Gareth Farrelly, a former Villa graduate, accused McDonald of “incredibly aggressive, constant verbal and physical bullying” which left him feeling depressed and with suicidal thoughts, published in an interview with the Guardian, accusations which the newspaper passed on to the club.

“I say, and I maintain this position, that his regime destroyed far more kids than he ever developed … If people had been treated better, fairly, you can’t say they would definitely have made it but they would have had an opportunity to develop and kick on more.”

Aston Villa informed the local authority designated officer, as well as the Football Association and EFL, and appointed a barrister to lead an independent investigation.

The club said in a statement: “The investigation will commence immediately and as a neutral act Kevin has been temporarily reassigned to non-player-facing duties pending completion of the investigation.”

Kevin MacDonald. Photo: PA
Kevin MacDonald. Photo: PA

MacDonald has not commented on the allegations.

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