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Barrow manager Ian Evatt and owner/director Tony Shearer apologise to Dover kit man Richard Harvey after he was verbally abused at Holker Street

Dover Athletic kit man Richard Harvey has received apologies from the manager and a director of Barrow after being verbally abused at Holker Street on Saturday.

Harvey found himself on the sharp end of a Barrow official's tongue after the National League match was postponed due to Dover's rail journey being disrupted.

A death on the line between Milton Keynes Central and Watford Gap led to lengthy delays to trains heading north out of Euston.

Dover kitman Richard Harvey pictured with former Manchester United and England legend David Beckham at Salford last season
Dover kitman Richard Harvey pictured with former Manchester United and England legend David Beckham at Salford last season

Two other National League games – Stockport versus Dagenham & Redbridge and Fylde against Sutton – were also postponed but Bromley's game at Solihull went ahead, with a 3.15pm kick-off.

Harvey had made the 388-mile trip to Cumbria by car on Friday and admits the behaviour of the unnamed home official, who berated him in the tunnel, had left him wondering whether he wanted to continue in his role.

However he now says his faith has been restored after Barrow boss Ian Evatt and owner/director Tony Shearer both contacted him to apologise.

The Cumbrian club have also promised to launch their own internal investigation.

Harvey, who became Dover's been kit man in 2017, explained: "When we found out the game had been postponed their players were really nice they came up and said 'Sorry you've had a wasted trip, safe journey home'.

"The manager Ian Evatt said 'it's not your fault', he was a thorough gentleman towards me, they knew I was just doing my job, but when I went back to the dressing room to pack up all the stuff, this guy came up to me in the tunnel.

"He called me this, he called me that, he was swearing and he really had a go. It was not the nicest place to be.

"It was a steward who told me who the guy was. The steward was apologetic, he said there was no need for that sort of thing.

"During the long drive back I was generally fed up, and when I got home I just thought 'Why am I doing this? There's more to life than this', which is why I put out the tweet I did.

"I thought nothing more about it but at 8pm on Sunday my phone went off and it was because Ian Evatt had followed me on Twitter.

"He then sent me a private message saying that he was really sorry if anyone had caused me offence and offered his apologies.

"He said it was not the way he wanted his club portrayed and told me not to give up the job."

Harvey then received a text from Barrow's American-based owner/director Mr Shearing who followed up with a phone call also offering his apologies.

Dover Athletic kit man Richard Harvey with former players Kadell Daniel, Manny Parry and Femi Ilesanmi
Dover Athletic kit man Richard Harvey with former players Kadell Daniel, Manny Parry and Femi Ilesanmi

Harvey explained; "We spoke for about 25 minutes and he said how sorry he was that I'd had to endure such a bad experience at his club. He didn't know that Ian Evatt had also been in touch.

"I just want to move on now but I am grateful to the pair of them for taking the time to contact me. It was a classy gesture and much appreciated."

This is the second time this season Harvey has been the victim of abuse, having been sworn at and spat on during Dover's match at Hartlepool last month.

Among those who tweeted messages of support after Saturday's game was Swansea kit man Michael Eames, who urged him to keep his head up.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent


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