Published: 05:00, 04 January 2022
| Updated: 06:47, 04 January 2022
The melee that followed Maidstone’s derby win over Tonbridge was the fall-out from a “disrespectful” interview.
Angels’ on-loan AFC Wimbledon defender Luke Jenkins caused a stir with his comments following the Stones’ 1-0 win at Longmead on Boxing Day.
Jenkins said Tonbridge were “definitely going to give them what they deserve” in the return game and “we’d love to take three points off them and that’s exactly what we’re going to go there and do”.
The 19-year-old also took aim at Maidstone winger Joan Luque, saying: “He’s a good player but sometimes you stick it on those sorts of players early, they don’t really fancy it.
“That’s what I did and I’ll see him again next week.”
Maidstone players were soon made aware of the interview, which was labelled “a mistake” by Angels boss Steve McKimm.
It fired them up for Sunday’s return game, with Luque scoring the second goal in a 2-0 win as Maidstone completed the double over their local rivals.
Stones players - led by Jerome Binnom-Williams - were quick to let Jenkins know how they felt after the game.
“Jerome’s all heart, he’s behind his players,” said Maidstone boss Hakan Hayrettin.
“One of their lads did a very unprofessional interview, he’s young, he’s got to learn and Jerome was letting him know in no uncertain terms that you can’t do that, have a bit of respect for Maidstone, just have a little respect. I’ve no problems with that.
“This local derby means a lot to me and it meant even more to me from the comments that were made.”
Tonbridge manager McKimm accepted Jenkins’ interview “added a bit of spice” but felt there was no need for the full-time reaction.
“He’s a young lad that probably did his first interview in senior football,” said McKimm.
“He was asked a question and came back with an answer.
“Was it diplomatic? Probably not, but that’s young enthusiasm for you.
“Would he do the same thing again? He probably would but that’s not him being arrogant, that’s just him speaking as he thought after the game when it was put on him.
“I get asked questions and sometimes you’ve got to sit back and think. Now, I’m experienced but that’s a young kid who’s probably had his first interview.
“Yes, it added a bit of spice for them and that’s what all the stuff at the end was about, whereas to me, you’ve won the game, go and enjoy your win.
“What do you get out of berating a young 19-year-old that has made a mistake?
“To me, I thought it was quite funny, not what he said, I thought it was funny afterwards some of the people giving it to him because I’m thinking, he’s a young boy.
“They were young boys once, so when you were a young lad, you didn’t make a mistake?
“Just go and enjoy your win, they deserved it, they beat us, go and enjoy your win and get ready for your next game, rather than berating a 19-year-old kid.
“It ends up escalating into stuff it doesn’t need to be.
“There were more peacemakers than participants, it was something and nothing but, like I say, he’ll learn from it and he’s got a good career ahead of him.
“People will say Luque scored. Yes, but he’s a very good player, that’s why he’s played at Dagenham and Weymouth in the National League.
“Luke will learn from it and he’s a very good player himself. At 19, I class him as a baby.”