Redditch United Manager Matt Clarke Charged with Drug and Weapon Offenses

Prominent football manager charged with drug supply and weapon offenses, raising questions about his club's future as they struggle in his absence.

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Geeta Pillai
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Redditch United Manager Matt Clarke Charged with Drug and Weapon Offenses

Redditch United Manager Matt Clarke Charged with Drug and Weapon Offenses

Matt Clarke, the 50-year-old manager of Redditch United football club, has been charged with drug supply and weapon offenses in West Mercia, UK. On February 14, 2024, Clarke appeared in Worcester Crown Court alongside two co-defendants, Harnaik Malhi and Keller Preece, aged 41 and 24 respectively.

The charges against Clarke include being concerned in the supply of cocaine, being concerned in the supply of cannabis, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, and criminal damage to property valued under £5,000. Preece faces an additional charge of common assault of an emergency worker. The charges were made by the West Mercia Police.

Following the charges, Clarke took an unexpected leave of absence from his role as Redditch United boss in February. The club announced that Clarke would be taking an immediate break from football for personal reasons, with his backroom staff fulfilling his matchday and training duties in the interim. Redditch United chairman David Faulkner declined to comment on whether Clarke had been sacked or would be able to return to his full-time duties as head coach.

Why this matters: The charges against a prominent football manager highlight the ongoing issue of drug-related crime in the UK. The case also raises questions about the impact on Redditch United, as the club navigates the absence of their manager while sitting fifth in the Southern League Premier Division Central.

At the time of Clarke's leave, Redditch United were second in the league table, and the manager had expressed concerns about the team's fatigue and injuries. Since his absence, the club has struggled, losing six games, winning two, and drawing one. Clarke is set to appear in court again on May 7 for a plea and trial preparation hearing. His co-defendants, Malhi and Preece, remain in police custody.

Clarke has an extensive background in professional football, having played for West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He has also coached at Kidderminster Harriers, Hereford United, and Telford United prior to his role at Redditch United. The outcome of the case and its impact on Clarke's future in football management remains to be seen as the legal proceedings unfold.

Key Takeaways

  • Football manager Matt Clarke charged with drug supply and weapon offenses.
  • Clarke, Malhi, and Preece appeared in court, with Preece facing assault charge.
  • Clarke took leave from Redditch United, leading to the club's struggles in the league.
  • Clarke has an extensive background in professional football, including coaching roles.
  • Outcome of the case and its impact on Clarke's future in football management remains uncertain.