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Norwich United manager speaks after death threat claims

Norwich United manager Darryl Tate, 60, who joined the club this season, issued an extraordinary statement on Twitter claiming he had been “undermined at every opportunity” during his time at the club.

The club, nicknamed the Planters, saw a number of its players go on strike last Saturday after striker Matt Blake claimed he had received death threats in front of his teammates and there was a secret camera filming them in the dressing room.

Norwich Evening News: Norwich United in action against Dereham Town in the 2021 Norfolk Senior CupNorwich United in action against Dereham Town in the 2021 Norfolk Senior Cup (Image: Newsquest)

Now, Mr Tate has claimed he was punched twice in the head by a member of the club adding that “a punch in the wrong area would kill me”.

His statement read: “I’ve sat with my family and club and watched for long enough.

“I’m going to cover everything to you now. These are my words and they are the truth.

“Someone was sharing private management group messages about players to the players themselves in an attempt to undermine my position and get me out of the club.

“We all knew what was happening here weeks ago and sat silently just waiting to see it unfold.

“Some of the verbal abuse I received about myself, my family and my ability in football was nothing short of thuggery, something no manager should have to put up with.”

Norwich Evening News: Plantation Park, home of the Planters, Norwich UnitedPlantation Park, home of the Planters, Norwich United (Image: Newsquest)

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Mr Tate claimed a number of players were not signed by him and “believed the chairman loved them” adding he believed rumours circulating in the dressing room that players were being released and replaced were false.

He added: “All in all these people have attempted to shut down the club, something we would never allow to happen.

“It’s all about money and opportunity, nothing more, nothing less.

“In time we will find out why and what has happened and justice will be done.”

Norwich Evening News: Matt Blake in action for former club LeistonMatt Blake in action for former club Leiston (Image: Newsquest)

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The manager revealed he had been hosting secret meetings at his house with him and those still playing for Norwich United’s first team to prepare for games and update each other on news around the social media spat.

He said: “Players not brought into the club by me have been rough and rude to youngsters playing in the team.

“Certainly individuals have had official complaints made about their behaviour to spectators and young players during games.

Norwich Evening News: Plantation Park has been at the centre of allegations of death threats and secret filmingPlantation Park has been at the centre of allegations of death threats and secret filming (Image: Newsquest)

“My job here is to protect the club, the chairman and the future. If standing up to underhand thugs costs me a job in football it’s worth it to get these types out of the game.”

He also described Mr Blake, called a “non-league don” by the club’s website when he joined in the summer, as “a man finished as a player at this level”.

The Planters’ goalkeeper and captain Ross Bilham also issued a statement this morning backing up claims made by Mr Blake and revealing that striking players had made themselves available to the reserves in order to avoid harm to the club.



In his statement, Mr Bilham said: “Players positions at the club became untenable on Thursday of last week when several threats on the life of one of my teammates were made.

“This is why myself and the other players have taken a step back in hope the club would take action.

“I have also received a message stating the changing room has been recorded, there are 16 and 17-year-olds in that changing room.

Norwich Evening News: Norwich United in actionNorwich United in action (Image: Newsquest)

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“Since people have been made aware of this incident we have been contacted by other clubs confirming that they too have been subject to similar abuse.

“The club are refusing to take action and in turn are threatening not to pay players.

“We have to stand up for what’s right here before it’s to late the club falls apart.”

The club has seen a number of resignations since the feud began, with the latest being the team photographer, Liam Stubbs, who left the club.

Norfolk FA has confirmed it will investigate if an offence has been committed while Norfolk police say they have not been made aware of the incident.

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