Truro City’s silence over their recruitment of former Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick was broken yesterday by Kate Breese, the club’s administrator.
McCormick has been a controversial figure in the national and local media since June 2008, when he was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol in his blood. The police charges followed a crash on the M6 motorway in Staffordshire in which two children died.
Following a guilty plea, he was jailed in October 2008. He was released from prison in June this year, and he made his first public appearance as a footballer since his time with Argyle when he turned out for Truro in last Saturday’s 3-2 FA Carlsberg Trophy defeat away to Farnborough.
After his side’s Trophy exit in Hampshire, Truro player-manager Lee Hodges, who spent seven years on Argyle’s books alongside McCormick, was unwilling to talk about the decision to add the
29-year-old to the Blue Square Bet South club’s squad.
Instead, official comment has come from Ms Breese, who has been running the Cornish club’s affairs since City plunged into administration in September.
Ms Breese, a director of West Yorkshire-based insolvency practitioners Walsh Taylor, said in a statement supplied to the Western Morning News: “I would like to give a warm welcome to Luke McCormick, who will be a great addition to the first team at a time when we are in desperate need of players.
“With a [transfer] embargo in place, the financial restrictions of administration and a mounting injury list, Luke’s experience and undoubted ability is very much needed. The club is at its bare bones and it has been essential to recruit a goalkeeper. With Luke prepared to play for free combined with the club’s financial situation, this signing has been a matter of necessity.
“I also want to make sure that the soul of the club, the fans, understand the decision to bring Luke in. With the club’s first-team goalkeeper injured and out of action for a number of weeks and with no monies available to add to the wage bill, Luke was not only willing to play for free but is also of a quality far in excess of any player we would be able to afford. We are doing everything we can off the field to save the club, but we also need to ensure that the first team has the support to have the best possible chance of survival on the pitch.
“Certain people may have concerns over Luke’s past, but his past is precisely that. Luke has served the time deemed appropriate by the judicial system and that chapter is now closed. Luke has been extremely remorseful over the cause of his jail term but, as stated, the sentence has been served and there is no benefit to anyone in not allowing him to play the sport that he loves and has great ability at.
“I hope that the fans of Truro City understand this decision. Luke is now an important member of our squad and will play a crucial part in the club’s fight for survival.”
Peter Masters and Philip Perryman, the Truro-based businessmen who are in pole position to take over the club as the administrator’s nominated ‘preferred bidders’, released a statement on Sunday evening regarding the recruitment of McCormick.
Masters and Perryman said: “We were made aware of Luke’s engagement late on Friday, and that he would possibly be playing in the FA Trophy match at Farnborough on Saturday due to the injury of the club’s usual goalkeeper.
“We are advised that the engagement will remain in place to the end of the season. Therefore, on completion of the sale, Luke will be Truro City Football Club’s responsibility as a player. We would emphasise that we had no control over that decision.
“Lee Hodges is and will remain the manager of the Truro City Football Club and any future decisions on Luke will be made in conjunction with Lee and the board of directors at that time.
“We would ask everyone to reserve judgement at this stage until we are in a better place to act in the best interest of the Football Club.”
Referring to their status as preferred bidders, Masters and Perryman added that they have “an agreed deal in place which should be signed off, hopefully, this week”.