BALL BOY-GATE: Code of conduct keeps Town ball boys in check

Former ball boy Adam Wainwright (far right), Town’s head ball boy Bradley Carter (centre) and ball boy co-ordinator Joe Prinzi

Former ball boy Adam Wainwright (far right), Town’s head ball boy Bradley Carter (centre) and ball boy co-ordinator Joe Prinzi

First published in Sport Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy sports editor, awarren@swindonadvertiser.co.uk, @AndyWarren_

AN incident like the headline grabbing spat between Chelsea star Eden Hazard and a Swansea ball boy simply wouldn’t have happened on Joe Prinzi’s watch.

The Belgian was shown a red card and has subsequently been charged by the FA after attempting to get the ball back in the closing minutes of the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg, while 17-year-old ball boy Charlie Morgan was lying on top of it trying to run down the clock.

Prinzi co-ordinates the ball boys at the County Ground on a match day, leading an army of 15 youngsters aged between 12 and 16 taken largely from the Junior Reds supporters club, from his regular seat in the Arkell’s Stand.

Now in his fourth season in the role, Prinzi played a vital role in introducing a unique code of conduct which all prospective ball boys and their parents must sign, stating that they will get the ball back to both sides as quickly as possible without delaying the game.

Town have never encountered any problems with their ball boys and have never received a complaint from visiting sides, and Prinzi believes the whole incident in Wales could have been avoided if the Swans had a similar agreement in place.

“There are specific things in there which says the duty of the ball boys is to retrieve the ball from the area surrounding the pitch and any occupied stand area like the Stratton Bank,” he said. “They have to do so as quickly and safely as possible, their job is to get the ball back in play for both teams as quick as they can. It says in there they have a duty to treat each team fairly and not delay getting the ball back into play or give any team an advantage.

“We introduced it because we realised we didn’t have a code of conduct, and we thought it would be helpful to have one which the ball kids have to sign as well as the parents. I wouldn’t have thought many other clubs have anything like this.

“In terms of the incident at Swansea we have covered all of the factors of it in our code of conduct, and there is no way it would happen here. We have a good group of kids here and they know what they have to do, and we have never had any incidents of away managers or referees complaining about not getting the ball back quick enough.

“I like to think that we have the best ball boys in the league.”

Prinzi believes the referee was right to send Hazard off, but believes ball boy Morgan should take his fair share of blame.

“I think the ball boy was wrong for lying on the ball like he did, and Hazard was wrong for trying to kick the ball out from underneath him.

“He should have signalled to the linesman who was close to him to say he couldn’t get the ball,” he said.

“It was a cup tie in the closing minutes and they were trying to get back into the game, and it is hard to think what you would do in the same situation.

“It was disappointing to see the ball boy had gone on twitter before the game and said he would slow the game down, and when it turned out he was the son of one of the main shareholders it embarrassed the club.

“He has got a three match ban, but now he has been charged he could get a bit more and that is a bit over the top if you ask me.”

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:20am Mon 28 Jan 13

LeGod says...

They need to talk to Bournemouth about their ball boys then as when they were 1-0 up they were taking their time getting the ball back to our players. It happens alot at alot of clubs and im sure alot of the ball boys do as the swansea ones did at alot of clubs.
They need to talk to Bournemouth about their ball boys then as when they were 1-0 up they were taking their time getting the ball back to our players. It happens alot at alot of clubs and im sure alot of the ball boys do as the swansea ones did at alot of clubs. LeGod
  • Score: 0

9:54am Mon 28 Jan 13

Psychedelic Syd says...

If the ref had to automatically add 2 minutes for each ball boy time wasting incident it would soon stop.
If the ref had to automatically add 2 minutes for each ball boy time wasting incident it would soon stop. Psychedelic Syd
  • Score: 0

10:04am Mon 28 Jan 13

ICDeadpeople says...

Don't forget Ritchie only got a yellow card against Poxford (away) last season, for blatantly kicking their ball boy.
Don't forget Ritchie only got a yellow card against Poxford (away) last season, for blatantly kicking their ball boy. ICDeadpeople
  • Score: 0

11:30am Mon 28 Jan 13

Psychedelic Syd says...

ICDeadpeople wrote:
Don't forget Ritchie only got a yellow card against Poxford (away) last season, for blatantly kicking their ball boy.
I thought that was allowed when we play there????

Some refs ..........
[quote][p][bold]ICDeadpeople[/bold] wrote: Don't forget Ritchie only got a yellow card against Poxford (away) last season, for blatantly kicking their ball boy.[/p][/quote]I thought that was allowed when we play there???? Some refs .......... Psychedelic Syd
  • Score: 0

11:34am Mon 28 Jan 13

Benzel says...

Psychedelic Syd wrote:
If the ref had to automatically add 2 minutes for each ball boy time wasting incident it would soon stop.
You're remembering it wrong.
[quote][p][bold]Psychedelic Syd[/bold] wrote: If the ref had to automatically add 2 minutes for each ball boy time wasting incident it would soon stop.[/p][/quote]You're remembering it wrong. Benzel
  • Score: 0

11:41am Mon 28 Jan 13

BigJim12 says...

I think the Pox are trying to sign the Swansea ballboy. Apparently he can keep the ball longer than their forwards !!
Are you happy Constable ???
COYR !!
I think the Pox are trying to sign the Swansea ballboy. Apparently he can keep the ball longer than their forwards !! Are you happy Constable ??? COYR !! BigJim12
  • Score: 0

3:47pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Last step says...

Nice jacket Adam Wainwright has got, there.
Nice jacket Adam Wainwright has got, there. Last step
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree