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Wray: Swindon playing the community role
3:23pm Thursday 24th May 2012 in STFC News
JEREMY Wray has again spoken about the decision to offer Luke McCormick a route back into football at Swindon Town.
The goalkeeper, who has been training with Town on day release from prison since January, is set to meet up with the Robins on trial upon his full release next month.
Interim chairman Wray was not available to speak when contacted by the Advertiser this afternoon, but he has given an interview to Sky News. The full transcript is below.
“He came to us just after Christmas. He was out on day release and part of his rehabilitation was to come out for a couple of days and we have said that he can continue to train with us pre-season this year.
“You don’t go and court a story like this. If I was in desperate need of a goalkeeper this isn’t what I would go looking to do.
“We were approached, we were well aware of the facts of the story and it goes without saying that everyone at Swindon’s sympathies are 100 per cent with the family of Ben and Arron Peak.
“That’s a tragedy in the true sense of the word, nothing changes that but we were asked to deal with the process after the legal process has taken part.
“This is someone who has served his time and is now looking to reintegrate and be rehabilitated into society and he goes back into the profession he was in before.
“We can help by offering to help him train and rebuild his life and hopefully help him give something back.
“We thought about it long and hard, we looked at the previous good character of the individual, I met him myself - he is contrite, he is full of remorse, he wants to do something.
“He’s spoken to the PFA about working with young players and explaining the potential pitfalls of drinking and driving.
“Out of a horrific situation, there is a possibility that something good comes out of it. This is not a footballing issue.
“It’s about Swindon doing what’s right in its role in the community in rehabilitation.
“The response of the family is totally justified, however they feel, and no one is going to criticise their emotional response.
“We can only guess, if any of us were in that dreadful situation we would feel that same emotion.
“I reiterate our sympathy is with them on that point and that’s why I say it is a tragedy in that respect.
“But going forward with what can be done, can Luke put something back into the community? He goes back into the area where he has some expertise.
“Should he just stack shelves at a supermarket, or should he go back into the community he knows something about and hopefully work with people in that community?
“Yes it can be high profile but there are a lot of people, and a lot of young people, who could potentially fall into the same trap that he fell into.
“That will be his role. It’s a long way from saying we’ve signed him, it’s a long way from the tabloid sensationalist that he’s earning thousands of pounds on a new contract - this is the first step of the rehabilitation of someone who’s just coming out of prison.
“Swindon Town is just playing the community role in giving him the opportunity to start that process.
“He (McCormick) will look at it when he comes out of prison and he has to start that whole process.
“It’s one step at a time. It is a very emotional subject. I think there will be a lot of cross arguments here and a lot of people are getting concerned with the legal process and saying ‘is it right that he’s only served a certain amount of time?’ “That’s a separate debate. We can only deal with what happens after that legal process. He’s served his time under the law of the land, then we get involved, give him that opportunity to rehabilitate and hopefully do something beneficial to, in some way, give a little bit back for the horrible wrong that was committed.
“How he responds only he knows when he comes in and it will be day by day. Ask anybody who’s been in prison and they come out, it’s step by step, gradually getting re-used to normal life after spending three and a half years in prison.
“It’s one step at a time, it’s a long, long way from saying that he’s anywhere near going back to restarting a career as a professional footballer.”