Stevenage boss Darren Sarll fumes over ‘scandalous’ FA Cup kit fiasco at Reading
PUBLISHED: 11:59 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:22 17 January 2018
Darren Sarll’s valiant Stevenage were knocked out of the FA Cup by Reading on Tuesday evening at the Madjeski after the lost 3-0 – but it was a kit fiasco which had people talking after the match.
While the scoreline may have been harsh on the visitors who never gave up, the majority of the post-match talk centred around a change of tops – which meant the half-time switch saw Icelandic hat-trick hero Jon Dadi Bodvarsson write his name into the record books as the first player to score a treble wearing two different shirts.
Despite Boro having a goal disallowed after a marginal offside call early in the game following Matty Godden flicking the ball in from a Joe Martin free-kick on 10 minutes – with the 26-year-old striker denied by Royals keeper Anssi Jaakkola moments later – discussions focused on kits rather than kicks.
Jaap Stam’s Biscuitmen wore their traditional blue and white hoops while Boro tuned out in white change shirt with blue shorts – which made it difficult to tell the teams apart in the opening 45 minutes.
The colour clash forced Stam’s kitman to take action as he raced back to the club’s training ground Hogwood Park – a ten minute drive – to fetch the luminous orange away kit they wore during the goalless draw at the Lamex in the original match, which they then donned after the interval.
Sarll said: “The decision [was taken] by the referees association or the officials that we would wear our blue away kit.
“I turn up in the dressing room and they’ve held the kits up under the lights and messed around with it. It was like Joseph’s technicolur bl**dy dreamcoat and they decided white and blue.
“I was struggling to work out who was in possession – so how can we expect good decisions to be made if we can’t get the colours right?
“It was something out of a Sunday morning situation. It was scandalous.
“But I’m only in control of my football team not the referees on display. It was hilarious really.
“Jaap then makes a decision and quite rightly so with a lot of common sense to come out in orange in the second half to make it a game where you can distinguish the two teams.”
The half-time change of kit meant Icelandic hat-trick hero Jon Dadi Bodvarsson also went into the record books as the first player to score a hat-trick wearing two different kits.
The 25-year-old former Wolves forward grabbed a memorable treble after notching a volley in the 32 minute before finding the net with an emphatic header 12 minutes later.
He then rounded-off a memorable evening with a simple tap-in with 26 minutes remaining in front of large swathes of empty seats with only 4,986 hardy souls making the trip – including a very creditable 608 from North Herts.
Stam added his views on the kit debacle, saying: “Before the game I thought it was quite strange that both sides were wearing identical colours.
“This was the only shirt Stevenage had but I think they needed to wear a different kit because we are at home.
“It’s been over a week between the two games and everyone knows what colours we wear so it should have been sorted.
“Our kit man made the decision to go back and get the orange kit just in case the players want to swap. We asked and they did.
“During the game the players were complaining about the kits because the two teams were wearing basically the same shirt.
“If you need to make a very quick decision and from the corner of your eye you see a white shirt, you are giving the ball away and it might lead to a counter attack.
“So it’s good from our players that they said this is difficult to play – I’ve never had that before, it’s a first.”
Reading (4-2-3-1): Jaakkola; Bacuna (Richards 80), Ilori, Blackett, Gunter (c); Edwards, Kelly; Aluko, Clement, Beerens; Bodvarsson
Unused substitutes: Mannone (GK); Evans, McCleary, Kermorgant, Popa, Andresson
Scorer: Bodvarsson 32, 44, 64
Stevenage (4-4-2): T.King; Henry (c), J. King, Wilmot, Martin; Pett, Smith, McKee (Conlon 71), Kennedy (Samuel 71); Newton (Georgiou 85), Godden
Unused substitutes: Fryer (GK); Franks, Wilkinson, Vancooten
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)
Attendance: 4,986 (608 away)