A SHAMED ex-police officer who was sent to jail for drug dealing has taken up a post as a football coach, sparking a walkout among staff and one of the team’s star players.
Chris McGinn, who was sentenced to 26 months for dealing cocaine, has taken up the post with Tranent Juniors.
Now four fellow coaches have left the team along with player Johnny Bisset, who had helped the side top the league with his goalscoring record.
The walkout was also inspired by an incident at a game last Saturday, when a Tranent player allegedly threatened the club’s vice-president.
An officer for eight years, McGinn was jailed after being identified as a cocaine dealer with a £520 per month habit.
Club manager Tam Shields today stood by his decision to hire McGinn, saying “everyone deserves a second chance”.
But ex-coach Alistair Skillen said he was “disgusted” that the disgraced officer had been appointed to the post, which will see him coaching players aged between 17 and 30.
He said: “The whole backroom staff have left, apart from my co-manager [Tam Shields].
“McGinn was interviewed about four weeks ago and they were well aware of his drug-dealing past. Some of the players are only 17, and that’s not really good enough.
“I’m going to get in touch with the SFA. The lads do not want to be training with somebody with that sort of record.
“As soon as I found out I said I wasn’t ever going in.”
He added: “There was a nasty incident last Saturday. We played Livingston and after the game I went in to give them a rollicking because a player had given two bad goals away.
“He [the player] screamed at me and said ‘What the hell are you gonna do about it? I’ll smash you’. He then turned to the vice-president, who is in his 70s, and said ‘I’ll smash you too’. We decided to call it a day there and then.”
McGinn, 31, took up his post last Saturday.
Top scorer Johnny Bisset has now refused to play with the team. His father, Jamie Bisset, blasted the appointment as a “disgrace”.
He said: “I am very disappointed for the guys. I am against drugs and my son is against drugs. He’s been playing since he was six years old, but he’s not going back as he could be tarred with the same brush and this is not a good image for the club.”
McGinn was jailed in October 2009. He was forced to resign following the scandal.
Mr Shields said he did not believe the coaches decided to leave because of the appointment. He said: “The coaches did not leave because Chris McGinn was appointed. They had already left.
“What [McGinn] did was wrong, we do not condone it, but he deserves a second chance. These are young adults he is coaching and they can make their own decisions.”
Referring to the other incident, Mr Shields said: “It is not acceptable in any way and he [the player] was suspended and will be investigated.”
Commenting on Mr Bisset’s decision to leave, he added: “He is contractually bound and if he wants to go he will have to go through the relevant channels.”