1. ITV Report

Crusaders hit out over Linfield signing ‘furore’

David Healy with controversial new signing Josh Robinson - who was also announced as Crusaders' new signing. Credit: Pacemaker

Crusaders FC have said they are “highly offended” by the furore surrounding the signing of defender Josh Robinson, after he appeared to have signed for both the Crues and Linfield.

Both teams announced their apparent new player amid much confusion from fans.

But Robinson, a former Crusaders player who had been with York City, was then pictured in a Linfield kit and signing a contract alongside Linfield boss David Healy.

And the Blues kit manager has confirmed the latest addition to the team will wear the No 4 shirt.

The IFA also issued a statement to clarify the situation.

“The Irish FA received Standard Professional Contract forms for Josh Robinson from both Linfield FC (7.56pm) and Crusaders FC (10.56pm) yesterday evening (Thursday),” the governing body stated.

“Having considered the documentation received from both clubs, and based upon Irish FA regulations regarding priority of registrations, the Irish FA can confirm that the player is successfully registered with Linfield FC.”

Josh is a player who I've admired and have been keen to bring to the club to increase the competition levels within our squad.

– David Healy, Linfield

However, it seems that the matter is far from settled.

According to the Crues, Robinson first approached them in May to say “he was only interested in coming home to sign for Crusaders”.

Crusaders further stated: “Mr Robinson signed a FULL professional contract with Crusaders FC at the home of one of their directors in early June 2017, but asked that the contract be post-dated until 29/6/17 to allow Mr Robinson the opportunity to negotiate a ‘pay off’ from York City in lieu of the remainder of his contract with York City.”

The club claims Robinson had returned to training with them, had made use of facilities right up until two days before the confusion arose, and had requested his squad number from Crusaders staff.

Crusaders FC staff, players, directors and supporters have been highly offended by the actions of Mr Robinson and the disrepute brought to Irish Football in general and Crusaders FC in particular.

His actions are in stark contrast to the rest of the playing squad and staff who have brought great pride to the Crusaders family over the past 24 hours.

– Crusaders FC

Crusaders say it was only when they then tried to register him that the IFA informed the club he was already registered with Linfield.

The club also says it has sought legal advice on the matter.

“There has been a clear breach of contract by Mr Robinson,” a club statement said.

“Crusaders FC are considering their position in relation to their losses and damages in relation to this breach, and any third party or individual that has ‘induced’ this breach of employment contract.

“The events of the last 24 hours are highly irregular and are to be discouraged, so must not go unchallenged for fear of setting a precedent.”

Josh Robinson, pictured at Windsor Park in a Linfield shirt. Credit: Pacemaker