Statement following Saturday's match with Crawley Town at Sixfields:-
While reluctant to comment on matters relating to football administration - in common with many supporters and the football community generally - the Trust has deep concerns in respect of the rejection of the club's appeal against Aaron McGowan's dismissal.
Since the incident on Saturday 4 March, it has been viewed by thousands of football enthusiasts, with the red card decision criticised by many. It was even mocked in a national tabloid newspaper.
We have the utmost respect for match officials, who do a difficult job, and recognises that sometimes they will get decisions wrong.
However, the appeals process should be capable of reviewing the evidence objectively and taking decisions that are fair, especially when the facts are clearly there in plain sight.
The behaviour of the injured party in this instance sends a profoundly negative message to supporters, particularly the young, that competitive advantage can be obtained by histrionics and playacting.
The club is moving on as one with a clear focus on the game at Hartlepool tomorrow and we accept that they cannot comment further on this matter.
We can however, and we urge the football authorities to reinforce their review processes so that miscarriages of justice such as this are not repeated.
Also that efforts be redoubled to eliminate unsportsmanlike practices which are damaging to the reputation and integrity of the sport.
We feel there is a grave danger of fans voting with their feet if gamesmanship, all too prevalent in football these days, is allowed to go unchecked by the authorities charged with upholding fair play.