A football club has been accused of leading its supporters “up the garden path” with misleading reports of its pre-season tour to Spain.
In reports on its official website, Bradford Park Avenue claimed its new striker had scored a hat-trick in one match, and that the tour had been played out against “tough opposition.”
But it has now emerged that Rory Patterson, a new signing from FC United of Manchester, did not even take part in the tour, let alone put in a heroic debut performance against FC Soto Grande.
Nor did the team participate in matches against tough opposition, instead contesting games against opposition more comparable to a Sunday morning team.
Park Avenue bosses have now admitted that accounts of the tour were not 100 per cent true and that reports of Patterson’s hat-trick had been “a bit of a wind up”.
The truth about the club’s tour to Spain came to light after questions were raised on a supporters’ club website.
Rory was actually in Majorca at the time. But one of the guys who played for us was also called Patterson, but was not Rory. We weren’t 100 per cent about it. It was a bit of a wind up on our partKevin Hainsworth
One post said there was no record of the teams that Park Avenue were supposed to have played against and claimed the whole tour had been a “joke”.
Kevin Hainsworth, director and spokesman for the club, said the tour had definitely taken place, but accepted that some of the details in the reports had been misleading.
He said: “We have to say that some of the quality of teams we played were not to the strength that we were initially led to believe.
“As it turned out, they were more like Sunday morning teams that we played against. Having said that, it was still okay.
“We are going to ignore the rumours and move on. It was more or less a full squad that went, plus a few trialists were involved.”
When asked about Rory Patterson’s apparent goal-scoring exploits during the tour of southern Spain, Mr Hainsworth said: “Rory was actually in Majorca at the time.
“But one of the guys who played for us was also called Patterson, but was not Rory. We weren’t 100 per cent about it. It was a bit of a wind up on our part to see how people would take it.
“We just want to put the whole thing to bed now. We are approaching the start of a new season with a strengthened side and we are looking forward to it.”
Dave Stordy, of Park Avenue Supporters’ Club, said: “The fans should be told the full story and not led up the garden path. I don’t know why they have done this.
“However, the club has put together what is considered a formidable squad and will be judged on what they achieve this season.”