A FORMER Guiseley footballer who was jailed for domestic violence has signed a contract with a non-league club much to the fury of its fans.

Reece Thompson, who was convicted of assault and grievous bodily harm in 2019, was taken on trial by Selby Town during pre-season earlier this year.

Fans of the club met the news of his arrival with anger, with some supporters saying it sent out the wrong message to victims of abuse.

The Robins, who play in the tenth tier of the football league pyramid in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League (NCEL) Division One, later stated that handing the 26-year-old a trial was a “serious error of judgement”.

They added that he would not play again for the club.

But Selby has made a U-turn on their decision.

The Robins said they don’t condone his actions but feel he deserves a second chance.

The statement read: “During pre-season we trialled a player by the name of Reece Thompson.

“At the time many supporters and non supporters expressed their opinion on the trial due to the events and court proceedings in Reece’s past.

“Following this trial we released a statement stating that Reece would not be joining our team on an ongoing basis.

“Since then a great deal of discussion has taken place within the club, and with Reece himself as to his actions, his sentence, and what comes next for him.

“As made clear in our original statement, the club does not condone Reece’s actions and we can only imagine the impact upon those involved.

“For what he has done, Reece has rightly been judged in a court of law and served his sentence.”

They added that it was “not their place” to “continue to further punish Reece”.

They said: “With that sentence now served and with the ongoing work Reece carries out to understand and learn from his behaviour, we have come to the conclusion that it is not our place to continue to further punish Reece for his actions.

"He has received his punishment and carried out his sentence, and with that in mind, we believe that a second chance could and should be provided both in employment and in recreation.

“Further to this, we believe that being part of our club and being surrounded by the strong management team we have in place can further help Reece to overcome his past and to ensure that he learns from his actions and is able to fulfil a role within society.

“We understand there will be many that disagree with our stance, likewise there will be those who believe he has served his sentence and should be allowed to now carry on with life.

“We hope going forward Reece will be judged on his actions from this point with his knowledge that the expectations and standard of behaviour expected of him are high.”

The club has come under fire for changing their position.

One fan said he’d never watch the team he supported his entire life again, and urged the club to reconsider.

They said: “Will never go to watch this team I supported all my life again. Please reconsider or accept losing lifelong fans like me.”

Another fan slammed the move, and said he’d rather the team struggled than watch Thompson “banging” in the goals.

They said: “180 degree turn around by the club. I think I would rather miss out on promotion than having him banging in goals.”

Chris de Souza branded the decision “disgusting”.

He said: “This is a disgusting decision to make. It is not your place to say you forgive a man who beat his partner ‘with an iron bar, smashing her head with two mirrors and forcing her to eat paint’.

“And then belittled her on social media and was recalled to prison. The fans and public made it clear he is not welcome at this club. Shame on you.”