Physio’s hush-hush bust-up

Dave Edge

Dave Edge

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A FORMER Morecambe FC physio grabbed a senior member of the club’s administration team and physically assaulted him, according to his professional body.

Dave Edge, a long-serving member of the club’s staff, pushed the club official, named only as NM, out of a treatment room and into one of the main changing rooms at the club’s old Christie Park home.

The Health Professions Council’s conduct and competence committee also heard that Edge also referred to the official as a “f***ing pen-pusher”, or words to that effect.

However, another aspect of the allegations, that Mr Edge bullied and harassed NM over an 18-month period, was dismissed by the panel.

Edge was given a three-year caution order following a hearing at the Holiday Inn in Lancaster in January.

Shrimps fans have remained in the dark about the incident, which happened on April 22, 2009.

It happened when NM entered the treatment room after a reserve match. He was grabbed by his clothes around the neck area and pushed. The panel ruled that Mr Edge did not intend to knock NM over, saying the fall was due to a stumble by either man. The panel dismissed an allegation that Mr Edge grabbed NM by the throat.

Mr Edge, giving evidence to the panel, expressed regret and embarrassment over the incident and acknowledged that the physical assault did amount to misconduct.

The hearing also heard from witnesses who spoke of the high regard in which the physio was held personally and professionally.

In dismissing the allegation of bullying, the hearing report reads: “No complaint of this nature was raised by NM before the incident on April 22, 2009.

“The panel fully accepts that Mr Edge could be a forceful character, and also accepts that the relationship between him and NM was at times strained, both being capable of robust exchanges. But equally, the evidence of the HPC’s witnesses was that on the whole they maintained a proper working relationship.”

As part of the evidence a statement was read out from NM, who declined to attend the hearing, something that the HPC panel noted as unusual.

The report reads: “A matter that should be mentioned at an early stage is the unusual situation that the alleged victim of Mr Edge’s behaviour has declined to attend the hearing to give evidence.

“On July 6, 2011, NM signed a witness statement in which he both stated that he was prepared to make that statement in order to assist the HPC and that he was prepared to attend the hearing to give evidence.”

Later NM sent a letter saying he had not instigated the investigation, that he felt he was coerced into co-operating and that he had no desire to take part in the process.

In delivering their findings, the committee said: “The panel should make it clear that the finding does not raise concerns that Mr Edge would behave inappropriately towards patients or clients. From this, and from the fact that there is no complaint made concerning Mr Edge’s clinical practice, no wider issue of public safety arises.

“However, the panel finds that this misconduct is still impairing Mr Edge’s fitness to practise because it significantly compromised his professional reputation and in the judgment of the panel it is still compromising that reputation.

“It will take some time before his previously positive reputation will be regained.”

Mr Edge left his post as Morecambe’s physio in the summer of 2009. He said: “In many respects I welcome the findings of the hearing and the conclusions drawn.

“The majority of the allegations made against me have been totally discredited and been proved unfounded.

“As a professional I have accepted the findings of my professional body, most of which were in my favour, and I am delighted that they endorsed my version of the events.”

Morecambe FC director Stephen Wright declined to comment, saying: “The incident was seen by the club as an internal matter and dealt with as such at the time. We considered the matter then to be closed.”

“The HPC has taken action of its own volition and made its own findings.”

In the absence of any official comment, many people connected with the club have remained in the dark as to why Mr Edge left.