Former Preston North End winger Lee Ashcroft could be investigated by the FA over alleged sexist comments made towards a female football coach during a non-league football match.
Gresley first-team coach Hannah Dingley claims Ashcroft – who is the current manager of Northwich Victoria – used threatening and abusive language based on gender towards her, when the two sides met a week last Saturday at the Victoria Stadium.
It is alleged that the ex-West Bromwich Albion and England Under-21s international made a number of comments towards Dingley when she celebrated Gresley’s second goal and then again when the Vics equalised. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.
Gresley chairman Barry North said: “Hannah was visibly upset after the game when she came to see me about the alleged remarks made by Lee Ashcroft.
“I had already moved from the main stand to a different part of the ground with my wife at half-time because I hadn’t wanted to continue hearing the bad language coming from the Northwich technical area.
“I was appalled by what Hannah had told me had been said, and our manager and substitutes all confirmed they’d heard it. Sexism is as bad as racism and I want the FA to take it seriously.”
It is believed that Dingley, who is part of manager Gary Norton’s backroom team at the Moat ground, reported the matter to referee Marc Parry and provided a written statement to the FA.
Northwich chairman Jim Rushe said: “I was sat in the stand behind Lee and I didn’t see anything between him and a female.
“We’ve heard nothing from the FA or the league, so it would be wrong for me to comment until we do.”
Ashcroft has been in trouble before with the FA over remarks he is claimed to have made while he was manager of NPL Premier Division side Kendal Town.
In 2010 he was banned from all football activity for three months after being sent off for allegedly using abusive and/or indecently insulting words towards match officials in a game against Kings Lynn on October 3, 2009.
Kendal did appeal against the length of the ban, deeming it to be excessive. But the FA said the suspension reflected the severity of the language used by Ashcroft.
On receiving the ban two years ago, Ashcroft – who will not be drawn on Gresley’s complaint against him until he is contacted by the FA – said that he would learn from his enforced absence from the game.
He was quoted at the time as saying: “I am still convinced I did nothing wrong. It is an horrendous ban but I have got to accept it.
“I will learn from this and become a better manager. I will turn this negative time in my career into a positive one.”
An FA spokesman confirmed that they had received a complaint from Gresley but indicated the investigation was in its early stages.