Ball-boy gets a kicking off the field too

MEMED: Ball-boy Charlie Morgan in hospital.
MEMED: Ball-boy Charlie Morgan in hospital.

First he got a kicking on the field, now he's getting one off it.

British media and commentators on social media are putting the boot into the ball-boy who looked to be in such pain after being kicked by Chelsea football star Eden Hazard during a match in Wales yesterday.

It turns out ball-boy 17-year-old Charlie Morgan boasted on Twitter before the game, between Swansea City and Chelsea, about his time-wasting skills.

"The king of all ball-boys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting," he said in his Twitter post.

After that tweet , he added: "Haven't been doing it this season been ask to come back to run them because the person can't come in cos of the snow."

In the incident yesterday, Hazard rushed to get the ball after it went out of play late in the game.

A dawdling Morgan gets in his way and Hazard pushes him. Morgan falls on top of the ball and appears to be in no hurry to get off it.

Hazard tries to grab the ball and then resorts to kicking it out from under Morgan, who then rolls around grimacing and holding his ribs.

The referee sent Hazard off.

Police are investigating, and have said Morgan was not injured.

Morgan is the son of hotel and property tycoon Martin Morgan, who is said to be the 32nd-richest person in Wales, and is on the Swansea City board of directors. He started his career as a welder but became a company director by the age of 29, and now sits on the board of 11 hotel and property companies.

Ben Watkins, 18, a former school friend of Charlie Morgan's, said: "He must be the richest ball-boy in football," the Daily Mail reported.

"He's mad about Swansea City - what he did was a bit foolish especially after be boasted he was going to time-waste. I guess he's been a bit spoiled because his dad's got pots of money."

In posts on Twitter, Charlie has bragged about drinking Veuve Clicquot champagne and going on holiday to Las Vegas and Dubai.

Hazard told Chelsea TV after the game: "The boy put his whole body on to the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball and I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise.

"The ball-boy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologised and the boy apologised as well, and it is over. Sorry."

Hundreds of tweets were posted after the incident, many posting mocked-up pictures of a hospital patient covered in bandages, claiming they were photographs of Morgan recovering from being kicked.

Others suggested that he should be signed up by a football team thanks to his apparent goalkeeping skills. Singer Lily Allen joined in the fun, joking: "Pray for the little Welsh ball-boy."

Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup denied the club had told the ball-boys to hold on to the ball when it went out of play.

But former Chelsea and England manager Glenn Hoddle sympathised with Hazard and claimed managers often instructed ball-boys to waste time.

He told Sky Sports: "As a manager, if you've got ball-boys, you will tell people instructing the ball-boys that if you're winning the game, don't give the ball back quickly."

Some Twitter users called Hazard a "disgrace", "scumbag" and "animal".

Former Liverpool footballer Robbie Fowler added: "Right decision even though ball-boy milked it."

Former Derby County footballer Robbie Savage, now a BBC pundit, said: "Still can't believe he got sent off for that, incredible!! If the ball-boy does his job properly that doesn't happen."

Chelsea's official Twitter feed tried to make light of the incident, saying: "Has football gone mad? Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ball-boy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it. #CFC."

Some outraged Chelsea fans sent Morgan a string of abusive tweets blaming him for the whole incident.

@OfficialDJWalsh said: "Mate, all I wanna say is ... YOU are a disgrace and a bad sportsman for trying to time-waste. I hope he broke your ribs."

Fan David Comlay added: "Five minutes of fame, but you looked an idiot. You should be ashamed."

Morgan went from 600 followers on Twitter to more than 80,000 in the hours after the nationally televised incident.

QPR midfielder Joey Barton, on loan at Marseille, joined the debate, tweeting : "Hazard only crime is he hasn't kicked him hard enough."

Barton later updated on Twitter to clarify his comments: "Just re-read that last tweet and it sounds like I'm advocating kicking ball-boys! Haha I was mearly [sic] trying to point out Hazard, may as well ... of kicked him properly for the way he is going to be punished for this. Public perception is he's volleyed him. In reality he's tried ... all be it in an aggressive manner to dislodge the ball from beneath him. I am strictly against the kicking of balls people#kickitout."

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin suggested Morgan had what was coming to him, labelling his behaviour "disgraceful".

"I would have kicked the ball out from underneath the ball-boy if he had been lying like that, 100 per cent," he told BBC Radio Five.

"I was very, very disappointed by the way the ball-boy acted, and I say 'acted'," Nevin said.

"He must have been watching footballers, the way he rolled around and pretended to be more injured."

HOLLYWOOD?: Ball-boy Charlie Morgan.
HOLLYWOOD?: Ball-boy Charlie Morgan.