Shab Khan 'body slam': Worcester City boss defends player
Worcester City manager Carl Heeley has backed Shab Khan following his 'body slam' on Stockport midfielder Charlie Russell, saying the defender was subjected to "extreme provocation".
Clips of the incident during Saturday's Conference North match have been viewed more than 12 million times.
"The football club in no way condones reactions like that," said Heeley.
"But he's had three or four career-threatening injuries from poor tackles. There's certainly a defence there."
|Wrath of Khan tops Aggborough video charts|
|Shab Khan's 'body slam' is not the first time this season a Worcester City player's antics at Aggborough have gone viral. Sean Geddes scored a 'Rabona' wonder goal during his side's 3-0 FA Trophy win over Barrow in late November, prompting a similar social-media response.|
|It is also not the first time Stockport County have been in the headlines after a match at Aggborough, the home of Kidderminster Harriers, Worcester's landlords. On the day Stockport were relegated from the Conference in April 2013, home right-back Lee Vaughan was attacked on the pitch during the game by a visiting fan.|
Khan was sent off in the closing stages of City's 2-0 win, while Russell was booked for his initial challenge.
Heeley said Khan was "apologetic" for his "over-the-top reaction".
He told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "We've got to remember that incident wouldn't happen if the Stockport player didn't commit an awful challenge. There were a number of poorly-timed tackles that we were the victims of.
"Football's an emotional game. Shab is a lovely, mild-mannered lad. He will just feel he's let his team-mates down.
"He's just got a run of games in the side. There had been extreme provocation and we can certainly understand it."
Since his debut in 2004, Khan has broken an ankle and dislocated an elbow, before missing the majority of two seasons with a serious knee injury sustained in August 2010. A groin operation last summer delayed the start of his season until October.
|BBC Sport's Dan Johnson on Shab Khan|
|"Having seen Shabir Khan play for his hometown club for more than 10 years, a career blighted by injury, I wasn't entirely surprised by his reaction to what could so easily have been a leg-breaking, career-ending challenge. The Pakistan international made his debut in 2004 but has made fewer than 200 appearances, having suffered a catalogue of long-term injuries. A decade of frustration all came out on Saturday. His latest enforced absence will do nothing to damage his reputation amongst the City faithful. Indeed his status as Worcester's cult hero now seems assured."|
"I'm not a great believer in speaking to players right after the game when the emotions are high but one thing is for sure, he'll get my and Worcester City's full support," said Heeley.
"The unfortunate thing is that we're now going be without a player who is suspended and incredibly the Stockport player who committed the challenge only got a yellow card."