Harry Arter: Non-league player 'ashamed' over tweets to Bournemouth midfielder

Harry Arter
Harry Arter played the full 90 minutes against Arsenal on Tuesday

The non-league player sacked after abusing Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter on Twitter has said he is ashamed of his actions.

Bournemouth lost a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Arsenal in the Premier League on Tuesday.

Hitchin Town player Alfie Barker, 18, later posted: "Big hype just for a disappointment like the nine months leading up to your child's birth."

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's disgusting. I'm totally ashamed."

Arter and his partner Rachel's baby daughter Renee was stillborn in December 2015.

Barker earlier made an apology for his "disgraceful comments" and said he would accept any punishment given to him.

He initially claimed his account, which has now been deleted, had been hacked, before apologising.

'I'm just so sorry'

Barker, who takes medication to combat the symptoms of ADHD and a mild form of autism, told Stevenage-based newspaper The Comet he was "distraught" at upsetting Arter and his own family, including his aunt who had suffered two miscarriages in the last five years.

"I was watching Arsenal at home and I was hyper. At 3-0 down they weren't playing well and I was annoyed," he said.

"I'd had a couple of beers and was frustrated at the way the team was playing and I just lashed out. I have no idea why I focused on Harry Arter and his family and I am so, so sorry for what I have done.

"It was a moment of madness. It's the worst thing I've ever done in my life, but it is so out of character. I honestly don't know why I did it.

"I also completely understand why Hitchin Town took the action they did and I completely agree they did the right thing."

Alfie Barker
Alfie Barker was registered by Hitchin Town in the summer but has been playing at Langford and Codicote on a dual-registration basis

How Barker's clubs responded

Seventh-tier Hitchin issued a statement saying: "In the light of the player's irresponsible and anti-social behaviour, we are terminating Alfie Barker's registration and relationship with the club with immediate effect."

Speaking to BBC Sport before the statement was released, Hitchin boss Mark Burke said: "I've seen the tweets and I'm disgusted with them. They're vile and I can't condone them in any way."

Bournemouth have referred the matter to the Football Association, who have contacted Barker for observations in relation to postings on social media.

Barker has seven days from Thursday, 5 January to respond to the FA's request.

Outcomes of previous FA investigations into inappropriate comments on social media have ranged from warnings and fines to bans.

Codicote FC, where Barker is on loan, said: "We have no choice but to terminate our relationship with him.

"We would like to make it clear that Codicote FC cannot and will not tolerate this behaviour; we have a responsibility to our community, supporters and the football family to stamp this behaviour out."

Barker was also subject to an approach by Stotfold with a view to him signing for the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division side.

But Stotfold chairman Phil Pateman told the Press Association: "This was prior to grotesque comments made by Barker in regard to the tragic loss of Harry Arter's daughter Renee.

"As a result of those comments Stotfold FC have, with immediate effect, withdrawn our interest in the player."

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