Leyton Orient: Ross Embleton claim about Mark Cooper denied by Forest Green

Ross Embleton was placed back in interim charge of Leyton Orient after Carl Fletcher was sacked

Leyton Orient interim manager Ross Embleton has claimed Forest Green boss Mark Cooper made an “unacceptable” jibe about late Orient manager Justin Edinburgh in a touchline row.

Embleton was sent off in the first half of Orient’s home defeat by Rovers for throwing chewing gum at Cooper.

He claimed Cooper had called him “an impostor” and asked: “Who do you think you are, Justin Edinburgh?”

Forest Green said Cooper “denies making the comment or anything like it”.

Edinburgh, who had led Orient since November 2017, died in June at the age of 49 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

“I got told I am an impostor in the environment I am in,” Embleton told BBC Radio London.

“I’ve spent most of my career being an impostor. I didn’t play football or have a football career and I’ve worked extremely hard to get myself to where I am and where I’ve been.

“It’s a thing that’s been thrown at me quite regularly, which doesn’t affect me any more as I quite like it, it’s my thing. So, I can accept that bit.

“But to follow that up with ‘who do you think you are, Justin Edinburgh?’ is something I will never accept.”

Mark Cooper has also managed Peterborough, Darlington, Notts County and Swindon

In a statement, Forest Green chairman Dale Vince told BBC Sport that Cooper and Edinburgh were “close friends” and both the referee and fourth official had confirmed to the club that neither had heard any such remarks during the game.

“Leyton Orient’s manager was sent off for throwing something at our bench after the first goal was scored,” Vince said. “Their manager has to look to himself for the reason for his behaviour.”

Forest Green added in a later statement: “The club firmly denies these accusations and will co-operate fully with Leyton Orient in any investigation that may come in the wake of the game.

“Justin was a close friend of the manager and deserves the utmost respect.”

Embleton was originally placed in interim charge of Orient following Edinburgh’s death.

He was re-appointed to the post when the club sacked Carl Fletcher earlier this month after just 29 days in charge.

The 38-year-old admitted his “blood was still boiling” after the game over Cooper’s alleged remarks.

“I have to apologise for everyone associated with the club for getting sent off because it obviously has an effect on the team and it shows a lack of discipline,” he added.

“But, that phrase is totally unacceptable. I knew of Mark Cooper’s behaviour at times and the way in which he approaches different people and today’s shown me what he’s all about.

“I got sent off for throwing chewing gum at him and ultimately that is what I deserve. But, it was either that or do something even more aggressive which would have been even more naive.

“It was the best way to deal with at that moment in time.”

Cooper, who has been in charge of Forest Green since May 2016, made no mention of the first-half incident in his post-match interview, in which he described the atmosphere as “hostile”.


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