DAVE Patient insists he will not sack Steve Butterworth despite the Great Wakering Rovers player-manager being banned from football related activity due to betting offences.

Butterworth has been found guilty of breaching FA Rule E8 having placed 1,541 bets on football matches between August 3, 2014 and May 29, 2019.

As a result, Butterworth has been suspended from all activity within the game until June 21 and also handed a £150 fine, but Wakering chairman Patient insists he stands by his man.

“Steve has been up front with me from the start and told me the moment he received a letter from the FA in August,” said Patient.

“I have known Steve since he first joined as a player in 2006 and he has become a good friend of mine.

“Steve sat down with me and told me the situation.

“I wanted to see the outcome, which has turned out to be a ban and £150 fine, but it has not crossed my mind to sack Steve.

“Although I make the decision because I am the chairman, I put it to the club committee as well and they agreed with my decision to back Steve.

“He has not committed a criminal offence. It is a gambling issue and he has admitted to breaching the guidelines.

“I’ve admired the fact he has owned up to it and been transparent with me, along with the FA, throughout.

“He is an honest man and I’m thankful for that.

“If the ban had have been for a year, then I might have had to make a different decision.”

Butterworth took over from Garry Kimble as interim player-manager in January 2019 but was handed the job on a permanent basis days before the final fixture of last season.

During his first full campaign in charge, Wakering have shone and – heading into the enforced break due to the coronavirus epidemic – find themselves seventh in the Isthmian North standings.

Patient hopes Butterworth’s gambling breach does not stop him going on to enjoy success in management.

“There was no way Steve was going to lose his job with us over this and he is a very good, bright manager who will need to be headhunted by another club to leave here,” added Patient.

“He has a bright future in management and I said that from the moment we first gave him a coaching role at the club.

“Our position in the table this season shows that and I just hope this misdemeanour does not stop him going on to achieve big things.

“The camaraderie he has created here is fantastic.

“I think Steve is good enough to manage at the top level of non-league football at the very least.”

Should the season recommence ahead of Butterworth’s ban coming to an end, first team coach Craig Shipman will lead Wakering from the dugout.