Dom Di Paola has labelled Saturday’s win as an ‘irrelevence’ after speaking of his shock at the deaths of two Worthing United players in the Shoreham airshow tragedy.
“(the accident) was just horrendous. I played Sunday football with Matt (Grimstone) in Shoreham so I’m still a bit numb at the news and football really is an irrelevance at times like this. We didn’t really know what happened to begin with. The first accounts didn’t know too much so everything was all smiles really. We knew there had been an incident but that was about it because we were all focused on the match. I feel terrible for the boys. I can’t imagine what it must be like for Worthing United. I mean, how do you recover from something like that? It makes you think sometimes, and realise how life short can be. The fact that it is so close to home makes it even more real. It’s such a well-used road and members of my family passed through that spot earlier in the day, which is a bit scary, but you’ve got to question the sense in holding an event like that so close to a major road like the A27.
That it involves people that you know makes it 100% worse and it’s tragic to think that this has happened to two lads who were just on their way to play football. I would think that the whole of Sussex football is in shock. It’s times like this when non-league football comes together and shows what a close-knit family it is. At this level players aren’t in it for the fame or the money, they do it for the love and enjoyment of the game and there’s not too many people you don’t like which is why I think this terrible accident will be felt by everyone, particularly in Sussex. Around Sussex, and especially Worthing, everyone seems to know everyone else in the game and that’s the case with a lot of my players who knew Matt and Jacob, and some of them knew Matt Jones too.”
The manager believes that the incident, that happened just before 1.30pm on Saturday, had a bearing on Shoreham’s performance as the visitors crashed to a 5-0 defeat. “We had a nice win but we shouldn’t get carried away. Of course a win is worth celebrating but I don’t think it was Shoreham’s day. They’re not a bad side at all but they had problems with their shirts before kick-off and no doubt had other events on their minds, and then had to play an hour in that heat with just ten men so it was always going to be a struggle for them.”