ACCRINGTON Stanley skipper Peter Cavanagh is determined to fight for his reputation after being found guilty of breaching the FA’s betting rules.
Cavangah was one of five players accused of gambling on Accrington to lose in a game where they were defeated 2-0 by Bury on May 3 2008.
But whereas the other players were found guilty of placing large bets, up to sums of £5,000, Cavanagh’s main charge was a losing £5 accumulator - actually placed by his brother-in-law.
The full-back, 28, is now planning his appeal with his solicitor Joanne Shelley against a £3,500 fine and eight month ban - that has stopped him earning a living with Stanley and has ended his coaching work at Liverpool’s Academy.
Joanne Shelley of Hillyer McKeown confirmed “Peter vigorously denied the charges from the outset and I was shocked by the severity of the sanctions imposed by the FA Regulatory Commission. I am currently advising Peter in relation to his proposed appeal”
Peter Cavanagh said: "My wife is distraught, she has taken it worse than me. This could lead to me losing my house and everything I’ve worked for since I was kid.
"The frustrating thing was we should have won the Bury match. Their keeper was man of the match in the papers the next day.
"And the hardest part of it is that I am innocent.
"I thought I would get a slap on the wrist. So I was stunned to get hit like I did.
"It’s the way they worded the ban. It’s all football-type activities. When Eric Cantona and Rio Ferdinand were banned they could still work in football, I can't."
Cavanagh was fully supported by Accrington and Liverpool, where he came through the ranks before leaving at the age of 19 in 2001 to join Stanley.
He has lost his income of just under £2,000 a month and now has to find the £3,500 fine and nearly £10,000 in relation to his share of the costs of the FA Regulatory Commission.
He fears the coaching career he planned to move into once his playing days are over is under threat.
He added: "I have been coaching at Liverpool’s Academy since I was 21. That is seven years.
"Liverpool are being brilliant to me. I am worried they might not want me back. Also the Academy is starting a new direction and if I miss the boat I may never get back in.
"Now I am going to have to get a job outside of football. I have mortgage, a wife and a baby on the way. It’s not going to be easy in this climate.
"But even if I clear myself I believe my reputation has been stained. I have spent ten years building a reputation in football and coaching and now because of these charges and the FA decision I’m stained forever."
See Friday's Observer for a full exclusive interview with Peter Cavanagh