FA Cup star faces drugs charges

A YOUNG footballer who starred in a Suffolk non-league team's incredible FA Cup run has been charged with drug dealing.

A YOUNG footballer who starred in a Suffolk non-league team's incredible FA Cup run has been charged with drug dealing.

Leiston midfielder Danny Cunningham, 20, was arrested an hour-and-a half before the club's triumphant FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at Lewes on Tuesday night.

Police had raided his Ipswich home hours earlier and discovered what was believed to be crack cocaine and heroin. He was charged with possessing drugs with intent to supply last night and is due to appear before magistrates in Ipswich this morning.

Cunningham was Leiston's hero on Saturday after his goal earned the Suffolk side a 1-1 draw against the higher-ranked Lewes.

The club went on to make the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history with a 3-1 win in the replay on Tuesday. Fans of the Ridgeons League club were surprised that Cunningham was not involved in the match.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “We arrested a 20-year-old man from Ipswich on suspicion of possessing controlled drugs with intent to supply.

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“Police officers executed a search warrant at an address in Brooks Hall Road, Ipswich, on Tuesday afternoon and discovered a quantity of drugs.”

Police confirmed that Cunningham had been charged with the offence after being questioned at Ipswich Police Station.

Leiston chairman Andy Crisp said the player was “innocent until proven guilty” and insisted the incident would not take the shine off the club's remarkable FA Cup success.

“From the club's point of view he is innocent until proven guilty. We are not prepared to let an unfortunate personal incident to one of our players cloud the issue of our success.

“We are moving forward positively. It was a disappointment pre-match to have a player met by the police.

“The manager was very professional in the way that he dealt with the situation. It was the biggest game in the club's history and the team went out and did a job.

“The club will be watching the situation closely and once we have heard all the evidence we will take action accordingly.”

Cunningham signed for Leiston from AFC Sudbury in December 2007, and has proved an outstanding performer for the club. On Saturday he is due to start a two-match ban for receiving ten bookings so far this season.

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