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Team-mates' frustration for accused

PUBLISHED: 12:58 20 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

THE footballers were frustrated with the amount of time it took for Adrian Bradshaw's case to get to court and wanted to find a way in which they could prove they cared for their star striker, who was on remand at Norwich Prison.

THE footballers were frustrated with the amount of time it took for Adrian Bradshaw's case to get to court and wanted to find a way in which they could prove they cared for their star striker, who was on remand at Norwich Prison.

During the past year, Associates manager Colin Edgecombe has written the secret messages within match reports of the team's games in a football newspaper.

By calling Adrian by his nickname "Bernie", he made sure the team's secret remained hidden and the Associates captain would still be involved in some way with the club's activities.

The first message appeared on January 13, just two weeks after Adrian was arrested by Suffolk police, and read: "This victory was for you Bernie".

Other messages implied a grave injustice had taken place because they believed Adrian had been locked up behind bars on remand for a murder he had not committed.

Colin would then include copies of the newspaper in letters he sent to his friend in Norwich Prison.

The 30-year-old said: "We started writing the messages because it showed Adrian that we were still thinking of him and this was another way of showing our support.

"I sent the copies of the newspaper to him in prison with my letters and he thought it was quite funny. When we went to see him and talked about the messages, it was nice to see him smile under the circumstances.

"The football team were genuinely really missing him. We could have easily won the championship if he was still playing and at least he knows we included him in team some way."

Adrian might have been in prison, but his fellow footballers continued to involve him as much as possible in their daily lives.

During Colin's birthday celebrations, the players sent a text message to Adrian to tell him they were still thinking of him. They knew the police had confiscated his phone, but they hoped the message would somehow get back to their friend.

When the football season came to an end, the Associates held a special trophy presentation night to reward the players for their hard work and dedication.

Despite being out of most of the games, the team still wanted to include Adrian during the celebration. He even phoned his sister from prison to give her a speech to read out during the night on his behalf.

"It was a sweet gesture and it was sad to think that he couldn't join us on the night," said Colin.

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