A FOOTBALL club has said it is disappointed by a pundit’s disparaging comment about former player Lewis Dunk.

After the defender scored the equaliser in Albion’s first game behind closed doors on Saturday, BT Sport’s Ian Darke suggested he was “used to playing in a stadium with no fans as he used to play for Bognor Regis Town”.

His remarks sparked outrage from the club and its fans, as well as the non-league community as a whole.

Some supporters shared photos of Bognor’s stadium packed to the rafters with a capacity crowd to disprove his point while others have called for an apology over the flippant comment.

A spokesman for Bognor Regis Town Football Club said: “BT Sport, if you want to make disparaging comments about non-league, can we remind you how the whole non-league family is on its knees.

“Can we also remind you many current Premier League stars made their way into the game via non-league football.

“(Leicester striker and England international) Jamie Vardy, for example.”

The club slammed the comment as “very disrespectful” and a “cheap shot”.

Responding on social media, another football fan added: “The Rocks are a credit to The Isthmian League and non-league football. Will they get an apology from you?”

Sussex-born centre back Dunk was sent on loan to the Rocks before making his Albion debut in 2010, and has previously credited the spell as the “turning point” in his career.

But the club, along with many other non-league outfits across the country, is currently struggling due to the enormous impact the coronavirus crisis has had on the game.

The Argus:

The Football Association made the decision to end non-league seasons early due to the pandemic, leaving clubs without games or gate revenue for months.

Bognor Regis Town FC has set up a crowdfunder called You Are Our Rocks to support the team, with an initial aim of raising £30,000.

The campaign states: “You, the fans are the very reason we are who we are. Through you, we are one. Since 1883 we have proudly represented our town, our county, and our supporters.

“Now, in these exceptionally challenging times, we need to try to generate funding to not only look to progress but to hold what we have.

“We’re not sure when football will resume at our level after the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the season, but we do know we want to be as prepared as we can be for that very special day, as well as for the football that follows.”

The campaign has now raised almost £40,000, with a revised target of £50,000.

BT Sport have been contacted for comment.