AFC Wimbledon chief resigns after secret recording revealed sexist comments about colleague

Former AFC Wimbedon managing director Danny Macklin - AFC Wimbledon chief resigns after secret recording revealed sexist and abusive comments about colleague
Former AFC Wimbedon managing director Danny Macklin - PA/Jeff Moore

The managing director of a football club left his job after a bug hidden in his office recorded him calling a female colleague a “s--t” and “s--g” and joking about murdering her.

Danny Macklin made the abusive comments about Rebecca Markham, AFC Wimbledon’s head of supporter services and ticketing, two months after both publicly committed to tackling sexism as part of the ‘Her Game Too’ campaign.

He was caught after a covert recording device was planted in his office by a British Army veteran and former prisoner working as the League Two club’s security officer.

Matthew Wells then threatened to blow the whistle by contacting the Prince of Wales, president of the Football Association, who also served in the military.

On the recording, Macklin can be heard discussing with two female colleagues how to get rid of Markham, who has worked at Premier League clubs including Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, West Ham United and Fulham.

He said: “I f------ want to put her through a f------ window . . . I’ve never wanted to kill someone, but I’d like to kill her. F------ s--t.”

He also said: “I f------ want to murder her . . . I f------ hate her . . . f------ s--g.”

Macklin, previously chief executive at Leyton Orient and commercial director at Southend United and Essex County Cricket Club, declined to discuss his behaviour when contacted by the Times, saying: “For legal reasons I make no comment.”

He had earlier written on LinkedIn: “My immediate focus will be on spending much needed time with my young family before taking my next challenge where I hope to use my experience, knowledge and leadership to create success, wherever that might be.”

Prior to his departure, the 42-year-old had appealed to supporters not to sing sexist songs, saying: “The repeated use of chants that are not family friendly will prevent us from attracting new fans.”

AFC Wimbledon announced Macklin was leaving at the start of the month but made no mention of the saga over the recording, saying only: “We appreciate the hard work that he has done, as well as his commitment to the club, and wish him all the best for the future.”

But after his comments were made public, they issued a statement, which read: “Behaviour such as that being alleged was and is not tolerated, nor is it representative of the culture at the club. Once we became aware of the matter we acted appropriately in accordance with our responsibilities and values to promptly resolve it. For legal reasons we are not able to say more.”

Wells, 57, reportedly planted the bug after becoming concerned about alleged abuse of staff and warned a club official he would blow the whistle if his concerns were not addressed.

The veteran had served in all major conflicts since the Falklands before being jailed for six years in 2009 after his AK-47 assault rifle accidentally fired during a confrontation with his regimental quartermaster over what he believed to be the mistreatment of a female soldier.

He was said to believe he acted “honourably” in disclosing Macklin’s private conversation to club officials to protect a vulnerable employee.