Liam Noble was DROPPED by Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates after a heated disagreement in the run up to their Dover Athletic humbling.
The Mail understands an argument on the team bus saw the former Sunderland midfielder taken out of the matchday 16 by Bates.
Noble watched on from the stands as his side were beaten 2-1 by Dover Athletic - bottom of the National League prior to kick off.
The Mail learned that Noble was not in the Pools matchday squad when he made his way over to the stand on the other side of the ground, in full tracksuit, demanding a meeting with the Pools hierarchy.
He asked a steward directly next to the press box to allow him to enter the private directors area above the benches. After some persuading the steward eventually stepped aside.
The Mail understands the player then had a meeting with Pools officials.
Director of football Craig Hignett, chief executive Mark Maguire and director Ian Scobbie were in attendance at the game.
Noble then made it clear to the Mail he had been dropped for the game by the manager, prior to the teamsheets being handed out, or the starting XIs being announced on social media.
When questioned, the player made it clear he was not banned and was fit and available to play.
When asked by BBC Tees about Noble's absence, Bates said: "I pick a squad - starting XI and subs - based on what I see in training. It is based on what I see around the group from individuals.
"It was my decision in the end to not include him."
When asked whether he was injured, Bates replied: "No."
The Mail then quizzed the Pools boss on whether the midfielder would be made available for Tuesday. He replied: "We will have a look at it over the next couple of days. We will look at it."
Bates was then asked by the Mail if he could say any more on the issue? And if there is an issue is this the kind of thing that should stay in-house?
"In or not in house, these kind of decisions are made every day," said Bates.
"Looking at the last few days of training I thought it was best to leave him out."
Pools have declined to comment further on the situation.