Friday, 13 July 2007

Bunker Mentality

Sheffield United's campaign for West Ham to be deducted points over the Carlos Tevez affair finally trundled to a halt today with the high court's decision to cut off the club's final avenue of attack. In a private hearing, the Blades were refused the right to appeal against an arbitration panel's decision to dismiss their claim for new disciplinary action to be taken against West Ham. The Guardian states that the ruling means that the £5.5m fine originally handed out to West Ham will remain the only punishment imposed on the club for including banned clauses in the contracts of Tevez and Javier Masceharno - and then deliberately concealing them from the Premier League authorities.

It does not, however, prevent Sheffield United from seeking financial compensation, something the club has previously suggested it would do, with a figure of £50million being mentioned. "Sheffield United have not been granted leave to appeal aspects of the arbitration panel's decision earlier this month," said the club's solicitor Paul Stothard outside the court. "This application was made on very limited grounds and it has also been denied on very limited grounds. Sheffield United are not precluded from taking further action whether against the Premier League or West Ham. We will consider our position with our professional advisors and make further statements in due course." Stothard insisted the Blades would continue to press for new action, but admitted compensation may now become the focus of their challenge, rather than reinstatement to the Premier League. "We now have to go and think about what we can do. As Kevin (McCabe, chairman) said recently we have a long agenda of things we can do with regard to this, we are still on the first page," he said. "I think you can be fairly confident that things won't rest there. If we cannot get reinstated then compensation would be top of the agenda because there are very significant consequences financially for being relegated from the Premier League wrongfully, as we believe we have been."

Sheffield United's drop into the Championship has not only produced an almost infinite number of column inches, but also a cult video. For some, United's demise came as no great surprise, and the subsequent fallout simply beggared belief. Still, as David Brent once said: "Every cloud..." The Telegraph notes that the silver-lining in this particular saga is not the disappearance of Neil Warnock who, presumably, is driving his tractor around his back garden wondering what could have been, but rather, a strange video from the vaults of the Third Reich...

Away from the courtroom shenanigans and there has actually been some proper football news to report; namely Paul Konchesky's move to Fulham. The defender moved from West Ham for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £2million. The 26-year-old becomes Lawrie Sanchez's fifth signing of the summer and has commited to a four-year deal at Craven Cottage. "I am delighted that Paul Konchesky has joined the influx of players that we have managed to bring to Fulham Football Club, " Sanchez said. "His calibre as a defender has been recognised on the international stage with England and he brings a wealth of Premiership experience to our side. At 26 Paul’s best footballing years will be spent at Craven Cottage and I am looking forward to him becoming an integral member of our side next season."

Konchesky began his career at Charlton Athletic, where he became the youngest first team player in their history aged 16 years and 93 days. He signed for West Ham in July 2005 and helped the side reach the FA Cup Final in his first season. It was also the year he won his only England cap to date. Following the arrival of Alan Curbishley as the new manager at Upton Park, however, Konchesky struggled to hold down a first team place. He made just four appearances between December and the end of the season. "When I knew that Fulham were interested in me I was really pleased," Konchesky said. "I then met with Lawrie and talked about his plans for the future here and I was really impressed with what he had to say; so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make the switch across London. Obviously the Club has made a few signings this window, so it’s a case of us all settling in and getting on with training, and I’m really looking forward to it."

Finally the Mirror claim Marlon Harewood will rush through his £3.7million move to Wigan today - in time to fly off with his new club to Holland. The paper states that Harewood's switch from West Ham was finally approved after lengthy haggling. The 27-year-old needs to agree terms and pass a medical to join the training camp.

1 comment:

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