Thursday, July 20, 2006


Newton suspended

Shaun Newton has been suspended until Christmas after testing positive for cocaine after the FA Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough.

Alan Pardew is understandably livid about this breach of his trust. "It infuriates me to hear of drug-use in any sport - there is absolutely no place for it," he said. "It is a belief I have always held, so for it to occur at West Ham United is something that hurts and saddens me. Myself and my sports scientists, Niall Clarke, feel very let down. Although we will continue to help and support Shaun through this difficult time we are also acutely aware of our responsibilities as a club and he will face internal disciplinary action."

However, the West Ham boss will not be following previous examples such as those of Mutu and Bosnich, who had their contracts cancelled by their clubs. Newton will see out his one-year contract and the club will help him through this difficult time.

Pardew said, "I can say now that, as a football club, we will stand by Shaun throughout this difficult time. West Ham United has always had a reputation as a family club and our belief here is that when a member of your family is in trouble you look after them. Our instinct is to support Shaun and his young family and give them all the help and encouragement we can. We will work with him to help him get through this period, and ensure that he comes through the other side. I have seen at first hand the emotional and personal hell that Shaun Newton has been through in recent weeks, and our priority must be to help him - not abandon him. I hope his experience serves as a lesson to any sportsperson."

Newton, who has an otherwise excellent disciplinary record, has put forth a public apology. "I have let down my family, my friends, the club and its supporters - and for that I am truly sorry," said the winger. "It was an isolated incident but I must face up to my responsibilities. I in no way condone the taking of drugs and hope that my experience will act as a deterrent to others."

Newton will be available for the Premiership game against Fulham on December 23 after the FA back-dated his seven-month ban to May 20.

<< Blog main page