Day of disgrace for football heroes

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The Independent Online
The reputation of British football was further tarnished yesterday when the Manchester United star Eric Cantona was charged with assaulting a fan and George Graham, the Arsenal manager, was sacked after an investigation into financial irregularities.

Cantona was charged at South Norwood with common assault on Matthew Simmons on 25 January and was bailed to appear before Croydon magistrates on 23 March. It follows an incident involving a spectator during a match at Crystal Palace after he was sent off.

The Frenchman, suspended by his club for the rest of the season and fined £20,000 over the incident seen by millions on television, faces a maximum of six months' imprisonment and a £5,000 fine if convicted. He is due to appear before a disciplinary committee of the Football Association on Friday.

George Graham said he would contest his dismissal, which was announced yesterday after Arsenal were told of the findings of a Premier League inquiry into irregular payments in transfer deals. Graham, who guided Arsenal to the championship twice in his nine-year reign, claimed the allegations were "nonsense". Arsenal said he had not "acted in the best interests of the club". The Premier League is due to report its findings later this week.

The Graham years, page 38

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