O'Leary condemns disgraced players

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The Independent Online

The disgraced Leeds defender Jonathan Woodgate and his teammate Lee Bowyer "invited trouble" and damaged the reputation of their club, according to Leeds United's manager, David O'Leary.

He has reportedly told the pair to move to Leeds or face the sack, in a bid to curb their excessive lifestyles.

"Whatever the court decided, they were guilty in my eyes for failing to exercise control, lacking in responsibility, and for failing to behave as professional footballers should," he said.

"What did they think they were doing, boozed up and running through the streets? Was that not inviting trouble?"

The club has also been urged by Labour MP Derek Wyatt to show sensitivity to the "community of Leeds" by suspending Woodgate until he has served his 100 hours' community punishment for affray. He was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm to Asian student Sarfraz Najeib.

"Perhaps he ought not to be paid until he has completed that 100 hours and ought not to play either," said Mr Wyatt, a member of the Commons select committee on culture, media and sport.

Bowyer was cleared of all charges. However, the Najeib family is furious that only one person, Paul Clifford, was convicted of the "savage and racist attack". They are now considering suing Woodgate for damages.

Speaking on tonight's BBC Panorama programme, Najeib will say that he believes the attack was racially motivated: "I believe if I was a white guy they wouldn't have beat me up that severely."

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