Football: Anelka's apology over his PFA snub

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The Independent Online
NICOLAS ANELKA, the Arsenal striker, has issued a public apology to the Professional Footballers' Association for not appearing at its annual awards ceremony in London on Sunday.

The 20-year-old French international was voted Young Player of the Year by his fellow professionals - but the Arsenal captain, Tony Adams, had to accept the award on his behalf and Anelka was alleged later to have spent the evening instead at a nearby night-club.

Anelka said yesterday: "I would like to pass on my apologies to the PFA for not attending the ceremony on Sunday evening. Unfortunately, I was not aware of the full significance of this award and I am sorry for any misunderstanding, upset or ill-feeling it may have caused.

"It is a great honour for me to receive this highly regarded accolade and I would now like to take the opportunity to thank my fellow professionals for voting for me."

Peter Storrie's last act as West Ham's director of football will be to sell the club's Chilean misfit Javier Margas. Storrie, who is leaving the Hammers at the end of the season, is set to fly to Chile in a quest to off-load Margas to a South American club, with the Santiago side Colo Colo leading the chase.

The Chilean international defender was hailed as a major signing when he moved to Upton Park for pounds 2m from Universidad Catolica after last summer's World Cup - but the transfer turned sour when he went home to Chile for treatment to a knee injury and never returned. He started just three Premiership games for the Hammers, whose manager, Harry Redknapp, said: "It doesn't look like he is coming back and that is a shame. The culture is different here and that is the gamble you take."

Newcastle United were yesterday anxiously waiting the return of their defender Andy Griffin from Hungary. The 20-year-old was carried off on a stretcher after half an hour of the England Under-21 side's 2-2 friendly draw with Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday, after turning an ankle as he challenged for a high ball.

"At the moment, we are still waiting to find out exactly from the England camp what's happened to him," a Newcastle spokesman said. "We'll make a final assessment when he gets back." If the injury is serious, Griffin may miss next month's FA Cup final.

The Hull City manager, Warren Joyce, and his assistant, John McGovern, have been given three-year contracts at Boothferry Park. The pair have taken the Tigers to the brink of safety in the Third Division, after they were nine points adrift at the bottom of the League at the start of the year.

Dermot Desmond, the man who is set to become Celtic's biggest shareholder when Fergus McCann finally steps down as chairman in the summer, believes Celtic can become bigger than Manchester United. He has a clear vision of the Bhoys' future and believes the club need to harness the worldwide support they currently enjoy. He has been very much a background figure since ploughing pounds 4m of his estimated pounds 100m fortune into the club four years ago, but he is ready to step into the limelight, with Kenny Dalglish a key figure in his plans.

The former Liverpool manager has been linked with a new position as technical director and Desmond would welcome his involvement. "Kenny did not have to try and buy the club in order to have a role at Celtic," he said. "We have stated we want a technical director and that is the next step."

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