Football: Angry Lennon protests his innocence

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The Independent Online
NEIL LENNON yesterday protested his innocence after he and 26 other Leicester City players and staff were charged by the Football Association over the Worthington Cup final ticket affair.

Lennon was one of 14 players charged on Wednesday with failing to assist the FA's investigation, which was launched after March's final. The Leicester v Tottenham game was marred by violence when Spurs fans turned up in the Foxes' end. The FA inquiry revealed that blocks of tickets had ended up in the hands of Spurs supporters, and Tony Cottee and Andy Impey have been charged with misconduct. Lennon said yesterday, however, that he and the other players did co-operate with the FA and that the charges unwarranted.

"To say we have not helped with the investigation is rubbish," Lennon said. "The FA came to our ground and everybody spoke to the FA, while a representative from the PFA was there as well.

"All they did was give us some forms and we had to write out who we gave our tickets to. There was no deadline given and to charge 27 players and staff over the matter is an absolute farce." Leicester's chairman, John Elsom, admitted that the club failed to inform the players and coaching staff of the deadline.

Middlesbrough's bid to re-sign Juninho is likely to depend on the decision of an independent panel on whether or not to award him a work permit. The club's application is likely to be turned down because the midfielder has not been a regular international and they will have to rely on persuading an appeals panel that the player should be allowed special dispensation to return.

Brazil's national coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, has said he will be selecting Juninho in the coming months, which should aid Middlesbrough's application.

Leeds are to play the second leg of their Uefa Cup first-round tie with Partizan Belgrade at a neutral venue, because sanctions imposed against Yugoslavia during the recent crisis are still to be lifted.

The 37-year-old former England forward Mark Hateley has agreed a short- term deal with the Scottish Second Division club Ross Country.

Gordon Strachan and David Speedie had to be split up in a dressing room row after playing for a Scotland Old Boys team. Strachan was the player- manager of the Scottish Veterans six-a-side team and Speedie was unhappy with his treatment by the manager.

Speedie reacted angrily when Strachan tried to substitute him during a game. The pair had an argument in the dressing room after Scotland went out of the competition early, and team-mates had to separate them.

"Speedie wouldn't let it go and Strachan gave him some back," one witness said. "At least it was good to see the two of them still have some pride in themselves and playing for their country."

The Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, Colin Lee, is trying to sign the French centre-half, Ludovic Pollet, from Le Havre for pounds 400,000. Lee watched Pollet while he was on trial at Wigan and is trying to sign him as a replacement for Dean Richards.

Tony Grant left Everton for John Aldridge's Tranmere Rovers last night. Midfielder Grant joined Tranmere on loan in time to face Barnsley and also puts himself into the shop window.