Football: Bilic blasts Everton's broken promises

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The Independent Online
THE Everton chairman, Peter Johnson, was accused of breaking promises on major signings last night - by one of his own players.

The unhappy Slaven Bilic, bought for pounds 4.5m from West Ham, claimed he was told he would be part of a pounds 15m revolution at the club. Now, though, the Croatian international defender has hit out at Johnson for going back on a plan to buy two Italian players, Dino Baggio and Pierluigi Casiraghi.

Bilic said: "I was made promises before I signed, I was told so many things, but I could see straight away it was not like that. I was told by Joe Royle that he was going to buy me, Baggio and Casiraghi. He told me he wanted me to be his leader of the field.

"I could have pulled out of the deal when Joe was sacked," Bilic added, "but the chairman spoke to me and said that even though he [Royle] had gone it was the same story."

Bilic thinks that the failure to close the deals for the Parma midfielder Baggio and the Lazio striker Casiraghi was one of the main reasons the club slumped. He said: "Missing out on those players was not the only reason for our disappointing season, but maybe with Baggio and Casiraghi we could have been fighting for the championship."

Bilic also attacks the club for selling some of their best players during the season and not replacing them with suitable talent. "We had to do without Gary Speed, Andy Hinchcliffe and Graham Stuart. It's hard to lose that quality from the team," he said. "Why sell the best players from positions we are already short in?

"It was unbelievable that we did not sign somebody before the transfer deadline. We didn't even make the effort to show people we were trying." Bilic always seemed likely to be on his way this summer, and Howard Kendall left him out of Everton's last game against Coventry. His words may now have guaranteed his exit.

Newcastle's David Batty faces a possible Football Association misconduct charge, and a possible six-game ban for the start of next season.

Batty is in trouble for apparently pushing the referee, David Elleray, after he was sent off at his former club, Blackburn, on Sunday. Referees are under strict orders to stamp down on players man-handling them, with Arsenal's Emmanuel Petit and West Ham's Steve Lomas singled out this season. Both were given fines and lengthened suspensions.

As Batty's third red card of the season was for violent conduct, that already guarantees him a five-match ban for the opening weeks of next season.

Liverpool's United States international goalkeeper, Brad Friedel, hopes to learn this week if the Government will renew his work permit, allowing him to stay at Anfield.

Friedel has failed to play in 75 per cent of Liverpool's matches - the Government requirement for a permit renewal - since signing from Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew for pounds 1m last December. He is hoping for leniency because the lengthy delay in granting his original work permit meant his acclimatisation in the English game took longer than anticipated.

Friedel's Liverpool colleague, the England midfielder Jamie Redknapp, signed a new five-year contract to stay at Anfield yesterday.

Georgi Kinkladze's pounds 5m transfer from Manchester City to Ajax appears to be on the brink of completion - the Georgian international has already appeared on Dutch television wearing an Ajax shirt and drinking champagne with the directors of the Dutch champions.

Jonathan Hayward has resigned as deputy chairman of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Hayward, Wolves' chairman for five years until 1997, has also given up his seat on the board.