Football: Elliott 'devastated' by knee diagnosis: Chelsea's popular defender bows out of the professional game

PAUL ELLIOTT'S career is over. While his Chelsea colleagues prepare themselves for Wembley on Saturday, the 30-year-old centre-half has learned that the knee he damaged in a tackle involving Dean Saunders will never properly recover. Elliott's case against Saunders will be heard in the High Court on 23 May.

Since the Saunders incident in September 1992, Elliott has undergone three operations on his cruciate and lateral ligaments. 'In the last couple of months I had worked very hard but the knee was unable to function as I wanted it to. I didn't have the same range of movement or stability,' Elliott, now a respected television and radio commentator, said. 'When the consultant confirmed I would be unable to play any more I was devastated.'

Elliott will be present at the FA Cup final, supporting team-mates up against a full-strength Manchester United. Paul Parker and Peter Schmeichel, Alex Ferguson's only doubts, will both be ready. Ferguson has released Les Sealey and Michael Phelan, and added yesterday that Ryan Giggs will have his tonsils removed in the summer.

John McStay, the Raith defender allegedly head-butted by Rangers' Duncan Ferguson, failed to appear yesterday at the Scottish FA's hearing, which will now take place on Thursday. The SFA may now contemplate action, possibly suspensions, against McStay and Raith.

Barry Fry, the Birmingham City manager, last night transfer-listed 12 players after the club's fall from the First Division. They include Chris Whyte, Danny Wallace, Carl Shutt and George Parris.

Peterborough United, relegated alongside Birmingham, yesterday installed Dagenham and Redbridge's John Still as manager. Graham Roberts, the former England defender, has left non-League Enfield by mutual consent. Roberts' assistant, George Borg, will take over as caretaker manager.

The Endsleigh League continues to grow, Lytham St Annes releasing figures yesterday showing an aggregate total of 11,038,830 for all three divisions this season - the eighth successive annual increase.

Gordon Taylor is the new president of the International Federation of Professional Footballers' Associations.

The QPR manager, Gerry Francis, has been watching Notts County's pounds 1m-rated midfielder Mark Draper.

American pie in the sky, Merry-go-round, page 38

----------------------------------------------------------------- FOOTBALL LEAGUE ATTENDANCES ----------------------------------------------------------------- Season Aggregate Games Average +/-% First Division 92-93 5,874,017 552 10,641 93-94 6,487,104 552 11,752 +10.4% Second Division 92-93 3,483,073 552 6,310 Third Division 92-93 1,540,428 462 3,334 93-94 1,579,024 462 3,418 +2.5% TOTAL 92-93 10,897,518 1,566 6,959 93-94 11,038,830 1,566 7,049 +1.3% -----------------------------------------------------------------

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