Football: Hartson 'ashamed' of conduct

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JOHN HARTSON, the West Ham striker, yesterday spoke of his shame after kicking his team-mate Eyal Berkovic in the head in a training-ground incident captured on video.

The Welsh international has been fined two weeks' wages by the Hammers' manager, Harry Redknapp, for the attack which has been roundly condemned throughout the game.

Hartson said: "Yes, I was ashamed of what I did when I saw the pictures. I have to control my aggression. This is something I must do. But the worst thing was when people phoned up my girlfriend, who is six months pregnant, and asked her: 'What's it like living with a lunatic'.

"I have to live with it. I am sorting my fitness out and I want to get back to scoring goals," Hartson added. "I have had great support from the fans. Understandably some of them were not pleased - but I can take that."

Brian Laudrup has launched a scathing attack on the squad rotation system of his manager, Gianluca Vialli, which has left him playing only a bit part with Chelsea following his summer move from Rangers.

The 29-year-old striker admitted, in an interview with Danish newspaper, that he was having problems coming to terms with Vialli's system. "It's difficult not being a regular and I cannot accept Vialli's argument that the rotation system is to prevent players getting tired during a long season," Laudrup complained. "You are not tired in September. You don't get the best of me if I don't play regularly.

"No one drew my attention to this problem at Chelsea when I signed," the Dane added. "I was told there were several fringe players who don't always play. If I knew I was going to be one, I would have thought twice about signing."

Bryan Robson has signed a new five-year contract at Middlesbrough. The former England captain will now remain as manager at the Riverside stadium until 2003.

Robson said: "Everyone here wants to succeed. We have a fantastic stadium, a world-class training ground and a great squad of players."

The Rangers chairman, David Murray, yesterday dismissed as "absolute garbage" reports that the German midfielder Jorg Albertz could leave Ibrox over an alleged feud with his Dutch team-mate, Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Murray also revealed that the Italian midfielder, Rino Gattuso, is returning home to join the struggling Serie A side Salernitana for a fee of around pounds 3m.

Sheffield Wednesday's suspended Italian striker, Paolo Di Canio, will attend a Football Association disciplinary hearing in Sheffield on Friday, the FA announced yesterday.

Di Canio was suspended by his club after he shoved the referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being sent off during a Premiership fixture at home to Arsenal last month. The FA charged him with misconduct and gave him 14 days to respond. The Italian is likely to receive a lengthy ban at the hearing at Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United.

The French club, Metz, say they will proceed with signing Michele Padovano - even though an injury in training could put him out of action for the rest of the season.

The Italian striker agreed to move from Crystal Palace to Metz last week. But the former Juventus man injured his knee on Sunday during training with his prospective employers. The French First Division club's president, Carlo Molinari, said he did not know what would happen with Padovano's projected transfer, but the club felt morally bound to the Italian.

Chester City were given a stay of execution yesterday. The Third Division club are facing a winding-up order over debts of more than pounds 350,000 owed to the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise. But, at a hearing at the High Court in Manchester yesterday, proceedings against the club were adjourned for the application of an administration order.