Football: Ince in trouble over comments

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The Independent Online
THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION is to write to Paul Ince regarding yesterday's newspaper attack on his former employers at Anfield.

Ince, who said he wanted to hit the Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier, after he was told he was not wanted, said in a Sunday paper that he wanted Houllier and his assistant, Phil Thompson, to be sacked for the way they had treated him before his move to Middlesbrough. "They are two-faced and treat people like dirt," Ince said.

The League Managers' Association chief executive, John Barnwell, believes one of his members would have been charged with disrepute had they made the comments attributed to Ince.

"If it was a manager saying those things, he'd be brought up for bringing the game into disrepute," Barnwell said. "It isn't for us to judge it and I'm sure Gerard will put it in the bracket which it deserves to be in, which is in the bin. It isn't worth responding to.

An FA spokesman, Steve Double, said: "Graham Bean, the FA's compliance officer, will be writing to Paul to get his observations."

Meanwhile Houllier's injured England striker Michael Owen will miss the start of the Premiership season on Saturday. "Michael is training hard and running well but the season has come too early for him," Houllier said. "He will not be involved on Saturday and realistically it will be at least another couple of weeks before he is."

Dundee United have denied allegations that the Dundee chairman, Jimmy Marr, was refused entry to Saturday's Tayside derby at Tannadice Park.

Marr watched the 2-1 defeat from the stands alongside the Dundee fans after he was told to wait outside the VIP entrance to the ground. "I have never been treated so badly in all my life," he said afterwards.

Marr said that United did not offer him the courtesy of a seat in the directors' box at Tannadice. United in turn claim that Marr walked away from the entrance less than a minute after being told a club official was on his way to escort his party to the Tannadice boardroom.

"At no time were Mr Marr and his party refused entry, turned away or directed to a turnstile by any member of the Dundee United staff," a statement from the Tannadice club read.