Football: Wilson defends chairman over Carbone comments

THE SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY chairman, Dave Richards, yesterday remained defiant despite veiled accusations of racism over the Benito Carbone and Paolo Di Canio affair.

Richards sparked off a fierce argument earlier this week when he accused the two Italians of "killing the club and killing the game" as he looked for answers to Wednesday's poor start to the season.

The Owls' chairman made his comments while defending his manager Danny Wilson after Sunday's humiliating 8-0 Premiership rout at Newcastle which left Wednesday at the foot of the league with one point from eight matches.

Richards, whether it was planned or not, has deflected the attention away from Wilson and onto himself, coming under fire from the representatives of Carbone and Di Canio. Both were scathing of Richards' comments, with an angry Giovanni Branchini, who acts on behalf of Carbone, believing his player was being made a scapegoat for Wednesday's plight. Branchini even went so far as to add: "I hope his [Richards] attitude has nothing to do with xenophobia or, even worse, racism" while Di Canio's spokesman Moreno Roggi described Richards' actions as a "despicable manhunt".

Richards, not unduly surprised by the comments from the players' agents, remains convinced the club have had a raw deal with regards to Di Canio and Carbone. "Sheffield Wednesday did everything in their power to keep things right," he added.

Wilson, meanwhile, is now standing by Richards as he returns the compliment from earlier this week, believing the acting Premier League chairman was right to speak out.

Wilson, who has been told by Richards that his job is not under threat despite the results, believes the players should follow the example set by the Wednesday chairman.

"He has stood up to be counted," stated Wilson. "That's brilliant and it's what we want at a time like this because you want to know who is going to keep his chin up. No matter what anyone says, I think the chairman has been brave and has been a leader for us. I admire that because lesser men could have taken an easier option.

"I hope the players show as much bravery and resolve over the next few months. That's what we are going to need to pull us through this and I believe we will get through it because there are a hell of a lot of points to play for."

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