Points not pints as Megson bans party

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The Independent Football

Booze and partying is not on the agenda at West Bromwich Albion this Christmas as the team's manager Gary Megson has imposed a strict ban.

Megson has stressed the need for a dry festive season to bolster the Baggies hopes of staying in the Premiership and his squad will not be holding their traditional Christmas party. Instead, jelly and ice cream will be on the menu at a party being thrown for the players' children.

Megson wants his players to be in shape for the demanding programme over the next fortnight, starting with tomorrow's derby at Aston Villa. "With four games in 10 days, you can't be going out on the lash and expect to perform well. Our supporters don't want to be in a pub at Christmas time and see players alongside them.

"I pulled Derek McInnes in as the captain and told him what I didn't want to happen this year. But the players had already decided that wasn't the right thing to do, so we are having a party for the kids with jelly and ice cream.

"Over Christmas there is a tradition and an excuse to go out and have a skinful. That's got to stop.

"Football has changed dramatically with the wages players now earn. They have got to perform differently to the players of seven or eight years ago."