Disgraced King plans to join new club

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The Independent Online

Disgraced footballer Marlon King will be signed by another club when his jail sentence is finished, his agent insisted today.

The player was told he would be sacked by Wigan yesterday after being jailed for 18 months for breaking a woman's nose and sexual assault.

His agent Tony Finnigan said that prison would change the striker and that he had career prospects on release.

Finnigan told Sky News: "I don't want to name names but there are lots of players in this country who have fallen short of the law, done the crime, done the time, come out, and I'm sure if you're sitting in a six by six you do have time to reflect on the change you make as a person in your life.

"Forget about playing football here, just as a human being you're going to be different.

"He still will be a good goalscorer and I'm sure someone will want his signature to play football and do the job that he's best at."

King intends to appeal against the length of his jail sentence as well as his dismissal, Mr Finnigan said.

The 29-year-old - who has 13 previous convictions including one for violence against women - was told he would be sacked within an hour of being found guilty of the outburst of "completely gratuitous violence" in a West End nightclub.

London's Southwark Crown Court heard the father of three, who had downed several drinks celebrating his wife's pregnancy and scoring a winning goal earlier, launched the "unprovoked" attack on the 20-year-old after groping her bottom and repeatedly being "cold-shouldered" by women in the packed Soho Revue Bar.

When the "slightly built" university student "recoiled" from his touch, striker King lost his temper and smashed her to the floor.

Two other revellers - one actually holding his arm - were also sent flying.

Mr Finnigan accused Wigan chairman Dave Whelan of playing "white knight" in sacking King.

"He was playing white knight in my opinion yesterday to say 'right we don't want that here'," Finnigan said. "You can't just dismiss an employee and think you can dismiss him publicly like that, the union get in on it."

The agent said the Professional Footballers' Association would now have to get involved to "find out the facts".

King, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire will lose more than £1million following the termination of his £35,000-a-week contract.

Mr Whelan said: "We have to follow the rules and regulations, which means we will have to give him 40 days' notice that his contract will be cancelled.

"He is absolutely sacked - we will not tolerate football players who get sent to jail for 18 months. As far as we are concerned, he is finished with football at Wigan Athletic."

Whelan added: "It will be very, very difficult for any club to stick their neck out and take Marlon on. I cannot really see him coming back as a professional."

King served five months behind bars in 2002 after being caught at the wheel of a stolen £30,000 BMW, while he has found himself in the dock on seven previous occasions for dishonesty, motoring offences and violence against women.

The player, branded "arrogant" by Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith, was told that in addition to jail he would have to register as a sex offender for seven years, pay £3,125 compensation to his victim and £1,800 prosecution costs.

He was on loan at Premier League rivals Hull City at the time of the attack. He returned to Wigan in the summer and has made three appearances for the club in the league this season.

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