Everton to sue unless Mourinho apologises
Tuesday 19 December 2006
Everton have resolved to pursue Jose Mourinho with the same tenacity that has enabled Chelsea to reel in Manchester United and will take legal action against the Portuguese manager unless he retracts allegations that Andrew Johnson dived during the champions' stunning late victory at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The club released a statement yesterday in conjunction with the England striker's agent, Anthony McFarlane, which urged Mourinho to apologise for accusing Johnson of cheating and for the football authorities to study those comments with a view to disciplinary action. A formal complaint is to be lodged with the Football Association today. The depth of Everton's anger is such, however, that unless a public retraction is forthcoming they are prepared to sue for defamation.
Mourinho erupted furiously when the £8.6m forward leapt over Chelsea goalkeeper Henrique Hilario in the 16th minute at Goodison Park having been pushed in the back by Khalid Boulahrouz. Though he chose his words carefully in a post-match press conference with the written media - insisting Johnson "is a dangerous opponent because you cannot trust him" and "in my country he would be called an intelligent player" - Mourinho told television the 25-year-old had dived and Everton, having sought legal advice ahead of the statement's release, believe there is sufficient evidence to pursue their grievance.
Everton are determined to act on the grounds that Mourinho's allegation could damage the value of their asset, that he was offensive and may effect the player's mental state. There is little doubt that Johnson's form has suffered since the inquest into his balance began and it is now 11 games since the former Crystal Palace striker scored.
"It's probably the reason Andy isn't getting penalties now," Phil Neville said yesterday. "He was pushed over against Chelsea, he was pushed over at Fulham, at Blackburn, against Arsenal here in the Carling Cup. Maybe he [Mourinho] should have a look at the incident on video, then have a look at himself in the mirror."
Everton have also been prompted to act by what they perceive as the hypocrisy in Mourinho's condemnation of Johnson. Only nine weeks ago, Mourinho vented his spleen at Steve Hunt of Reading for not pulling out of a challenge with Petr Cech, a collision that left his first-choice 'keeper with a fractured skull, yet wanted Johnson booked for taking evasive action against Hilario.
"In my eyes the referee gave what he saw," said Moyes, who shared Mark Halsey's opinion that it was not a penalty. "It shows that even such a good coach as Jose Mourinho gets it wrong and doesn't choose the right words at the right moment."
Latest in Sport
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Christian blogger says she will not wear leggings in public because they entice men and cause them to look at her 'lustfully'
- 4 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 5 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes