Club takes priority over country for Curbishley

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The Independent Online

Alan Curbishley has moved to reassure Charlton fans that he remains "totally committed" to the club despite having been photographed in talks with the FA chief executive, Brian Barwick, about becoming the new England manager.

"Last week was an eye-opener for everybody," Curbishley said yesterday, "and the club stated that if I wanted to talk to the FA they would allow me to do that - and that is in my contract. Nothing untoward went on last week - but the fans are looking at it and thinking 'what is going on?'

"It is a difficult time for everybody and that is why it would have been nice if it had been kept quiet as I don't see the other people who have been interviewed going through the same as I am at the moment.

"I want to stress I am totally committed to the club," he added. "When I first heard about the story I was on my way home from France, where I had been watching a game with our chief scout. I was looking at a player for next year. So if any of the fans think I am not committed the message is that I am totally committed."

Curbishley was at pains to stress everything had been conducted by the book, even though it has not been meant for public consumption. "I knew I had not done anything wrong," he said, "but it had been portrayed as though it was a bit secretive, cloak and dagger and 'skullduggerous' - and it was not that at all.

He also revealed he had held a special meeting with his players ahead of Sunday's 2-1 win over Middlesbrough to prevent the speculation affecting them. "I knew unless I said something it would not be put to bed," Curbishley said.

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