Sinclair's success soured by shame
Saturday 06 March 2004
Of all the members of Micky Adams' squad, none has had such an outwardly successful career as Frank Sinclair.
The 32-year-old has played in four major cup finals and a World Cup. If the 1994 experience for Chelsea was soured when he was completely unable to halt the charge of Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona, it was sweetened by what followed.
Three years later, under Ruud Gullit, Sinclair won the FA Cup against Middlesbrough and then overcame Bryan Robson's side a second time at Wembley in the 1998 League Cup final, a game in which he scored. Following his move to Filbert Street, Sinclair was part of Martin O'Neill's squad that lifted the same trophy two years later.
He was also a member of the 1998 Jamaican World Cup squad. Sinclair acquitted himself well, playing in all three games and like the "Reggae Boyz" generally, he was only once exposed as being less than international class, in the 5-0 drubbing by Argentina in Paris.
Nevertheless, Sinclair, who was Leicester's record signing when O'Neill paid £2.5m for him six years ago and who has made 400 appearances in various shades of blue, may well be remembered as much for his errors as his triumphs. His attempt to shepherd the ball back to the goalkeeper, Ian Walker, during Leicester's FA Cup defeat by Manchester City took no account of Nicolas Anelka's pace and led to the decisive goal. At Middlesbrough in March 2002, he was responsible for one of the most spectacular own-goals in English football history, beating Walker from near his own halfway line.
Sinclair is out of contract in the summer and although he professes to be keen to fight for a new deal, it is unlikely to have been aided by his behaviour in Spain and it should be recalled that this is not the first time Sinclair has run into a wave of evil publicity.
In September 2001, when Chelsea's Uefa Cup fixture with Levski Sofia was postponed in the wake of the attack on the Twin Towers, Sinclair joined his former team-mates, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jody Morris and John Terry, in a public drinking binge at the Heathrow Posthouse.
In front of stranded American tourists, unable to return to New York, the four were accused by staff of stripping, making obscene gestures and indecent exposure. All were fined two weeks' wages by their clubs and Sinclair made a grovelling public apology but only after being named and shamed by the tabloid press.
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