West Ham to stand by Newton after ban for drug use

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The Independent Online

Shaun Newton, the West Ham United midfielder, has been banned from football for seven months after testing positive for cocaine after the club's FA Cup semi-final with Middlesbrough last season. However, although the West Ham manager, Alan Pardew, said he was "infuriated" that his club's reputation had been tarnished he said that Newton would not be sacked.

"Our instinct is to support Shaun and his young family and give them all the help we can," Pardew said. "We will work with him to help him get through this. I have seen at first hand the emotional and personal hell that Shaun has been through in recent weeks, and our priority is to help him - not abandon him."

Newton will face internal disciplinary action and did not set off yesterday with the rest of the first-team squad for their pre-season tour to Sweden. The 30-year-old tested positive after the game on 23 April and was suspended by West Ham on 20 May. He will be available for the League game against Fulham on 23 December after the Football Association agreed to backdate his ban to May. He can continue to train.

Newton, a father of three, said: "It was an isolated incident but I must face up to my responsibilities." He described himself as a "personal friend" of Pardew, which made the incident all the more upsetting, after the two played together at Charlton Athletic.

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