Leeds chairman Silver retires

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The Independent Online
Football

RUPERT METCALF

The possible demise of Leeds United's manager has been distracting football's chattering classes for much of the season. Yesterday, however, it was not Howard Wilkinson who left Elland Road, but the Yorkshire club's chairman, Leslie Silver.

The 71-year-old Silver, after 14 years as chairman, retired from the Leeds board on medical grounds. The managing director, Bill Fotherby, has assumed temporary control. The announcement follows a run of poor results which has caused unrest among fans, but Silver insisted his decision was made purely for health reasons.

"I am leaving the board altogether because I have been advised by medical experts to slow down," Silver said. "I had a bit of a heart problem a year or so ago and when I had another check recently I was advised to take things easy." He will retain his majority shareholding in the club for the time being.

Down the road at Huddersfield Town, their 25-year-old striker Craig Whitington may be sacked after being found guilty of misconduct yesterday by the Association. He has been banned from all football activities until 1 November after being caught using cannabis twice within 10 months by the FA's anti-drugs unit.

The Huddersfield secretary, Alan Sykes, said: "We will issue a statement on Friday when the club has had time to consider the details and the judgment that has been passed."

Whitington claimed he had not knowingly taken the drug on either occasion. The first time, in March 1995, he believed he may have eaten cakes laced with cannabis at a party and then, in January this year, he claimed to have taken the drug unwittingly when smoking strangers' cigarettes at a New Year's Eve party. A Leyton Orient player, Roger Stanislaus, was sacked by his club earlier this season after testing positive for cocaine.

Bobby Gould, the Wales manager, left out four veterans - Neville Southall, Ian Rush, Mark Hughes and David Phillips - when he named his squad for the friendly in Switzerland on 24 April. Wrexham's Andy Marriott and Tranmere's Danny Coyne will contest Southall's goalkeeping jersey. Ryan Giggs has also been left out because of Manchester United's domestic commitments. Birmingham's Andy Legg and Watford's Robbie Page earn their first call- ups.

Northern Ireland, who face Sweden in Belfast on the same night, have rested their former captain, Alan McDonald of Queen's Park Rangers. The Republic of Ireland, who will name their squad tomorrow for the friendly in the Czech Republic in Prague on 24 April, will be obliged to recall the Celtic goalkeeper, Pat Bonner, after injuries to Alan Kelly, Shay Given and Keith Branagan.

International squads, Sporting Digest, page 27

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