Wright to explain attack on Pleat

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The Independent Online
The Football Association has confirmed it will ask Ian Wright, the Arsenal striker, for his comments after an extraordinary attack on the Sheffield Wednesday manager, David Pleat.

Wright reportedly branded Pleat a "pervert" after the Wednesday manager protested to the FA over two alleged incidents involving Wright in the recent Premiership game at Highbury, which the Gunners won 4-1.

Pleat called for an inquiry after Wright pulled the dreadlocks of Wednesday's Regi Blinker and allegedly stamped on the Yugoslav defender, Dejan Stefanovic. The FA said: "We are writing to Ian Wright asking for his observations on the reported comments."

Wright is quoted in a newspaper yesterday as saying: "He [David Pleat] can do what he likes. He can report me to the FA, but I just ask why is he doing it. But if I do have to appear at the FA, I'll have my say about David Pleat. He's a pervert - and you can print that."

Wright was referring to newspaper revelations nine years ago that Pleat was cautioned by police three times for kerb-crawling. The publicity forced him to resign as Tottenham manager. Pleat said yesterday: "Ian has been misled. His words aren't worthy of comment."

Joe Royle, the Everton manager, has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the FA, following comments he made to the referee David Elleray last weekend after the dismissal of Duncan Ferguson against Blackburn.

Fred Reacher, the chairman of Nottingham Forest, will step down if moves to take over the club go ahead. The Forest board has met to discuss approaches made from potential buyers, and Reacher said: "I would have no hesitation personally in stepping down if the right deal could be struck. I am looking for sufficient capital coming into the club for us to keep pace with the Manchester Uniteds and Liverpools of this world."

Tottenham have taken the Italian defender Luca Luzardi on a six-week trial from Brescia, but he is only allowed to play in friendly matches while Gerry Francis, the Spurs manager, decides whether to meet his pounds 600,000 valuation.

Mark Wright, Liverpool's centre-back visited a hospital yesterday and faces an operation on a fractured cheekbone suffered during Thursday's Cup Winners' Cup victory over My Pa-47.