Wednesday, July 19, 2006

West Ham to Stand By Newton

Alan Pardew insists that West Ham United will stand by Shaun Newton as he serves a seven-month ban for failing a drugs test.

The Hammers boss says: "First of all, I would like to express my disappointment and sadness at the situation Shaun Newton finds himself in. He knows that he has let down his family, the Club, and of course, himself.

However, I can say now that, as a football club, we will stand by Shaun throughout this difficult time. West Ham United has always had a reputation as a family club and our belief here is that, when a member of your family is in trouble, you look after them.

Our instinct is to support Shaun and his young family, and give them all the help and encouragement we can. We will work with him to help him get through this period, and ensure that he comes through the other side.

Unfortunately, this whole episode puts a stain on our achievements as a team. Myself and my Sports Scientist, Niall Clark, feel very let down because we have always taken such care and concern with the health, condition and well-being of our players - insisting that they look after their bodies in the right way.

It infuriates me to hear of drug-use in any sport - there is absolutely no place for it. It is a belief I have always held, so for it to occur at West Ham United is something that hurts and saddens me. Although we will continue to help and support Shaun through this difficult time, we are also acutely aware of our responsibilities as a Club, and he will face internal disciplinary action when all of the information surrounding his situation is clarified.

However, I have seen at first hand the emotional and personal hell that Shaun Newton has been through in recent weeks, and our priority must be to help him - not abandon him. I hope his experience serves as a lesson to any sportsperson."

Newton, a father of three young children, says: "I have let down my family, my friends, the club and its supporters, and for that I am truly sorry.

It was an isolated incident but I must face up to my responsibilities. I in no way condone the taking of drugs and hope that my experience will act as a deterrent to others."


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