Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

FormerToon Boss Denies Dropping Player at Tribunal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

FormerToon Boss Denies Dropping Player at Tribunal

Article excerpt

Byline: Keiran Southern Reporter keiran.southern@trinitymirror.com

FORMER Newcastle United boss John Carver admitted the decision to allow Jonas Gutierrez to leave the club "tugged on the heartstrings" - but insisted there was no interference from the board.

Gutierrez alleges the club's hierarchy influenced team selection to ensure he did not trigger a clause in his contract entitling him to an extra year. But Carver - interim head coach at the time - told an employment tribunal he had never been pressurised to drop the player from the starting line-up.

The player's agent, Pedro Jimenez, also revealed Newcastle were desperate to see the player leave and even said he could move to rivals Sunderland.

Gutierrez, who spent seven seasons on Tyneside after joining the club in 2008, was diagnosed with cancer and had an operation to remove a tumour in his left testicle in October 2013.

The 32-year-old is now taking his former club to a tribunal claiming disability discrimination.

Gutierrez, who earned around PS40,000 a week during his time at St James' Park, is reported to be seeking a payment of around PS2m after missing out on an "automatic" 12-month extension to a four-year contract, which would have kicked in if he had started 80 games between 2011 and 2015.

Carver told the employment panel Newcastle United's managing director Lee Charnley had made him aware of a clause in Gutierrez's contract but no conversation had taken place where the board asked him not to pick the player.

He said: "I was given complete freedom. I am not anybody's puppet, I wanted this job and was going to do it my way."

In a witness statement, he added: "My opinion was that Jonas should not be offered a new contract, as there were better players available to take the club forward.

"This was a view I had consistently held for a number of years, including when I was working alongside Alan [Pardew] before being appointed interim head coach prior to Jonas' first cancer diagnosis.

"The board played no role whatsoever in my decisions regarding first team selection.

"All selection decisions were taken independently by me with the support and input of my coaching staff. …

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