Gold calls for tougher punishments

Last updated : 17 January 2002 By Brian Cartlidge

Blues chairman David Gold
At a time when football is coming under the spotlight for players' bad behaviour, Gold said: "We have reached a point where there are absolutely no deterrents - we are running football by the laws of the jungle.

"It is time for strong and immediate action unless the game is to descend into a pit where only a few lunatics are watching.

"The truth is to fine players a couple of weeks wages is no punishment at all because they are earning far too much for it to affect them.

"If we were to dock clubs a point after players had been fined, certain individuals would not get a sickening hero's welcome back."

Gold went on to issue a stark warning to Blues players that misbehaviour in public will not be tolerated by the club.

Woodhouse in court
Speaking in the wake of Curtis Woodhouse's committal to Cardiff Crown Court next month to face a charge of affray, Gold said that he had sympathy for the modern-day footballer having to live life under a microscope, but that did not excuse improper conduct.

"With regard to Curtis, we don't know the full details yet so I cannot really comment about what happened," he said.

"But, generally speaking, I have to say that players do have a responsibility to the fans, the manager, their team-mates and the board of directors of a club.

"I accept that sometimes players nowadays are unfortunate in that they get picked on because they are stars and celebrities, and therein lies a difficulty.

"Yet they have to be able to walk away from potential trouble and conduct themselves in dignity when in public.

"Footballers have a wonderful life, one that those Sunday morning players you see rain and shine would give their right arms for.

"We as a club, and myself as chairman, will not tolerate any sort of behaviour that brings Birmingham City into disrepute. That much is simple."