Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Banned Anelka 'won't be missed'

Nicolas Anelka may have played his last game for West Brom
Nicolas Anelka may have played his last game for West Brom

Nicolas Anelka "will not be missed" if he does not play for West Brom again, according to the Baggies' official supporters club.

The Football Association banned Anelka for five matches on Thursday and fined him £80,000 for his controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration.

The FA found Anelka guilty of an "aggravated breach" of anti-discrimination rules by performing the gesture following the first of two goals in West Brom's 3-3 draw against West Ham in December.

The commission ruled that Anelka was not an anti-Semite, but Alan Cleverley, secretary of the official West Brom supporters' club, thinks the punishment was just and he believes the striker has played his last game for the Baggies.

"I would be very surprised if he played again," Cleverley said.

"There are 11 games to go and he will miss a minimum of five so it would be a surprise. I think he got what he deserved."

West Brom suspended Anelka following the FA's ruling, and launched their own investigation into the matter.

It is understood that hearings will take place over the next few days to decide whether the club will take any further action against the 34-year-old. Any proposed action will only come into place once the FA's case is closed, however.

Anelka will have seven days to decide whether to appeal once he receives the full written reasons behind the decision from the FA.

It appears that few tears would be shed among the Albion faithful if Anelka did not turn out in a Baggies shirt again.

"He wouldn't be missed," Cleverley added.

"It might be for the best if he didn't play again. It has caused the club a few problems.

"I am quite happy if he doesn't play again and most fans think the same. Let's move on."

Cleverley believes the player would not have the stomach to help Albion escape their current relegation worries if he returned.

"Most supporters think he would not be up to the battle," Cleverley said.

"He has not shown that much this season in the games that he has played. He has only scored two goals and both of those came in (the West Ham) match.

"You would hardly call him a raving success. It was interesting to watch him play sometimes, but in a relegation battle you have to dig in deep, get stuck in and I am not sure he is the right player for that."

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