Belfast Telegraph

Ridiculously stupid: Jonny Evans and co slammed by West Brom legend after taxi debacle

Club probe: West Brom’s Northern Ireland ace Jonny Evans
Club probe: West Brom’s Northern Ireland ace Jonny Evans
Alan Pardew

By Sean Taylor

West Brom's Gareth Barry, Jonny Evans, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill have been labelled "ridiculously stupid" by the club's celebrated former captain John Wile.

The quartet have apologised in the wake of allegations they stole a taxi during the club's training camp in Barcelona.

The incident is being investigated by the club, who remain bottom of the Premier League.

Barry and Evans started Saturday's FA Cup defeat by Southampton and Myhill was among the substitutes, a situation Wile believes indicates the club are not in a position to strongly punish them.

"It goes from bad to worse," Wile (70) said. "To take advantage of going away, you'd hope everyone would treat it as it should be and lift the pressure a little bit.

"To do what they have done, knowing they were out beyond the curfew and then to do something ridiculously stupid like take a taxi, beggars belief.

"It's a total disrespect for the people who are employing them and for the people who support them every week. These guys are revered by thousands of people, they should set an example.

"We're told now that the modern game is so professional, they're athletes, they're looked after. This tells you an awful lot that's not happening.

"There's always a danger (on club trips). I'd be a hypocrite if I was to say it never happened on trips that I was away with, although I can't remember anything as silly as this one."

The majority of Wile's 500 appearances for West Brom came during the 1970s in which players had far less power and, having also served the club as caretaker manager and chief executive, he recognises the difficult position they are in.

"They don't have the luxury of saying we can do without these players because they don't have enough good players," he added.

"Even if they do fine the players, unfortunately it doesn't mean a lot today. Managers and clubs in general are in a difficult position with players. The power has shifted dramatically to players and agents.

"It must be a very, very difficult job to control if they behave in such a way as they have. The only conclusion you can draw is that things aren't right."

Boss Pardew, meanwhile, knows West Brom must discover some momentum if they are to have any chance of remaining in the Premier League.

"We can only salvage it by getting some momentum. We had a little bit of momentum when we went to Liverpool and got that result. Unfortunately we suffered four injuries that week," said Pardew.

"We've got to stay injury free, we've got to try and get a win against Huddersfield and take that momentum into the next few games.

"I thought there were some good things to take from the (FA Cup) game. I think anybody who was there will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort. We need to take that into the next game."

Southampton are also in the Premier League relegation zone, six points in front of West Brom, but unlike their rivals do seem to have some momentum.

Saturday's 2-1 success means Saints have lost only one of their last eight games in all competitions, winning half of them, and manager Mauricio Pellegrino thinks it could be significant.

"It is important to build a run, it helps everyone to increase our confidence and spirit when we are in a difficult situation," he said.

"We have many important games but this allows us to take more into the next match."


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