Robson blasts Whites

Saturday 3 November 2001

Bobby Robson has rapped his former club Fulham for refusing to switch Newcastle's game at Craven Cottage in two weeks time.

Newcastle say they wrote to the Premier League and asked for the game on November 17th to be put back 24 hours because they have keeper Shay Given and defender Andy O'Brien playing in a World Cup qualifier in Iran on the Thursday.

With Fulham also having Steve Finnan with the Irish squad, Newcastle thought that it would be a formality for them to put the game back, as North East rivals Sunderland have done with their match against Leeds at the Stadium of Light.

But after writing to the Premier League over the weekend of the Spurs game, United did not receive a reply until Wednesday afternoon and were told that the original date will stand.

Robson, a former player and manager with Fulham, said on Friday: "I am sorry they have not played ball with us. Fulham don't want to shift the game and it stays on the Saturday."

United's chief operations officer Russell Cushing added: "It seems very unfair that following a strenuous fixture and a lengthy flight two key players will have to play a Premier League match less than 48 hours later.

"We made representation to the secretary and then the board of the FA Premier League to request this fixture be moved back 24 hours or postponed but our appeals have been rejected.

"We are extremely disappointed that the FA Premier League have failed to appreciate our position and are forcing us to play on the Saturday while giving permission for another fixture to be postponed, albeit in different circumstances."