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FOOTBALL: BATES: STOP SHOOTING YOUR MOUTH OFF; Chelsea chief slams Gregory.

CHELSEA chairman Ken Bates has launched an astonishing attack on Aston Villa boss John Gregory and his True Brit squad.

The controversial Stamford Bridge supremo was infuriated by the early-season triumphalism of the Villa Park manager over the Premiership success of his predominantly English squad. Gregory even claimed that his side's Englishness was a major reason for their success.

Bates took offence to this, believing it to be some sort of slur on his expensively assembled, multi-national side.

But having watched Villa's season collapse completely as his own team made it into the Champions League, Bates says he hopes the final table will teach Gregory to keep his mouth shut in future.

"I think it is very important that when you are top of the league you don't go around shouting your mouth off," he said.

"Look at Villa. When for two months they were on top, every day John Gregory was banging on about this, that and English players.

"They haven't even qualified for Europe, so it really pays to keep your mouth shut when you are on top and let your team do the talking."

But Bates's blast was not confined to those who ply their trade outside Stamford Bridge.

He also turned on his own side's defence - especially Frenchman Frank Leboeuf - and warned them not to continue making the silly mistakes that he believes cost Chelsea league glory this season.

"We should be proud of the progress we made, but that is tempered by disappoint-ment because we didn't fulfil our potential," he said.

"You look at all the stupid goals we gave away this season, such as Frank Leboeuf's silly pass that cost us a goal at Tottenham."

DENMARK'S Under-21 keeper Jimmy Nielsen is being chased by Aston Villa and Newcastle.

And last night, the Aalborg star - already nicknamed "the new Peter Schmeichel" - revealed he wants to come to England.

Nielsen could be sold for around pounds 750,000 as soon as title-chasing Aalborg complete their league fixtures.

Villa need a replacement for Mark Bosnich, who has gone to Manchester United, while Newcastle boss Ruud Gullit wants to find a permanent number one after losing faith in Republic of Ireland international Shay Given.

Nielsen, 21, said: "I would like to play in the Premiership - nothing would suit me better."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:McGUINNESS, MARK
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 11, 1999
Words:382
Previous Article:Des Kelly's Column: The jalopy with too many foreign parts.
Next Article:Football: Sweet and sour Ken.


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