Micah Richards 'assault' compounds Man City woes

05 February 2009 09:46
In the space of two weeks he has seen British record signing Robinho being arrested and questioned over an alleged sexual assault, another player being blackmailed over a missing iPod and now it has emerged Micah Richards has also been quizzed by police over an alleged nightclub assault.

Richards, 20, attended a police station by appointment on Wednesday over the alleged assault of a man, believed to be 18, outside a nightclub in Hale, Cheshire, on Christmas Eve. He was not charged with any offence and was released on bail until April 8, pending further investigation. City sources say he vigorously denies any involvement.

Hughes said: "We are very supportive of Micah. He went to the police station in a pre-arranged appointment. It is an ongoing situation and we are aware of that, but he is absolutely in my plans to play on Saturday. He is absolutely in the right frame of mind."

It is the same attitude as Hughes has taken with Robinho, both after his allegedly unauthorised trip back to Brazil and his arrest, while the club have denied the blackmail case involved any sensitive material.

It is hard not to feel sorry for the former Blackburn manager. Cast into the swirling vortex that City have become from the tranquil backwaters of Ewood Park, Hughes is desperately trying to keep the club on an even keel, but events simply conspire against him.

City have come down hard in recent weeks on any suggestions that Hughes's authority is not absolute, but indiscipline seems to stalk the corridors. Robinho faces a fine but he still defied the club to fly back to Brazil, and that was after taking two team-mates on a night out in Leeds, regardless of what happened. Richards denies he has put on weight and is out of shape, but his arrest at least proves he was in a nightclub 48 hours before a game.

Occasionally Hughes must question the efficacy of the laissez-faire, arm-round-the-shoulder technique and be tempted just to lock his players up in a hotel for four nights a week, as is the custom in several European countries.

Certainly, few managers will ever have had to run such a gauntlet of controversies and scandals before anyone even mentions the word football. Sadly, there is no respite there for the beleaguered Hughes as that's not going swimmingly either.

Hughes is likely to be without winger Shaun Wright-Phillips for his next three games as he looks to gel new signings Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong, Wayne Bridge and Shay Given into his side. Wright-Phillips is facing a three-game ban for lashing out at Rory Delap at the Britannia Stadium and Manchester City's hopes rest on a technical appeal.

The FA are supposed to inform clubs of retrospective action within 48 hours of a game ending. City were not told until Wednesday of Wright-Phillips's charge, giving the club room to try to reverse the decision. The FA are likely to blame the snow on the delay in informing the club.

Hughes said: "The punishment for Shaun does not fit the crime, in our view. To get the same length of ban as Delap is crazy. He's been brought up before the FA because the referee has said if he'd seen it, he'd have sent him off.

"But what about the other challenges this week? By all accounts, the linesman at Anfield said he saw Jose Bosingwa kick Yossi Benayoun but didn't think too much of it, so that's where we are with them. Crazy."

Source: Telegraph