Newell hoping 'bungs' will be exposed by BBC

September 19, 2006

Transfer bungs whistleblower Mike Newell is confident the inquiry into alleged illegal payments in football will expose the agents and officials he believes are swindling supporters.

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The Luton boss claimed in January of this year that he had twice been offered a bung, prompting the Premier League to ask former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens to investigate transfer deals in the two years from January 2004.

Lord Stevens is due to reveal his findings on October 2, but tonight the BBC's Panorama programme will broadcast the findings of their own investigation into football corruption.

Titled `Undercover: Football's Dirty Secrets', it seeks to expose the game's alleged bung culture.

It is based around filmed conversations between agents and undercover journalists posing as representatives of a fictional agency called Dynamic Soccer.

Newell contributed to the programme but many commentators believe it will be extremely difficult for either Panorama or the Premier League to obtain proof which would lead to individuals or organisations being punished.

However, Newell is certain the culprits will be unmasked, saying: 'I do believe something will be uncovered because there's no way somebody like Lord Stevens would set up an inquiry and spend six, seven months - whatever it's been - and find nothing.

'If he'd found nothing, he would have said so by now, I've absolutely no doubt about that.'

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Newell explained why he had decided to go public with his concerns at the start of the year.

'The biggest problem I have with it is it's supporters' money and they have to pay for it through season tickets, through merchandise in the shops, through everything they spend their money on,' he said.

'What people are taking advantage of is football supporters will support the same club for hundreds of years down the generations. That's the major problem.'

He added: 'The only reason it's been allowed to go on is that football clubs have allowed it to go on and that somebody is benefiting somewhere along the line.'

Newell claimed he had twice been offered a bung during transfer negotiations, once from a football club official and once from an agent, but insists he was never tempted to accept their offers.

He said: 'I'd like to sleep at night to be honest and I don't want to be making money outside of my contract.'

Despite admitting he never envisaged the 'fuss' his revelations would cause, he has no regrets about coming forward and is unconcerned he may have alienated himself from the football fraternity.

However, he has been disappointed by the reaction of many in the game to his allegations.

'I never had that many friends,' he joked. 'I've not worried one iota as to whether I've lost or made friends. I wasn't out to make friends, that's not the issue.'

He added: 'One senior administrator said I might face disrepute charges if I had nothing to back it up with.

'A lot of big-name managers in the game said they'd never ever heard of bungs and never come across it in their lives. There were a couple of others who said I'd opened a can of worms for myself.

'I found those comments particularly disturbing.'

But, as well as receiving letters from fans, Newell revealed he had received support from unexpected quarters.

'I have to say I got a lot of support from people you wouldn't expect it from,' he said.

'I'm talking about agents now, straight agents, people who are trying to make a decent living in the game.'