Newell to face Luton board over 'sexist comments'

November 14, 2006

Mike Newell has some more explaining to do if he is to cling to his job as Luton manager after his club's board demanded a meeting to discuss his 'sexist' and 'completely unacceptable' criticism of assistant referee Amy Rayner.

The Luton board were expected to make a decision on Newell's future last night after he described the appointment of Rayner to run the line at his side's 3-2 Championship defeat to QPR as 'tokenism, for the politically-correct idiots'.

However, they will not decide which course of action to take until they have spoken to the former Blackburn and Hatters striker who also criticised Luton chairman Bill Tomlins in his post-match press conference on Saturday.

In a statement on the club's official website, www.lutontownfc.co.uk, the board said: 'The board of directors met today to consider the comments made by the manager, Mike Newell, in the press conference after Saturday's game against QPR.

'The club disassociates itself totally from the sexist comments made by him. They have no place in this club and are completely unacceptable.

'Representatives of the board will be meeting the manager as a matter of urgency to ask him to explain his comments and other criticisms.

'Until this meeting has taken place, the club will make no further comment.'

Newell apologised to Rayner yesterday.

He told Sky Sports News: 'The comments I made were ill-timed and out of order. I wanted to apologise privately, before I apologised publicly.'

But the 41-year-old would not be drawn into a fresh argument about his view, insisting: 'I am not going to debate my opinions.

'My intention is to apologise publicly to anyone I have offended, and particularly to Amy Rayner.

'My views and opinions are not for debating.'

The board are also likely to ask Newell to explain his comments about chairman Tomlins.

Newell said that the club had gone backwards since Tomlins took over in 2004, claimed the chairman 'messed up' everything he became involved in, and complained of 'deceit and lies' at Luton.

But yesterday day, the manager would say only: 'I very rarely say things I do not mean.

'Will I be the manager at the weekend? That is a question for the board, but I am not going to resign.'

Newell took over at Kenilworth Road in 2003 and led the club to promotion to the Championship in 2005 after winning the League One title.

He signed a new four-year deal earlier this season and is believed to be on an annual salary of £400,000.

The Hatters boss is known to be deeply frustrated at the lack of funds in the transfer market, and the failure to tie down players like defender Markus Heikkinen and winger Dean Morgan to new deals as they approach the final year of their contracts.