Norris backtrack in celebration row

IPSWICH Town midfielder David Norris has today admitted he DID make a private gesture on the pitch to his jailed friend - after originally backtracking from the stance.

Paul Geater

IPSWICH Town midfielder David Norris has today admitted he DID make a private gesture on the pitch to his jailed friend - after originally backtracking from the stance.

In an evening of confusion the football club ended up backtracking on an original statement yesterday afternoon where the 26-year-old denied making any handcuffs gesture or even sending any form of message to Luke McCormick.

A club spokesman said today that the “clarification” had been issued late last night because of confusion that had arisen following the statement - which appeared to contradict Norris' statement immediately after the game that it had been a private message to McCormick.

And today club officials said it was likely that Norris would be able to take a prominent role in The Evening Star's name and shame anti-drink driving campaign that will be launched in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year.

His statement was issued a storm of controversy was caused by Norris apparently making a handcuffs gesture on the pitch as part of his celebrations following a goal against Blackpool on Saturday.

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The gesture was taken as a message to his friend Luke McCormick, a former Plymouth Argyle player who was jailed for seven years for causing the death of two brothers, Arron and Ben Peak when he smashed into the car they were in on the M6, while drunk.

A spokesman for the club said a significant number of complaints had been received.

Yesterday the boys' mother Amanda of Partington, Greater Manchester called for Norris to be banned but after hearing of his fine and the fact that he was going to write a letter of regret to the family she said she would forgive him.

Norris' original statement, released yesterday afternoon said: "I would like to stress that I made no handcuff gesture or personal message to Luke McCormick.

“I can now see how my actions have been mis-interpreted and for that and any distress that this has caused the Peak family I am truly sorry. I would never act so insensitively after such a tragedy.”

However two hours later Norris issued a further statement saying: “I would like to reiterate my wholehearted apology for the upset my goal celebration at Blackpool has caused.

“It was a small private gesture to Luke and was not meant to cause offence to anyone.” He has however denied it was a handcuffs gesture.

Norris plans to speak direct to Amanda and Phil Peak and apologise for his ill-judged goal celebration that caused them such upset and will also write a letter of regret to the couple.

Mrs Peak said: “Yes I forgive him, he did something which was inappropriate to us.

“He should have thought about how he was going to celebrate and chosen something a bit more appropriate.”

McCormick was jailed for seven years after admitting death by dangerous driving and drink driving but Norris has vowed to stand by his friend who was returning from his wedding on the morning of the crash.

A separate statement from Ipswich Town on behalf of the club read: “David deeply regrets that his actions have been wrongly interpreted and has today written a personal and private letter of regret to Mr and Mrs Peak.

“In hearing the player's explanation, the club also regrets the potential for misinterpretation of the gesture and would like to make a donation to an appropriate charity, equal to the fine imposed on the player."

The FA has also written to Norris demanding an explanation as to his celebrations and have given him one week to respond.

The Blues midfielder has been cleared to play for Ipswich Town against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday in the live televised game.

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