Joe bidding to clear his name

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is still bidding to clear his name and protect an unblemished 24-year record in management.Royle is facing a Football Association rap after being charged with improper conduct following an incident during Town's home draw with Leeds on January 31.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is still bidding to clear his name and protect an unblemished 24-year record in management.

Royle is facing a Football Association rap after being charged with improper conduct following an incident during Town's home draw with Leeds on January 31.

He denied the charge on February 21 and requested a personal hearing, which was scheduled for Thursday.

But an important board

meeting at Portman Road meant he was unable to attend the hearing in London, so his fate remains undecided.

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Royle said: “The board

meeting had to take preference because of what was on the agenda and I have not been given a new date as yet.

“In the meantime I shall be writing to the FA with my observations and because I have never been in trouble before over disciplinary matters I naturally hope for a favourable outcome.”

Royle entered management in 1982 with Oldham Athletic and is keen to avoid a black mark against his name this late in an illustrious career.

The incident to which the charge relates occurred late in the game against Leeds, when the visitors were awarded a penalty for handball by home defender Jason De Vos.

Although Ipswich protested that the big Canadian had been pushed, the award stood and substitute David Healy converted from the spot.

Royle's frustration at seeing two points disappear saw him throw down a plastic water bottle and when it struck the ground some of its contents appeared to splash on to the fourth official.

The Ipswich boss apologised straight away but the man in charge, Kent referee Phil Crossley, came over to the touchline to speak to him and decided to mention the incident in his match report.

Royle added: “To be honest I am slightly puzzled that this is still dragging on, because the fourth official has acknowledged that I apologised to him.

“As soon as it happened I said sorry to him and I am pleased that he has confirmed this in his own statement.”

It will be a major shock if Royle incurs either a touchline ban or a fine, with the outcome more likely to be a warning as to his future conduct.

Fellow manager Neil Warnock is not likely to escape so lightly after also being charged with improper conduct for an alleged two-fingered gesture towards the Norwich bench after Sheffield United's 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road a week ago.

The Blades' boss was also in hot water earlier this season, being fined £750 after he admitted a charge of abusive and/or insulting language towards a match official following the 2-1 defeat by Reading in October.

Warnock confronted Grant Hegley on the pitch after the referee turned down a late penalty with Reading going on to score a last gasp winner.

IPSWICH have agreed to pay up the contract of striker Adam Proudlock after informing him he would not be offered a new deal at the end of the season.

Proudlock, 24, arrived at Portman Road in October after being sacked by Sheffield Wednesday for a breach of discipline and failed to score in nine first team appearances, six of them as a substitute.

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