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Thursday, April 30, 1998 Published at 23:33 GMT 00:33 UK

Sport: Football

Shearer apologises for 'kick'
image: [ Shearer gets up, Neil Lennon on the ground after the incident ]
Shearer gets up, Neil Lennon on the ground after the incident

Alan Shearer is waiting to see if he faces a Football Association ban for kicking Leicester City's Neil Lennon in the face.

But any suspension would not come into effect until after the FA Cup Final between Newcastle United and Arsenal on May 16.

The Newcastle striker has apologised for the incident and said he never meant to harm Lennon.

[ image: Lennon:Suffered a cut and bruising]
Lennon:Suffered a cut and bruising
Television replays of the match show Shearer kicking Lennon in the face with his left foot after the Leicester midfielder brought him down near the touchline.

Lennon suffered a cut and bruising to his face.

Referee Martin Bodenham took no action, prompting complaints from Leicester City's manager Martin O'Neill.

An FA spokesman said it was waiting for Mr Bodenham official match report before taking any action.

Speaking about the incident, Shearer said television pictures made the kick appear much worse than it was.

"I was brought down by Neil Lennon and we both fell clumsily," he said.

[ image: O'Neill: Berated officials for taking no action]
O'Neill: Berated officials for taking no action
"As I tried to get to my feet I had to really tug my left foot free and the momentum of doing this looked on television liked a kick.

"It certainly wasn't and the fact that Neil is virtually unmarked confirms this. If I did accidentally catch him, I certainly did not mean to.

"I would never try and deliberately hurt a fellow professional."

Martin O'Neill, who has since declined to file an official complaint to the FA, said: "You don't do that whether you are Alan Shearer or the Pope.

"I said my piece after the game. The video evidence will prove it for itself."

String of controversies

Since returning from injury, Alan Shearer expected to lead England out during the France 98 World Cup. But he has been beset by controversy.

Former Newcastle United directors Douglas Hall and Freddie Shepherd dubbed the England captain "Mary Poppins" because of his seemingly perfect behaviour.

In February, Leeds' manager George Graham accused Shearer of manhandling striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Earlier in April he was accused of rough play when Newcastle met Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs' manager Christian Gross claimed Shearer was responsible for his star defender Ramon Vega's broken nose, adding to complaints from former Newcastle United player David Ginola.

Gross said: "I cannot say if it was deliberate, but it was a heavy challenge.

"Shearer is a very physical player and a very clever player. He uses his body well and protects the ball very well."

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