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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 14:45 GMT
Surgeon must pay footballer 1.5m
Michael Appleton
Mr Appleton suffered a cruciate ligament injury in training
A former Manchester United footballer has been awarded 1.5m after suing a surgeon for ruining his career.

Michael Appleton claimed for loss of earnings after unnecessary knee surgery ended his hopes of playing in the Premiership with West Bromwich Albion.

The 31-year-old midfielder was injured in training in November 2001 and was forced to retire from the game in 2003.

A High Court judge in Manchester awarded the money after Medhat El-Safty admitted he should not have operated.

The player injured his right posterior cruciate ligament the season before Albion were promoted to the top division and failed to recover from the subsequent surgery.

I am relieved finally to have received judgment and to be able to put this chapter of my life behind me
Michael Appleton

At the hearing in January to decide the level of damages, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and two of his top players, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, told the court Mr Appleton had great potential as a footballer.

Expert witnesses told Mr Justice Christopher Clarke the midfielder could have earned more than 500,000 a year had he recovered and played in the Premiership.

The court heard his career would have probably lasted until 2009.

High esteem

Mr Appleton is now Albion's assistant academy manager and hopes to move into football management.

He said: "Having had my playing career taken away from me prematurely, I am all the more determined now to make a success of my coaching career.

"I am relieved finally to have received judgment and to be able to put this chapter of my life behind me and move on."

His solicitor Chris Pugh said: "It is a measure of Michael's standing in the game that so many leading figures in football were eager to come and give evidence on his behalf."

Player must wait on surgery claim
24 Jan 07 |  Manchester
Sir Alex backs injured footballer
17 Jan 07 |  Manchester
Ex-West Brom star to sue surgeon
21 Jun 05 |  West Bromwich Albion


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