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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Arsenal anger at Fulham bid
Angela Banks
Angela Banks could be on her way to Fulham
By BBC Sport Online's Tony Leighton

Furious Arsenal manager Vic Akers has branded a transfer bid for England striker Angela Banks by professional outfit Fulham as "an absolute disgrace".

Fulham made the move three days before the Gunners' Uefa Women's Cup exit to Toulouse.

That was the biggest game in the history of the Arsenal women's team and Akers was further angered by the bid coming four weeks after transfer deadline day.

"The timing of Fulham's move was an absolute disgrace," said Akers, speaking just hours before Fulham play Charlton in an FA Cup semi-final.

We don't need it in the women's game
Arsenal boss Vic Akers

"As it was seven days' written notice of their intent Angie had to be told and it was bound to have an unsettling affect on her so close to our game in France.

"And what had they got to gain by coming in at this time?

"Transfer deadline day was 28 February so she couldn't play for them this season even if they did sign her.

"It's downright rude of them - they've let themselves and the Premier League down and if that's professionalism, we don't need it in the women's game."

Akers' duties as Arsenal kit man for Arsene Wenger's team meant he could not attend the Uefa Cup match in France.

I'm definitely going to stop playing
Marieanne Spacey

Arsenal drew 1-1 in the home leg but Leanne Champ's 81st minute sending-off in France led to Melanie Briche putting Toulouse ahead.

Ellen Maggs' last-minute equaliser sent the tie into extra-time before Mari-Ange Kramo's goal gave Toulouse a 2-1 win on the night and a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Arsenal are about to win the Premier League for a second successive season so will qualify for next year's Uefa Cup.

But they may have to do so with a new strike partnership.

Banks could now be set to join Fulham while the club's most experienced player, former England international Marieanne Spacey, is to retire at the end of the campaign.

After Saturday night's defeat in France Spacey confirmed: "I stayed on this year so I could play in Europe, but I won't be changing my mind.

"I've talked to Vic Akers and hopefully I'll stay with the club on the coaching side, but I'm definitely going to stop playing."

See also:

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