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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 14:39 GMT
Leeds' fans relief
Leeds United fans during the Uefa Cup fourth round against Roma in 2000
Leeds have one of the biggest fan bases in England
Leeds United supporters have backed Jonathan Woodgate after the defender was convicted of affray.

Ray Fell, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Club, called for the club to stand by the England star, who was acquitted of actual bodily harm.

And he welcomed the news that Woodgate's team-mate Lee Bowyer had been cleared of ABH and affray charges.

Mr Fell said he was relieved that the case was now over.

"It has done a lot of damage to the club," he told BBC News 24. "We're happy to see the end of it and get on with what we should be talking about and that is football."

Asked whether Leeds United should sack Woodgate, Mr Fell said: "I don't really think so in this day and age.

Lee Bowyer applauds the Leeds fans during a match against Sunderland in March 2001
Bowyer is one of the most popular Leeds players
"The only result of Leeds United sacking a footballer would be that some other club would snap him up and say 'thank you very much'.

"Whatever happens to him I hope he takes his punishment and then gets on with being a good footballer."

Eric Carlisle, of the Leeds United Supporters Club, insisted the case had not done any serious damage to the image of the Yorkshire club.

"I think people will realise it was an indiscretion on his part but I don't think it will reflect on Leeds United," he said.

But he adeed that Woodgate's career had suffered as a result of the case: "It is a pity, he was very popular and for one indiscretion like this it is unfortunate.

"But of course he has to be punished if he has done something wrong."


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