Chorley football figures cleared over £1m transfer row

Former England coach Sammy Lee leaves Newcastle Magistrates Court

Former England coach Sammy Lee leaves Newcastle Magistrates Court

1
Have your say

Senior football figures including former Bolton Wanderers boss Sammy Lee and two people from Chorley have been cleared of all charges after they were accused of a string of offences surrounding a £1m Premier League transfer deal.

The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against Bolton Wanderers, its chairman Phil Gartside and others from the club, retired midfielder Gavin McCann and two men from Chorley - football secretary Simon Marland and agent Stephen Horner.

Agent Tony McGill started a private prosecution against the parties, following a legal battle over his claims he was cut out of McCann’s transfer from Aston Villa to Bolton in 2007.

The CPS took over the case and at a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, the prosecution formally offered no evidence.

As a technicality, all the charges were read out to the parties from Bolton Wanderers, SEM and Mr McCann, and “not guilty” pleas were entered to all.

After hearing the CPS were not offering any evidence, Judge Tim Gittins told the defendants: “That brings the matter to an end.”

Mr Lee, currently a coach at Southampton, was Bolton manager at the time of McCann’s 2007 move.

He was cleared of conspiracy to defraud Mr McGill in relation to the transfer, and two counts of perverting the course of justice relating to a civil claim in the High Court which followed.

Simon Marland, from Chorley, was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, false accounting, cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Agent Stephen Horner, from Brindle, was also cleared of perverting the course of justice. Others cleared of any wrongdoing include Mr McCann, who was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, two counts of cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Gartside was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Frank McParland, who worked for Bolton Wanderers and is now sporting director at Championship rivals Burnley, was cleared of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

The football club itself was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, false accounting and cheating the public revenue.

The SEM agency was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, two counts of false accounting and two counts of cheating the public revenue. SEM head and super agent Jerome Anderson was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, cheating the public revenue and perverting the course of justice.

Agent Jeffrey Weston was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, forgery, two counts of false accounting, two counts of cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Agent David Sheron was cleared of conspiracy to defraud, cheating the public revenue and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

After the hearing Mr McGill, who still works as a football agent, was “very disappointed” and said the case had cost “mega bucks”.

He could not afford to challenge the CPS’s decision with a judicial review, he said.

But he said he has been given leave to appeal against the ruling in the initial civil claim at the High Court, which he lost. He said: “It’s not just the money, it’s the hassle I’ve had for the last eight years. Obviously this has given me a headache and cost a lot of money. I don’t have the money for a judicial review. The whole thing has been mega bucks since I started, but ‘que sera, sera’.”