Last updated : 23 January 2003 By Editor
Sunderland chairman Bob Murray is a little unhappy about our approach for
David Bellion:

From the Sun:

"United's treatment of this club is shabby, despicable, disrespectful, arrogant
and unprofessional. They have broken every rule in the book."

"He wants to go to Manchester United and I understand that. But they refuse
to meet our asking price and have totally unsettled our player both mentally
and physically - David has told me he doesn't feel mentally right to play for

"The relationship between our two clubs is at an all-time low. "

"Why don't they just close their academy and do this to every decent young
player in the country."

The Guardian follows it on:

Bellion is currently in his home town of Cannes in France citing "a poorly
mother", despite being sent to Lilleshall last week for further examination of
what Sunderland call "mystery injuries". Sunderland subsequently found out
that he was picked up by the English driver of his agent - Monaco-based Mike
Morris - and taken to Luton airport.

Bellion is contracted to Sunderland until June 30, and the club "understand"
Manchester United's obvious appeal. But what Murray and his manager
Howard Wilkinson find hard to accept is that United's interest has effectively
deprived the Wearside club of Bellion's services while they are involved in a
relegation battle. He has not played for Sunderland since December 21.

Last month United's chief executive Peter Kenyon said they did not want
Bellion until the summer, but late yesterday he rang to offer £500,000 with
another £500,000 based on appearances. This merely added to Sunderland's
outrage. They believe Bellion is worth at least £1.5m more.

"David Bellion is not going from Leicester City to Sunderland, he's going to
Manchester United, the richest club in the world," Murray said. "But they want
David on the cheap. Why don't they just do this all the time and close their
academy? Relations between the clubs are at an all-time low. Their behaviour
is despicable. David is a lovely lad who has had his head turned. His attitude
has changed totally and now he is stuck between a rock and a hard place in

United's initial interest in Bellion, said Murray, was made plain by his agent
Morris. In addition Sunderland believe Morris worked in tandem with Sir Alex
Ferguson's son Jason to unsettle Bellion. They believe that, when in England,
Morris made telephone calls to the club from the offices of Jason Ferguson's
Elite Sports Agency in Manchester.

Carrington was closed off yesterday to everyone except staff. Now it could be that Fergie didn't want Souness knowing his line up for last night's game or was it that Bellion was not in Cannes at all? hmmmm