Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill has revealed that he has had an assurance from John Carew that his midweek misdemeanours in a Birmingham lap dancing club will never be repeated.
O’Neill confirmed the striker had been given a “hefty” fine, was suitably delighted with his Norwegian international striker’s contribution in creating one goal and scoring another himself after coming off the bench in Villa’s 4-0 annihilation of Steve Bruce’s Wigan Athletic.
But he made it clear that, while the matter of Carew being spotted by fans out in Broad Street's Rocket Club on the morning of Villa’s Uefa Cup clash with Ajax had been a problem, it had now been dealt with without souring the relationship between the pair.
It is understood Carew was given a strict ticking off and slapped with a fine of two weeks’ wages – around £100,000 – for breaking club rules on going out on the eve of matches.
He said: “John has been disciplined. He breached the rules and I disciplined him. John thinks there are mitigating circumstances. I am always prepared to listen but, after listening to what John said, I made the decision that he was wrong.
“It wasn’t the brightest thing to be doing going out before a game but it doesn’t really matter now. I think he felt that he wasn’t perhaps going to be playing in the game on Thursday but he had not been told that beforehand.
“He should not have done it. It was not the way to concentrate before a game but it has been dealt with. That is now the end of the issue.”
The Villa manager even managed to joke about the subject suggesting the issue had been that the 6ft 5in striker had access to places that had never been available in his days as a player with Nottingham Forest.
He said: “This is a large oversight on John’s behalf. Consequently he has been fined and most of the players in the dressing room are saying it should be double!
“But John assures me it won’t happen again and so I will believe him – for a week at least!”
He continued: “There are always mitigating circumstances. I used to do it myself – not the lap dancing club though! I would have wanted to but there weren’t such things in my day."
The Villa boss believes any fans who might have questioned Carew’s dedication to Aston Villa would surely now have forgiven him on the basis of his performance in the second half against Wigan.
He said: “John is very popular with the crowd. He regained his popularity when he put that ball into the net."
Gareth Barry paid tribute to his team-mate striker. He said: “John started on the bench but I knew he would be chomping at the bit to get on. We knew that when he did get on he would take his chance.
“I was having treatment so I did not see his performance second half but I knew he got a goal and that will do him the world of good.
“I am not too sure exactly what has gone on and John has not spoken too much about it but he is a fans’ favourite and I don’t think that is going to change just because he has had a bit of stick in the press.”