GINOLA SLAMS GRAHAM OVER SALE

DAVID GINOLA has slammed Tottenham manager George Graham following the midfielder's acrimonious exit from White Hart Lane to Aston Villa this summer.

The mercurial French winger was sold for £3 million by Graham earlier this month, despite wanting to stay at Spurs, and revealed that he is glad of the chance to prove himself in the Premiership again.

"I never wanted to leave Tottenham," he revealed. "I was pushed out.

"George Graham tried to put all the pressure on Alan Sugar by saying in the press how he didn't want me to leave, but that the chairman had accepted a good offer for me from Villa.

"The bottom line is that Graham had the responsibility for choosing who played, not Sugar. He was never man enough to tell me face to face that he didn't want me at the club any more.

"I had given so much to the club for three years and I was looking forward to playing for another two, then this manager takes it all away from me.

"I wasn't surprised that George wanted me out. Ever since he arrived I was under pressure to play out of my skin for him to put me in his team but, even with me playing well, he substituted me in 36 of the 79 matches I started.

"I could never understand why he did that. Maybe I was too much for him to cope with, in terms of my personality, image and popularity with the fans.

"He would always look for the negative things to say about me, trying to out me under pressure. I tried my hardest but Graham would always give me hassle.

"He would single me out and criticise something in my game, so that I lost the respect of my team-mates. Even if I had been the best player on the pitch, he would say 'I expect more from you, it was not good enough.'"

Ginola, speaking in his autobiography, serialised in the Daily Mail, was also disappointed at not being that that he was being dropped for the pre-season friendly at Birmingham City, which finally persuaded him to leave the club.

"We arrived at St Andrews and got changed. Graham said I wasn't in the team, so I assumed I'd be one of the substitutes and went on to the pitch to warm up.

"When it was time to go back to the dressing room, a steward stopped me and asked me for my autograph. He handed me a team sheet and I looked down it to find my name, so that I could sign beside it. I couldn't find my name.

"It was then I realised that I wasn't one of the substitutes. I had changed and done the warm-up and the manager never told me.

"I sat on the bench anyway and the fans were chanting my name, but the other players just looked at me and we laughed.

"The icing on the cake came at the end of the game, when Graham made me train on the pitch with the rest of the players who never got on. Stewart Houston took the session and I was looking at him with a smile on my face.

"'Why are you smiling?' he asked. 'Because you are so pathetic,' I replied. 'It is unbelievable how you are treating me, and it makes me laugh.'

"It made me take stock. I had given so much for three years, then this manager, who hasn't really proved himself at the club, takes it all away from me.

"Graham is living on the edge, he has to provide something big for Spurs this year but all I can say is that he is the reason I am not at Spurs today.

"My transfer was sealed the day after. I finally went to meet John Gregory. There had been interest from clubs abroad, including France, Turkey and America, but my heart belonged in the Premiership.

"Gregory was instantly likeable and he spoke with a passion for the game and for the team which I admired. It was nice to have a manager who was prepared to welcome me with open arms."

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