Seaman defends Bielsa as former star makes Arsenal spying claim

Date published: Wednesday 16th January 2019 1:15 - James Marshment

David Seaman has defended Marcelo Bielsa over spygate by claiming Arsenal used to regularly train in front of uninvited observers during Arsene Wenger’s reign.

The Leeds manager is in hot water with the game’s ruling bodies after he openly admitted sending a member of his staff to secretly spy on a Derby training session ahead of the Whites 2-0 victory over the Rams on Friday.

Leeds apologised to Derby and Frank Lampard and said they would remind Bielsa of his responsibilities.

The incident has split opinion in the game, with some of pundits suggesting Leeds should be docked points and Stuart Pearce on Wednesday adding to the debate by suggesting the result should be reversed and Derby awarded a 2-0 win instead.

However, there are a number of observers who claim the incident is little more than a storm in a teacup and that the practice is commonplace in the game.

Now former Leeds and Arsenal keeper Seaman has stepped into the debate and reckons Gunners sessions under former boss Wenger were regularly watched by uninvited visitors.

And the former goalkeeper does not think Bielsa deserves to be punished.

“No, because this has gone on for a long time,” he said on talkSPORT.

“We knew when we used to play away in Europe that you showed nothing in set-plays.

“You always got to train in the stadium the night before and you knew there would be people in the ground who would be looking.

“Even when we were at Arsenal, when we moved training grounds to the one next door to Watford’s (at London Colney) we had massive mounds built to cover the footpath.

“There were shrubs and trees and everything planted on top so nobody could see into our training ground.

“It’s been going on and you take caution. You make sure that you’re looked after and that people can’t see in.”

Seaman’s comments come after former England full-back Pearce called on the Derby result to be reversed.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Pearce angered Leeds fans with his damning assessment of Bielsa’s actions.

“I think if it’s not right or proper it’s not right and proper, from whatever country you come on,” Pearce said.

“It’ll be interesting to see what the punishment is by the FA. We’ve not seen anything as clear cut as this before.

“If it was me, the team it’s affected the most is Derby. I’d reverse the scoreline.

“Let the punishment fit the crime. That statement fits this brilliantly.

“If you’ve sent someone all the way down from Leeds to Derby to stand outside the training ground and when asked about it you say ‘yes he was sent down by me, he put his expenses sheet in and all that’ then I think ‘fine, no problem, you won 2-0 against Derby but it’s affected Derby. It’s not in the spirit of the game.”

Leeds face Stoke at the bet365 Stadium in their next match on Saturday, where they will be hoping to maintain their lead at the top of the Championship.

 

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