Popov apologises for spitting red
West Bromwich Albion's Goran Popov (left) is sent off by referee Mark Clattenburg after spitting at Kyle Walker (centre). Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
Soccer:West Brom defender Goran Popov has made an official apology to his club and his fans after he was sent off for spitting at Tottenham's Kyle Walker in Sunday's Premier League defeat at The Hawthorns.
The Macedonia international was dismissed three minutes into the second half after an altercation with the Spurs defender, who he intends to call to make a personal apology.
The 28-year-old said in a statement released by the club: "I just want to say a big sorry to everyone, firstly to the gaffer because he was so angry after the game and, if I was in his place, I would be exactly the same, and to all the players.
“We played a good first half then at the start of the second half their player kicked the ball to the corner and I said something to him. We exchanged a couple of words but it wasn’t something bad, just something that happens 10 to 15 times in a game. After that, when he started to run, he was maybe two or three yards away from me. I didn’t have the intention to spit on him - but it looked like that.
“The referee was close to me and saw that. This is not good for me because over the last two or three nights I have not slept too good. Something like this has never happened in my life.”
Popov added: “I want to say a big sorry to all the fans because it was a full stadium of 25,000. I’ve had a couple of good games, was man of the match and Player of the Month in December. But I’m not happy with what I did on Sunday. When the referee sent me off it totally changed the game.
“The players were angry after the game, and some of them – the ones who have been a long time at this club - said to me they are disappointed in me. I want to say sorry to all my friends, team-mates, to all the physical staff and the coaching staff. Everyone can make mistakes, life is like this. Football is up and down."
Popov added that he will look to contact Walker when the England defender is off international duty.
"I'm trying to get a phone number for Kyle Walker but he is now with his national team," he said. "When I get his number I will call him and say 'I'm not like this, I didn't want to do this to him and a big sorry'.
"Everyone can make mistakes, life is like this. Football is up and down. But Sunday was not good. When I saw it on the video after the game I saw that.
"On Thursday I want to make a meeting and say sorry to everyone who works at this club. I don't want all the fans, players, trainers and staff to change their mind about me. I'm not that kind of player."