NEWCASTLE United are facing up to life without leading scorer Papiss Cisse – after he was banned for SEVEN games for spitting.
The striker has admitted a Football Association charge relating to a clash with Manchester United’s Jonny Evans.
Cisse won’t be available until the May 9 home game against West Brom.
Evans, however, has denied he spat at Cisse, despite TV footage from Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat appearing to show him spitting in his direction, and Newcastle were surprised by Evans’s strident denial.
Pointedly, Lee Charnley, the club’s managing director, last night said he and Cisse were in agreement about the need to “front up and admit your mistakes”
“Both ourselves and Papiss agree that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable,” said Charnley.
“In life, when you do something wrong you have to front up, admit your mistakes and accept the punishment.
“Papiss was proactive this morning in making a full and heartfelt apology, which he did in advance of any notification from the FA regarding this charge.
“This was something he felt strongly about and we fully support him in quickly accepting the charge.”
Charnley added that Cisse – an active supporter of the Newcastle United Foundation – would undertake extra community work on Tyneside during his suspension.
Sometimes it is hard not to react, particularly in the heat of the moment. I have always tried hard to be a positive role model, especially for our young fans, and I let you down.Papiss Demba Cisse
A contrite Cisse had earlier apologised to the club, his team-mates and supporters for his actions. The striker – who appeared to be spat at by Evans – said he reacted to something “very unpleasant”.
The 29-year-old would get an extra game on top of that having served a three-game suspension earlier this season for elbowing Everton’s Seamus Coleman.
Cisse – Newcastle’s top scorer with 11 goals – is also likely to be disciplined by the club.
“I have apologies to make to a lot of people,” said Cisse.
“Firstly, to my team-mates and to our supporters, secondly to Jonny Evans, and thirdly to every football fan who saw the incident between myself and Jonny.
“I reacted to something I found very unpleasant.
“Sometimes it is hard not to react, particularly in the heat of the moment. I have always tried hard to be a positive role model, especially for our young fans, and I let you down.
“I hope children out there playing football for their clubs and schools this weekend will know better than to retaliate when they are angry.
“Perhaps when they see the problem it now causes me and my team they will be able to learn from my mistake, not copy it.”
Evans – who was also caught on TV appearing to spit at the turf near Emmanuel Riviere earlier in the match – bizarrely claimed he was “shocked” by the media coverage of the incident.
“Having woken up this morning, I am shocked to have seen the media coverage from last night’s match,” said the 27-year-old.
“I would like to make it clear that I did not spit at Papiss Cisse.”
Cisse’s extended absence leaves head coach John Carver short of options up front between now and May.
The Senegal international will miss the Wear-Tyne derby against Sunderland as well as fixtures against Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City and Leicester City.
Carver – who hopes to have on-loan Facundo Ferreyra available later this month – could recall 20-year-old Adam Campbell from his loan at Gateshead.