Vinnie Jones and Joey Barton have defended the West Brom players who allegedly stole a taxi during in Barcelona, saying they did nothing wrong.
Club captain Jonny Evans, England internationals Gareth Barry and Jake Livermore, and goalkeeper Boaz Myhill all apologised for their conduct after breaking curfew during a training trip to Spain last week.
It is claimed the four players got a cab to a McDonald’s after a team night out and then drove the taxi back to the hotel themselves without the driver.
Manager Alan Pardew condemned their behaviour and responded by stripping Evans of the captaincy in West Brom’s FA Cup fifth round clash against Southampton on Saturday, which ended in a 2-0 win for the Saints .
But, speaking with Alan Brazil on Monday's Sports Breakfast, Vinnie Jones and Joey Barton defended the Baggies stars and say they were only having some fun.
Barton: “Occasionally the managers allow them to have a bit of team bonding, and clearly sometimes it gets a little bit out of kilter.
“Is it that bad, taking a taxi? What’s wrong with that? They gave it back, they haven’t caused any damage have they.
“This taxi-gate, they’ve been a bit naughty, but we’ve got Saint Alan of Glasgow who has never done anything wrong…”
Brazil: “I’ve done some dopey things, but I’ve never nicked a cab. You can’t do that. You’re bottom of the league, you’re out there for a few days…”
Jones: “Brilliant, brilliant. You’re away on tour, you’ve had a few beers and the rest of it and some geezer leaves the keys in his cab, what are you going to do?"
Former Wimbledon star Jones also remembered an episode from a training trip he went on with the rest of the infamous 'Crazy Gang', which also involved an incident with four wheels.
The FA Cup winner added: “We went out to Portugal with Wimbledon - we’re playing Tottenham at home in the FA Cup fifth round, Dave Bassett was the manager and he took us out to Portugal.
“We get out there to the hotel and it’s great training out there, but they’ve got a beach buggy and the security guy wouldn’t let us use it. It was all chained up.
“So anyway, at the end of the tour I think Wisey [Dennis Wise] or one of the other boys bought some bolt cutters. We were leaving at about 6:30am to leave for the airport and the last thing you saw was the beach buggy disappearing into the hotel swimming pool as we drove out on the coach to fly back home.
“We lost that game to Tottenham 2-0 and Dave Bassett didn’t get sacked.
“What’s happening at West Brom is down to results, not down to a couple of players having a McDonald’s and nicking a cab. Fair play to them, they’ve had a bit of a laugh.”