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Dirty Tackle

Garry O’Connor is ‘top Prem player’ who tested positive for cocaine

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

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sungarry

That's an actual photo of Garry O'Connor.

Channel 4's investigative news program "Dispatches" teased Monday night's episode on the TRUTH about drugs in football by saying they would reveal a "top Premier League footballer" who tested positive for cocaine and had it hidden from the club that bought him in a "multimillion pound deal."

Discussing this on Twitter quickly prompted people to guess names like Nasri, Carroll and Meireles, but, as we really should've known, the truth was far more hype than revelation.

So who is the multimillion-pound top Premier League player? Known user and sometimes Scotland striker Garry O'Connor, formerly of Birmingham City but now with Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League. What he is the "top" of, I'm still not sure. And according to Sporting Intelligence, his drug test wasn't kept secret to dupe another club into taking him, but to help him recover from drug and alcohol problems without anymore publicity than necessary...

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Birmingham are understood to have been praised for the pastoral care of their player at the time, and the relevant authorities and agencies, including the FA and Sporting Chance clinic, are believed to have agreed with how the case was handled. Sportingintelligence has not confirmed the length of ban O'Connor served but the UK Anti-Doping database contains details of a two-month ban for a metabolite of cocaine around the relevant time, with no name give for the offender. [...]

O'Connor has, in the past, commanded fees of millions of pounds, for example when sold by Hibs to Lokomotiv Moscow in 2006 for £1.6m, and then when sold for a reported £2.7m to Birmingham in 2007.

But since his drugs test — which sources say was in the 2009-10 Premier League season, when O'Connor missed the majority of the season with a hip problem — the player has not changed hands for any money. He spent time on loan at Barnsley and then moved to Hibs as a free agent this summer.

It seems O'Connor didn't get enough help for his addictions because just last week, police accused him of possessing cocaine and running away from them. From Scotsman:

O'Connor, who earned his first Scotland cap at the age of 18, is alleged to have resisted, molested and hindered Lothian and Borders Police constables Kathy Eager and Andrew Morrow who were on duty. He is said to have run away from them while they were attempting to establish his details. The offence is alleged to have happened on 14 May this year in Hope Street Lane, Edinburgh.

When you're getting charged with molesting police, Channel 4 programs are pretty much the least of your worries. Hopefully Garry gets the help he needs soon.

Image: The Sun

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