Date: 24th March 2007 at 11:47am
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Appleton (aged 31) claimed for loss of earnings after unnecessary surgery ended any hopes of becoming a Premiership player.

A court in Manchester awarded the former Baggies star the compensation, which is thought to be the biggest payout to a British footballer after surgeon Mr Medhat El-Safty admitted that he shouldn’t have oporated.

Former colleagues of Michael Appleton, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Sir Alex Ferguson (all Manchester United) told the court that Mr. Appleton had the huge potential of becoming a Premier league star.

He had originally injured his right posterior cruciate ligament during a training session in November 2001, the season before West Bromwich Albion were promoted to top flight.

Appleton failed to recover from the subsequent surgery and retired from the game in May 2004, he played his last game on 7 November 2001 in a 1-0 league victory over local rivals Birmingham City.

Mr Appleton said: “I am relieved finally to have received judgment and to be able to put this chapter of my life behind me and move on.” Mr Appleton is now the assistant academy manager at West Bromwich Albion.