LEE Bowyer - a man who should hang his head in shame - was fined an estimated £200,000 by Newcastle United yesterday for starting a punch-up on the pitch with his team-mate Kieron Dyer.

That's an awful lot of money to the vast majority of people. To Bowyer, it is just six weeks' wages.

And therein lies the problem at the heart of football: young men earning obscene amounts of money and clubs caught up in a world of financial madness where all sense of reality is lost.

If Bowyer was a fan who had been responsible for such sickening violence on the terraces, he would have been banned from every football ground in Europe. Probably for life. But there is one rule for players, another for supporters - and it stinks.

Graeme Souness has done his best to limit the damage, although we question the wisdom of stating that the players had spoken over the weekend and had "had a laugh" about the fight. It is certainly no laughing matter.

But if the club had really wanted to address the public relations disaster which has ensued, it should have announced that the money taken from Bowyer's massive bank balance was being invested in the local community which supports Newcastle United so loyally.

The club, which yesterday announced interim profits of £5.1m, should have given the money to local charities, schools or hospitals and made Bowyer personally hand it over.

And once he'd done that, he should have been kicked out of Toon.