Tag Archives: Football

Sports Desk Round-Up

A round-up of  today’s developing Sports stories:

  1. A survey conducted by players’ union FIFPro into the working conditions of players found more than one third of footballers surveyed in Scotland say they received threats from the stands on a match day.
  2. The FA chairman, Greg Clarke, says he’s not ruling out a cover-up in the football child abuse scandal.
  3. Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson will reportedly hold talks with League One side MK Dons later this week.
  4. England’s cricketers have been beaten by eight wickets in the third Test with India.
  5. Gareth Southgate is expected to be confirmed as England’s permanent manager tomorrow.
  6. Forthcoming Scottish Football fixtures.


Hearts and Hamilton Share the Points in 6 Goal Thriller

by Andy Grozier


Photo credit: Hearts Press Office
Photo credit: Ron MacNeill


Hearts managed to rescue a point last night against Hamilton in a six goal thriller at New Douglas Park.

Jamie Walker had put the Edinburgh side ahead in the 8th minute with a brilliant half-volley only to see the Accies draw equal before powering ahead after half-time.

The home side’s come back started with a stunning free-kick from Ali Crawford. The 25 year old midfielder drifted the ball into the bottom corner of Jack Hamilton’s net from 20 yards. The strike was a touch of class in what was a mostly scrappy first half.

Rakish Bingham extended the Accies lead with a calm finish just moments into the second-half after a smooth passing move sent the striker through on goal. Bingham then got his brace in the 68th minute, beating the Hearts keeper with a shot fired into the bottom corner.

Continue reading Hearts and Hamilton Share the Points in 6 Goal Thriller

In-form Spartans look forward to cup final


by Iain Jones

Edinburgh’s Spartans FC will take on fellow Scottish Lowland Football League side East Kilbride FC in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final this Sunday in West Lothian.

The winners will face SPFL League Two club Berwick Rangers in the East of Scotland Cup Final on Tuesday 12th April.

Spartans are unbeaten in all competitions since 2nd January this year and currently sit 2nd in the Lowland League table, 13 points behind fellow capital side Edinburgh City FC.

Spartans midfielder Jack Beesley said: “We’ve obviously had quite a lot of matches quite thick and fast so certainly our match fitness will be good. We’ve got training on Thursday and then the match on Sunday so, yeah, everything’s looking good.”

The Spartans have played the South Lanarkshire side twice in the league already this season, drawing one match and winning the other.

“Over the past few years they’ve probably been our toughest opponents,” said Beesley. “They’re probably as tough a final as you could have at our level so it will certainly be a tough game.”

The East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final kicks off on Sunday 20th March at 3.30pm at Albyn Park in Broxburn.

Former Rangers footballer shot dead

Fans have expressed deep sadness on social media sites after the news broke. Photo/Twitter

By Ari Brynjolfsson

Former Rangers footballer Arnold Peralta has been shot dead in his Honduran hometown.

The 26-year-old defensive midfielder was killed in a drive-by shooting in the car park of the Uniplaza shopping mall in La Ceiba in the Central American nation while on holiday.

No arrests have been made and police have ruled out robbery as a motive as his belongings were not stolen. Honduran authorities refuse to reveal when the incident occurred.

Peralta played 24 games for Rangers across two seasons and left the club last January, he scored his only goal against Stranraer in April 2014. While with Rangers he won the Scottish League One title in the 2013/2014 season. His current team was FC Deportivo Olimpia.

Rangers Supporters Club said the news was terrible and that they still considered him family.

The Club said in a statement to the press: ‘We join all our fans in sending our condolences to the family of our former player.’

His death was confirmed by his father, Carlos Peralta at a news conference: ‘This is terribe. They killed my exemplary son. I can’t say more because of the pain I feel.’

Peralta was the Honduran Under-20 captain before playing 26 games for the national team, including the 2014 World Cup. He was due to play for his country next week in an international friendly against Cuba.

Honduras is plagued by gang violence and has the highest murder rates worldwide, topping United Nations crime reports since 2011 with more than 90 murders per 100,000 people.

Human Rights Watch organization said in their 2014 world report that perpetrators of killings and other violent crimes in Honduras were rarely brought to justice, the report said: ‘Honduras suffers from rampant crime and impunity for human rights abuses.’

The Honduran government however vows to bring Peralta’s killers to justice: ‘We won’t rest until those responsible for this act are identified and detained so that they can face justice.’

Hearts to stay at Tynecastle home


Hearts are to stay at Tynecastle Stadium, after the club revealed plans to increase its’ capacity.

Ann Budge, the owner of the Scottish Premiership club, announced plans to redevelop the Main Stand, which should expand the stadium’s capacity to at least 20,000 seats.

Budge, who took over the club last year, admitted her initial preference was to move to a new stadium. “It was a preference driven by a desire from the majority of supporters to stay at Tynecastle”.

The plan is to rebuild the Main Stand on McLeod Street. Budge revealed that the club has the financial backing to commit to the project. The total budget will be over £7 million.

“Financially, we completely out performed our financial plan and our turnover has risen from £5,098m to £7,077m and a half million pounds improvement on the bottom line and this does not include the donations from the Foundation of Hearts”, Budge said.

The club is also planning to purchase land behind the Main Stand, which Budge sees as part of an overall regeneration of the Tynecastle area.

The plans are seen as reflective of the increased demand for tickets, amidst the club’s recent success on the pitch.

George Foulkes, former club chairman, said: “We have sold out at every recent home game and I think we have the potential to get match attendance up to 25,000 rather than 16-17,000 we have at the moment”.

Hearts midfielder Miguel Pallardo said plans for redevelopment were good news for the players: “Football players enjoy playing with more supporters. This work could be beneficial for Hearts”.

Tynecastle’s current capacity stands at 17,529 seats, which makes it the seventh largest football stadium in Scotland. The new stand will be close to that the 20,421 seats at Easter Road, the home of city rivals Hibernian.

The club celebrated the centenary of the Main Stand in 2014.

“League games more important than Cup Final” – Pat Fenlon before Dons clash

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon spoke to our sports reporter Joe Birchenall ahead of his sides fixture tonight at Easter Road. Fenlon’s charges face Aberdeen, a side who they have not beaten in the league since May last year. However, Hibs face the Dons on the back of a thrilling Scottish Cup semi-final win against Falkirk, which saw them claim a 4 – 3 victory despite finishing the first half three goals down. Fenlon, however, is keen to push on and to focus on remaining league games, saying he is disappointed to have finished outside of the top six.

Fenlon also discusses the breakthrough of youngsters Alex Harris and Danny Handling, his reaction to Neil Lennon’s SFA woes and the imminent departure of Hibs top scorer Leigh Griffiths.

Spartans “disappointed” at league reconstruction

by Joseph Birchenall

Edinburgh community club The Spartans FC have expressed disappointment at the SPL’s failure to reach an agreement on leaugue reconstruction.badge

Depsite the fact that the club plays in the East of Scotland league, they have released the following statement:

“We are very disappointed to learn of the outcome of today’s SPL vote on league reconstruction. Like many involved in Scottish football, Spartans believe that something significant is needed if we are to safeguard and develop the game in this country. As an ambitious club we had, obviously, welcomed the idea of a pyramid structure and the prospect that our national leagues would become inclusive rather than exclusive. We had believed that other clubs felt the same and that this time action would accompany the rhetoric.

However, while this decision was disappointing, like all forward-thinking clubs, we will continue to look for opportunities to progress and strengthen the sport for all and endeavour to work with like-minded clubs to make it more equitable.”

We interviewed Spartans FC Chairman Craig Graham today:

“Staying up in the premier league is not as easy as people think”

Dunfermline face Dundee United tomorrow. Propping up the premiere league, every game counts. Jim Leishman, ex-player and director of football at Dunfermline, talks relegation, Rangers and a rough year.

“With football you’ve got to get results. We’re bottom of the league. A lot of times its not just the manager’s fault. It would be totally unfair to say were bottom of the league because Jim MacIntyre’s not a good manager. Just eight months before, he won the first division championship and it was great. I was part of the celebrations, I saw the delight in the families, I saw the delight of the players.

“Loads of things determine what league position you are. If you’ve got 3 million pounds to spend on players and you’re still at the bottom of the league you can get judged, it’s your fault.

“In Jim MacIntyre’s case he had loads of injuries. He brought players in and some of the top players were getting injured within two games. Now that is just real hard luck. But the public judge on league positions, and results and unfortunately Jim paid the price for that.”

Is there still time for Jim Jefferies to save Dunfermline from relegation?

“When I took over we had three games to go and we were bottom and we managed to stay up. Jim’s got seven chances to keep us up. So we’ve just got to start winning and believing this week.

“Hopefully he’s better than me. That’s the objective; try to give the players a lift, a new voice a new idea. Hopefully it works in a positive way.”

“Would you have liked to be the manager?”

“No, dinnae! I’ve worn that t-shirt, been there, seen it, done it, and you know – no.”

Because the blame’s laid at the manager’s door?

“I get the blame for everything anyway. It doesn’t bother me now! No, it does. It upsets you. No, I’ve been a manager since twenty-nine, I’ve done loads of things. So I’m content with what I’ve done. I’m fine with the director role. Would I like to be in charge of real Madrid?” a dubious pause and Jim starts laughing. “No as big as the pars. I’m with the big team.”

Has Rangers paid off its full debt to Dunfermline?

“We’re due 83 thousand pounds, and we’ve received 40 thousand pounds. The other moneys on its way in April sometime. The (Pars) players have been paid their basic salary. There’s still due some money for bonus and appearance money which were hoping to get that paid as soon as we can.”

Does he think the future of Scottish football is in trouble?

“It’s been a strange year, talking about league reconstruction, going down to ten, going up to sixteen, staying at twelve. I think that started to become a negative, chatting about that all the time. I don’t think that helps.

“When you do your budgets at the start, you estimate how many supporters are gonna come through the gate. For different reasons this year, we haven’t achieved those figures.

Our first game we expected seven or eight thousand people. Then they changed it from the Saturday to the Monday evening. And we get five and a half. Then Hibbs, estimated 6000, but averaged 4100. So that was harsh. We lost that revenue, we had a postponed game, storm damage and them the Rangers thing hit. So these are things that you don’t plan for.”

Was scoring the last winning goal at Ibrox one of your career highlights?

“That was great. That was forty years ago, April 72, thats the last time they won at Ibrox.”

“But it does mean that if Dunfermline win now against Rangers, your record is broken.”

“They better not! No, of course you want them to win, but, I just milk it, I’ve had some good fun with it. Everybody expects me to say that now, but it was a great achievement. I was only young at the time, eh? We won four-three, I scored the first goal it was great,. Loads of things. I was a Dunfermline supporter, and signing for the club was an amazing feature. Promotion as a player. Promotion as a manager. Nowadays, staying up in the premiere league is a major feature. Its not as easy as people think.”

The Weekend in Sports

By: Maxim Lewerenz

Photo taken by George Groutas


Celtic are still on track on winning their first SPL title in four years and doing so possibly by a record margin. The ten point deduction of archrivals Rangers means Celtic can reclaim the points lost at last weekend’s Old Firm match by beating St. Johnstone on Sunday, with second and third placed Rangers and Motherwell taking each others points.

In the Barclay’s Premier League Manchester City will face Sunderland at home without star striker Sergio Aguero. A win would mean the Citizens would overtake Manchester United by their superior goal difference. At least until Monday, when United will travel to Blackburn.

QPR will host the rejuvenated Arsenal at a London derby on Saturday.

On Sunday traditional sides Newcastle and Liverpool will battle for a place in Europe.


Today at 3pm Andy Murray will face Rafael Nadal at the Semi-Finals of the Miami Open. World number one Novak Djokovic will meet 21th ranked Juan Monaco later on at 7pm for a place in the final on Sunday.


At the Shell Houston Open the World’s Number 10 Carl Petersson and  Argentinian Angel Cabrera are  currently tying at the top of the field. Ernie Else, who needs to win the Open to gain a place in the Masters, is one under after two.


Edinburgh Rugby take on Scarlets tonight in the RaboPro Direct league at Murrayfield. They will be hoping to end their losing streak when the match kicks off at 7.35pm. Glasgow Warriors meanwhile have had a fairly successful season and will be aiming to continue their good run of results when they play Cardiff Blues tonight. Kick off is 7.35pm at Firhill.


For more on Edinburgh Rugby’s misfortunes and the return of their international players, click here.

Radio: Sport roundup, March 26th

John O'Groats

Mark and Alessandro look back at a weekend of Sports, with an Old Firm match packed with the usual tension and controversy, Fernando Alonso winning the Malaysian GP and the death of darts hero Jocky Wilson.

We also had a look at the strange case of John O’Groats, a Scots town which won’t see the “real” Olympic Torch.

Round up of weekend sports fixtures

After the drama of last weekend’s Six Nations’ climax, the next two days promise a much quieter weekend of sport.

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In the SPL, Hibernian take on Dundee United on Saturday, while Perth side St. Johnstone face Hearts. Other matches include Aberdeen v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dunfermline v St Mirren and Kilmarnock v Motherwell. The kick off for all matches is 3pm.

On Sunday, there is an Old Firm clash as Rangers play Celtic at Ibrox. Kick off is at 1pm.


In the RaboDirectPro12 rugby league, Edinburgh take on Welsh side Newport Gwent Dragons tonight at 7.30pm at Murrayfield Stadium. The Scottish team will be hoping to get over their recent run of losses.

Glasgow Warriors also take on Aironi at Firhill at 7.35pm tonight.

Motor sport

On Sunday, the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix takes place in Kuala Lumpur. Scot Paul di Resta will be aiming for another top ten finish after his tenth place at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.


Andy Murray will face Colombian Alejandro Falla later on today in the Miami Masters. For more on this, click here.

Podcast: Fabrice Muamba still in critical condition

Fabrice Muamba remains in a dangerous condition in intensive care though his heart has “stabilized”.

Manager Owen Coyle and chairman Phil Gartside again visited the midfielder, who has not regained consciousness since suffering a cardiac arrest in Bolton’s FA Cup tie against Tottenham.

Rumours have begun to circulate that the Lancashire club may pull out of the competition following Saturday’s emotional events.

Club captain Kevin Davies earlier told BBC Radio Manchester that, “Until we get more information about Fabrice’s condition, I don’t think anything really matters.

“I know they were keen to get the game off tomorrow night [against Aston Villa], which is a no-brainer. From then on, we don’t really know as players. It’s all about Fabrice and his family really. The football side just doesn’t come into our thoughts.”

Tributes have continued to pour in for Muamba, with Gartside echoing the player’s fiancé’s call to keep the player in people’s prayers.

Fellow professionals have also been quick to send their best wishes with team-mate Stuart Holden tweeting, “”Praying for you Fab. Hope he’s OK. Thoughts with him and his family. For all those asking, I know as much as you do. Waiting anxiously for updates from teammates. Fab is a fighter!”

Arsenal captain also tweeted “I’m so sad about what happened to Fabrice Muamba today. Played with him for a couple of years. What a great guy. Always a smile on his face. Please Fabrice bring that smile back. My thoughts are with you and your lovely family!”

Following the emotional events at White Hart lane this weekend, Mark McKinlay brings us up to date with the latest news.

Listen Here:

Also in Sports:

Continued salary delays for Hearts Players

Hearts: Another club faces financial difficulties. Image: Zhi Yong Lee

Hearts players have been told not to expect their salaries on time after funding difficulties emerged today. The team is due to receive their monthly salary today, but it is believed that it is unlikely that the money will arrive.

Hearts players were told by board members that UBIG was still attempting to secure the funds required to pay salaries.

After three substantial delays in monthly payments, the squad officially complained to the Scottish Premier League in December.

January’s wages were only one day late. As a result the league opted not to follow up with a charge of “failing to behave with the utmost good faith to the SPL.”

The Lithuanian bank is owned by majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov.

Neil Lennon mail-bomber accused go on trial

The High Court in Glasgow

The trial of the two men accused of a plot to kill Celtic manager Neil Lennon began at the High Court in Glasgow today.

Neil McKenzie, 42, and Trevor Muirhead, 43, both from Northern Ayrshire, are accused of sending suspected parcel bombs to Mr Lennon, QC Paul McBride and former MSP Trish Godman. They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice. They deny all the charges.

The device sent to Mr McBride is alleged to be a plastic bottle filled with petrol and nails attached to a timing device. Cairde Na hEireann, the Irish Nationalist group, also had suspected explosives sent to their premises in Glasgow as well.

The alleged incident marked a climax in tensions during last season’s SPL, with a record seven Old Firm matches resulting in player bans and a high profile clash between Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon. Eventually the Scottish Government called a summit to calm the situation and introduced the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012, which comes into force on 1st March. The legislation means that anybody behaving in a way that could cause public disorder at or around matches face five years in jail.

The two pronged Act aims to outlaw sectarian behavior and singing at football matches as well as dealing with serious threats, often made on social media, intended to incite religious hatred.

How to avoid cold weather football injuries

Snoods: Warm clothes like these help prevent injuries.

Frost is harsh to football grounds and players in Scotland alike,
with an increase in the amount of sports-related injuries.

When the pitches in Scotland start to freeze you are more likely than ever to pull a muscle or two.

According to Kirsty Smith, owner of Leith Sports Clinic, hobby footballers can take simple steps to prevent injuries during the cold period.

“Do a proper warm up beforehand, a couple laps of pitch, then dynamic stretches, and a cool down followed by static stretches. Muscles that are not warmed up properly are not ready to be stretched, especially in the dynamic, ballistic way muscles are used in football.”

Smith added that when your body is cold, “extra time for a warm up may be needed. Also, frozen pitches can be hazardous for studs sticking, so more ankle injuries are possible.”

What should you do if you have injured yourself?

“Come off pitch. Ice the area. Apply compression bandage if available. Elevate if possible,” said Smith.

These three first aid steps are applicable for any leg or foot injury of any degree.  If the injury is serious, go to the hospital, if not go home.

This week in sport

Edinburgh Napier News Sports podcast for Thursday 24th November
Scotland's route to Brazil 2014 announced. Photo: SFA

Scotland’s World Cup qualifying fixtures announced, a discussion of Celtic’s Gordan Strachan approach, analysis of Hibs’ managerial search and Six Nations TV news.

Listen Here;

Champions League Round-Up

Comprehensive coverage of all big games in this week’s UEFA Champions League.

Listen Here;

Balotelli strikes again

By Edoardo Zandona’

Mario Balotelli when playing for Inter Milan. Credit: Steindy.

Since his arrival at Manchester City for £24 million pounds last summer, Italian striker Mario Balotelli has gained more attention for his off the field antics than for his performances on the pitch.

The Sun reports today about his latest exploit. Apparently, the footballer tried to start a fight with Jenny Thompson, an escort already involved in Wayne Rooney’s scandal, in a restaurant in Manchester after the Man City – Aston Villa game on March 2. According to the tabloid’s reconstruction, Balotelli approached the woman with a “Rooney, Rooney” chant, and taunted her with laughing and vulgar gestures. He then blew a raspberry in the face of one of the commensals, Sam Birch, and invited him to “come outside”.

Birch told the Sun: “He was acting crazy. I think he is unhinged”. Balotelli’s record in Manchester City so far is disappointing. While only scoring 6 goals in 12 appearances with the Sky Blues, he has collected 9 yellow cards and 2 red cards, earning him a ‘bad boy’ reputation.

Football: SPL round-up

by Tony Garner

In the SPL both Old Firm sides won at the weekend to keep the title race bubbling almost as high as the bad blood between them. Goals from Kris Commons helped Celtic beat Hamilton 2-0 on Saturday, while Kyle Bartley was Rangers’ unlikely goal hero as they squeezed past St Mirren 1-0 on Sunday.

Hearts faint hopes of troubling the top two seem to be over after a 2-0 home reverse against Kilmarnock. Silva and Eremenko, who was later sent off, were on target for the visitors.

Shane Sutherland, Richie Foran and Alex MacDonald were the scorers as Caley Thistle had a confidence boosting 3-0 win at home to Motherwell. In the weekend’s only draw St Johnstone and Hibernian ended 1-1 at McDiarmid park, with David Wotherspoon cancelling out Richie Towell’s own goal.

Football Round Up

By Tony Garner

After Wayne’s lunchtime wondergoal you could be forgiven for thinking that no other football took place over the weekend.

But, bicycle related hyperbole aside, it was a fairly standard two days of action both north and south of the border.

In Scotland, Celtic turned over the challenge of Dundee United with a 3-1 win to restore their five point lead over Rangers, who romped to a 6-0 win over hapless Motherwell, whilst there were wins for both Hibernian and Hearts against Kilmarnock and Hamilton respectively. St Mirren and Inverness Caledonian Thistle played out an entertaining 3-3 draw.

In the Premiership, Arsenal kept up the chase on Manchester United with a 2-0 victory against Wolves at the Emirates stadium. With Chelsea not playing until Monday night, Spurs took advantage and moved into fourth place with a win away at Sunderland.  Alex McLeish’s gritty Birmingham nicked a crucial win over Stoke in the final minute of stoppage time.  Apart from that, a series of draws meant it was largely ‘as you were’ in the lower reaches of the league.

All eyes are now on the Champions League matches on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The big game of the week is Arsenal taking on Barcelona in a rerun of last year’s second round game where the Gunners were cruelly dispatched by a four goal salvo from Lionel Messi.

Levein will give youth a chance against Faroes

By Christopher Hall

Scotland Manager Craig Levein has elected to hand three new players their first call-up in an international friendly against the Faroe Islands next Tuesday.

With an average squad age of 25, youth appears to have taken precedence and no players over 30 year old will appear in the tie at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie stadium.

Dundee United’s David Goodwillie (21), Liverpool’s Danny Wilson (18) and Aston Villa’s Barry Bannan (20) will all be hoping to receive their first full Scotland caps at the friendly match in Aberdeen.

In-form Kilmarnock Goalkeeper Cammy Bell and Blackpool’s Matthew Gilks also return to the squad, the latter helping the Bloomfield road side to a respectable 14th place in the English Premiership.

The National team bosses new caps will be supported by several other established members of squad, such as Gary Caldwell, Steven Naismith and Darren Fletcher who all retain their places, off the back of the recent Euro 2012 qualifying loss to Spain at Hampden Park.

Dundee United's David Goodwillie will be hoping to strike down the Faroes on Tuesday

Levein is certain, however, that the players chosen are not simply for experimental purposes, but can also bring something positive to the squad.

He said: “I think anybody who’s on this list here is somebody who I feel can add something to the Scotland National Team. With some of the guys the might not be that eminent, other than for this match. I want to have a look at and probably get to know some of the guys as well”

He also hoped the younger players would be able to make an impact on and off the field, adding: “We’ve got some younger ones in who have been doing particularly well and I’d be interested in seeing how they do not just in the match but in training as well”

Dave Macdonald of Scottish football forum Pie and Bovril also feels that the new call ups will bring positives to the team and also give the Aberdonian public a good result on Tuesday evening.

“I think it’s a sensible move by Levein to give some of the promising youngsters a chance on the international stage. David Goodwillie has been in brilliant form lately and is full deserving of the call up whilst it will do no harm at all for the likes of Danny Wilson and Matt Gilks to get a taste of international football. I’m looking forward to seeing what the youngsters can do and hope we can win by a few goals to give the Aberdeen public some long overdue cheer”

The Faroe Islands include three British based players in their squad for the friendly. Joan Simun Edmundsson of Newcastle United and Goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen of Manchester City are incuded, whilst Ross County fans will be familiar with defender Atli Gregersen. The defender has made one appearance for the Dingwall side since joining in the summer from Vikingur Gota.


Goalkeepers: Bell (Kilmarnock), Gilks (Blackpool), Gordon (Sunderland).

Defenders: Bardsley (Sunderland), Berra (Wolves), Caldwell (Wigan), Hutton (Tottenham), Whittaker (Rangers), Wilson (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Adam (Blackpool), Bannan (Aston Villa), Burke (Cardiff), Commons (Derby), Dorrans (West Brom), Fletcher (Manchester United), Morrison (West Brom)

Forwards: Goodwillie (Dundee United), Kyle (Hearts), Mackie (Queens Park Rangers), Naismith (Rangers).

Faroe Islands:

Goalkeepers: Nielson (Tranmere), Thomsen (HB)

Defenders: Baldvinsson (Algard), Davidsen (NSI), Frederiksberg (NSI), Gregersen (Ross County), Jacobsen (Vikingur), Naes (B36), Rubeksen (HB)

Midfielders: Elttor (B36), Hansen (HB), Lokin (NSI), Petersen (NSI), Poulsen (HB), Udsen (EB/ST)

Forwards: Edmundsson (Manchester City), Holst (Silkeborg), Mouritsen (B36).

Blackburn poultry takeover still on

By Tony Garner

chicken nuggets have helped make Venky's fortune

An Indian businessmen has given assurances to fans of English Premiership football club Blackburn Rovers that he will put their interests first in his dispute with Venky’s, the Indian poultry conglomerate whose £46m takeover of Blackburn is expected to go through this month.

Saurin Shah claimed that Venky’s had promised him that they would mount the takeover bid as a joint venture, but had broken their word when they decided to go ahead alone.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Niranjan Shah, Saurin Shah’s uncle and the head of his consortium, said: “Blackburn needed proper money and we thought we could achieve that with Venky’s.  We then read in the newspapers that Venky’s has made a deal… We don’t want to fight.  Our concern is Blackburn.”

Blackburn enjoyed a reputation as the richest club in the land in the 1990’s, when local fan and steel baron Jack Walker ploughed his £300m fortune into acquiring the talent that won them their first league title for eighty three years.   But football economics has since mushroomed, and the £7m transfer warchest Venky’s have suggested would be made available in January represents a paltry sum.

It was only three months ago that Blackburn seemed set to be taken over by a different Indian investor, Ahsan Ali Syed, who claimed he would make transfer funds of £100m available.  Syed’s interest ended when a BBC investigation revealed that he had failed to pay rent debts from his flat in the UK.

The Venky’s investors have been eager to convince fans of Blackburn that they are serious about improving the fortunes of the team.  Events at Liverpool and Manchester United have made fans wary of the foreign investor who views a football club as a source of liquid assets, very useful for servicing other debts.

“We believe we have many shared values and ambitions,” said Venky’s chairman, Anuradha J Desai, of his feeling for Blackburn Rovers.

Many of the regulars at the team’s Ewood Park stadium can trace family origins to the subcontinent, though no Indian player has ever taken to the field for a Premiership team.

As one Indian player on the less illustrious arena of Edinburgh’s meadow’s told Napier News, “cricket is still very much the thing.”


McGhee on brink as Aberdeen lose in Highlands

Under pressure McGhee

By Leighton Craig and Craig Alexander

Mark McGhee is refusing to resign following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the highland derby.

This comes just three days after a record 9-0 defeat by Celtic at Celtic Park.

Support is dwindling for Mark McGhee with an attendance of just 5,197 at Pittodrie, however McGhee believes he still has a future at the club.

He said: “The feeling I got from the fans tonight is that they want me here, so I’m quite happy about that.”

Aberdeen have struggled under Mcghee gaining a mere 4 points out of a possible 30.

However, it is unclear whether the board will continue to back the former Aberdeen and Celtic striker after issuing an ultimatum following the weekends humiliating result.

When asked if he thought he had the boards backing McGhee said: “So far they have, and that’s brilliant.”

Pressure is mounting with the forthcoming fixture against top of the league Rangers at Ibrox which is sure to be yet another tough test for Aberdeen and McGhee.

McGhee is currently at his 7th club following a successful spell at Motherwell and rejected a potential move to Edinburgh side Heart Of Midlothian two years ago prior to joining Aberdeen.