Paul Appleton has defended his position as joint-administrator of Coventry City FC Ltd and has revealed he is to meet interested buyers in the next few days.
Appleton came under fire from disgruntled supporters last week when, after two months of investigation, he revealed he was still to determine where the much spoken of ‘Golden Share’ – which provides membership to the Football League and Football Association – lay.
The Sky Blues, under hedge fund owners Sisu, in March placed the non-operating subsidiary of the club (CCFC Ltd) into administration, although Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) continues to operate.
American multi-millionaire Preston Haskell IV has tabled a bid to buy CCFC Ltd as well as half the Ricoh Arena.
And Appleton has revealed the location of the mystery Golden Share will now only be sought after a new buyer has been selected.
Appleton said: “I am an officer of the court and my duties are clearly defined. As such, these entail providing the best outcome for the company while achieving one of the three purposes of an administration.
“Contrary to recent statements and press reports, the process is complicated and I am still waiting on various answers from parties involved which will assist in my investigation. I have made this quite clear to ACL (Arena Coventry Limited, management company of the Ricoh Arena) who, I am pleased to say, are assisting me in my enquiries.
“I have also made that position clear to the Sky Blues Trust and have pointed out many of these enquiries must remain confidential.
“While my investigations continue, the sale process is ongoing and I am meeting various interested parties over the coming days. When the process is finalised and a purchaser identified, the issue of the Golden Share will be dealt with.
“As I have stressed to various important stakeholders, it is within the gift of the Football League to agree any transfer of that Share. I have had positive discussions with the League and they have been kept completely abreast of the situation.”
Cheltenham midfielder Russell Penn has signed a new two-year deal with the club and has been officially named team captain.
The 27-year-old’s contract was set to expire this summer but he will now skipper the Robins until the end of the 2014/15 campaign.
“I was always going to sign this contract,” he told the club’s official website. “We just needed to sort a few bits and bobs out but it’s all finalised and I’m happy to say I’ll be here for the next two years at least.
“Being made team captain was a big part of why I signed because I’ve enjoyed having the armband for the last few months and I think it has improved my game.
“The main reason I signed though was because I have loved every minute of my last two years with this club.”
Penn made 51 appearances in the heart of midfield last season and wore the captain’s armband during the second half of the campaign following the departure of Alan Bennett.
Manchester City and baseball giants the New York Yankees have formed an agreement to purchase an expansion franchise in MLS.
New York City Football Club will become the 20th club in MLS in 2015 after a deal worth around 100million US dollars (£66million) was concluded.
The two clubs and MLS announced the partnership after a meeting at the league’s headquarters in central New York.
City hope the arrangement will help to expand their profile in the United States, while it is also a potential extra source of income and players.
City chief executive Ferran Soriano said: “New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fanbase.
“We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City soccer.
“In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organisation and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride.”
City will be the majority owner of the new venture, with the Yankees, who previously had a commercial agreement with Manchester United, being an active member of the ownership group.
The new club does not presently have a home but discussions are under way over the construction of a new stadium at Flushing Meadows in the Queens borough of the city.
They will play at a temporary location until a development is completed.
Arsenal have received good news in their pursuit of Montenegrin forward Stevan Jovetic as his club Fiorentina distanced themselves from a deal with Italian champions Juventus.
The Florence clubs hopes of keeping Jovetic were shattered at the weekend when some questionable refereeing saw Milan pip them to Italy’s final Champions League place. His now inevitable sale was never likely to be a bidding war between the reluctant-spending pair of Arsenal and Juve, but it’s the Viola’s reluctance to sell to their already dominant Serie A rivals that has swung things in the Gunners’ favour, with the player also favouring a move to ‘the strongest league in the world’.
Reports in Italy suggest that owner Diego Della Valle would be willing to accept a slightly lower fee (around €29million) for his star man if he were to move abroad, and Arsenal have already been making moves to firm up their long-term interest.
As reported in today’s Daily Mirror, a host of highly-paid exits
will free up plenty of cash at the Emirates – aided by a boost in sponsorship money.
Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has publicly criticised Manchester United for the way they have used former player Shinji Kagawa this season.
The Japan international completed a £17million move from the Bundesliga club last summer but has been played out of position on the wing and been restricted to only 20 appearances in his debut campaign with the Red Devils.
Klopp is angered at the treatment of his former playmaker and insists that Kagawa deserves a central role in the team to make best use of his talent.
Speaking to the Guardian, Klopp said: “Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United, on the left wing.
“My heart breaks. Really,
I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji’s best role.”
“He’s an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw. But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund.”
“We cried for 20 minutes in each others’ arms when he left. One year before that Nuri Sahin went because Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world. If players are patient enough, we can develop the team into one of the biggest in the world.”
A top-class striker is clearly Wenger’s priority, but a Gonzalo Higuain or Stevan Jovetic will not be enough.
Mikel Arteta is one of Wenger’s favourites and understandably so. In many ways, he is a manager’s dream – trustworthy, reliable and consistent at what he does.
But Wenger must still bring in a new central midfielder, who can put Arteta’s place under threat, offer more drive and does not slow the game down.
Wenger would dearly love Abou Diaby to be that man, but the toughest decision of all needs to be taken on the 27-year-old.
Diaby’s latest injury is predicted to see him sidelined until at least Christmas. Under those circumstances, he cannot be given a place in Arsenal’s 25-man Premier League squad.
Andrey Arshavin and Sebastien Squillaci will leave the club now their contracts have expired and Arsenal can no longer afford to carry passengers.
Defeat in the cup competitions meant Wenger’s squad could put together an impressive set of results to clinch their top-four place ahead of rivals Spurs.
But for Arsenal to maintain a high standard over the course of a full season and also perform better in the cups, they need greater strength in depth.
If Bacary Sagna is unsure about signing a new contract, he needs to be sold and replaced immediately. The right-back came good over the final games, but his form up to that point had been patchy at best.
Wenger gave himself a selection headache at left-back with the January signing of Nacho Monreal from Malaga.
In previous years, he may have been reluctant to provide a potential obstacle to the progress of Kieran Gibbs.
But Gibbs has reacted to the challenge superbly and Wenger must recognise that proper competition often brings the best out of players.
For that reason, the central defensive positions still need to be looked at despite the superb form of new first-choice pairing Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.
The top teams generally have four centre-backs to choose from, which means Wenger still needs to sign a new defender and decide whether to keep or replace Vermaelen.
Wenger is looking for a new goalkeeper and appears to be undecided whether to sign an outright number one or bring in somebody to to challenge and push Szczesny.
Since returning to the team, Szczesny’s form has improved. But Wenger may need to look at the coaching of his goalkeepers to get to the heart of the issue.
Wenger will be reluctant to make changes to his backroom staff, but it has been a long time since a goalkeeper got significantly better at Arsenal.
Lukas Podolski fluffed his audition to play as a central striker while Olivier Giroud was suspended and was too inconsistent on the left.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will expect to push on and reclaim a regular starting spot next season.
Both players will know their World Cup places could also be at stake for Germany and England, respectively, and it will fall on Wenger to make the decisive call.
The stakes are high for Wenger and Arsenal, but they have to twist.
It has to be the clinching of United’s 20th title, with four games to spare and, fittingly, with a stunning hat-trick from Robin van Persie, who was arguably their player of the season.
After the agonising way in which United lost the title to Manchester City on the last day of last season, on goal difference with virtually the last kick of the campaign, the manner in which they reclaimed it was nothing short of sensational.
Going out of the Champions League to Real Madrid at the last 16 stage when United were in complete control against Jose Mourinho’s side at Old Trafford.
Nani’s controversial dismissal changed the game completely, United were in disarray and shipped two goals in quick succession to go out. Up until Nani’s sending-off, Ferguson’s tactics were spot on, including leaving Wayne Rooney on the bench.
Player of the season
For me, there are two candidates for Player of the Season for United – Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick. Van Persie plundered 30 goals in his debut season for United, following his move from Arsenal, while Carrick was a model of consistency in central midfield, his elegance on the ball, vision and passing a joy to watch.
But it was van Persie’s goals, particularly in the first half of the season, not to mention his numerous assists, that gave United the platform for their league triumph, so he’s my Player of the Season.
The superlatives have been exhausted with regard to Ferguson in the weeks since he announced his retirement but, set against his remarkable record of honours, they are entirely justified. We will never see his like again.
Overall rating for the season: A
In pre-season, Ferguson declared winning back the Premier League was United’s priority, ahead of glory in the Champions League. So to set out and achieve that aim, and to do so by 11 points after only goal difference separated City from them last season, was an impressive feat.
The two areas of regret will be the Champions League exit, which came courtesy of a contentious red card, and the FA Cup, where United blew a 2-0 lead at home to Chelsea in the quarter-finals and them lost the replay at Stamford Bridge.
United will be expected to retain their title and go further in the Champions League, while there is a huge desire to end the club’s 10-year wait to win the FA Cup. But, given the significant change at the top, patience has to be the key virtue as everyone at United adjusts to life after Fergie and the inevitable uncertainty that lies ahead now he is no longer at the helm.
Given it was Fergie’s last season, a couple of highlights would have to be when he dug me out on a couple of occasions in press conferences. Not exactly hairdryer moments, but amusing nonetheless.
At the pre-match press conference ahead of United’s game against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, Ferguson was blinded by the glare of flashlights and failed to spot me when I asked a question.
But then a smile spread across his face as he said: “Ah, I should have recognised that voice – it’s like a poison creeping all over my body! Oh, hello David!”, which sent the assembled room into meltdown.
And, on his final press conference as United boss, I asked him what he would miss the most, to which he replied – smiling, I hasten to add – “Not you, that’s for sure! I’ll have a picture of you up on my wall, saying ‘I escaped him!’”
Despite the bans, rows, hairdryer blasts and occasional fall-outs, we will miss Ferguson because he was, simply, a one-off.
James Dayton’s desire to play for Oldham impressed boss Lee Johnson.
Oldham beat off fierce competition to sign the midfielder, who was officially unveiled by the npower League One club on Monday.
Dayton moved to Boundary Park from Kilmarnock after rejecting the SPL side’s offer of a new three-year contract.
“I know there were other clubs who would have paid more than we can which shows a desire by James to be here at Oldham,” Johnson told the Latics’ official website.
“James is proven. He has done very well in Scotland and Kilmarnock wanted him to stay.
“I am delighted to have signed a player of his pedigree and talent. I am sure he will do very well for us.”
Dayton, 24, has signed a two-year deal with Oldham.
The Londoner was at Crystal Palace between the ages of 10 and 20 and had loan spells with Yeovil and Crawley before signing for joining Kilmarnock in August 2010.