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Liverpool go for original stadium design

Liverpool have decided to opt for an upgraded and modernised version of their original stadium rather than go for the futuristic designs favoured by former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jnr.   This means that they will not incur further delays by having to seek planning permission again.

Sicilian in for Pompey

Joseph Cala, a little known Sicilian businessman who also has business interests in the United States, has emerged as the front runner to take over Portsmouth.  He was introduced to the club by former owner Balram Chainrai.

Cala has said that he would invest £20m before floating the club on the New York stock exchange.  The logic of this move is unclear as the recent trend has been for clubs to go private and it is unlikely that there would be much appetite for buying shares in a Championship football club in the United States.

Glimmer of hope at Darlo

There is a glimmer of hope that troubled Darlington FC may yet survive.  The administrator is to hold talks tomorrow with a mystery consortium from outside the area to see if they could be valid bidders.  Adam Pearson, the owner of Hull rugby league club, has denied that he is involved.

Relegation would pose financial questions at Bolton

Relegation is never good news financially for any club, but it would pose special challenges at Bolton.   The club is bankrolled by low profile Isle of Man-based owner Eddie Davies who made his fortune in kettle thermostats.   All the club's debt is essentially owned by him and he is there for the long term.

Top clubs could pull out of Champions League

Top European clubs could ultimately decide to leave Uefa and the Champions League and form their own breakway competition as a solution to the constraints imposed by the Financial Fair Play regulations.   There is a growing fear, exemplified by the move of Nicholas Anelka, possibly to be followed by Didier Drogba, that financial power in football may start to shift from Europe to Asia.

Chainrai puts extra funds into Portsmouth

The former owner of Portsmouth, Hong Kong-based businessman Balram Chainrai, has put almost £1m into Portsmouth to ensure that the players' wages are paid this month.   This brings the total he has loaned to the club to around £19m.

Convers Sports Initiative (CSI) to whom Chainrai sold the club went into administration in November.  The administrator has been in talks to sell Portsmouth over the past few weeks but if a deal cannot be reached soon is likely to try and find other buyers.   A new owner is likely to roll over rather than pay off the debts.

Mixed picture for Dundee United

The latest financial results for Dundee United reveal something of a mixed picture, although the chairman is very upbeat about them.   The club is far less indebted than it was, but player sales have played an important role in keeping it on an even financial keel.

Are QPR the new Leeds?

This is the comparison made by Tony Cascarino in a critical article in The Times yesterday who also throws in West Ham United for good measure.

Cascarino reckons that QPR display 'a desperation to stay in the Barclays Premier League at all costs; a sense that the club's future is being mortgaged to pay for the present.  Big signings, big wages, big egos.'  

Branson dons the shirt

The iconic appeal of a top club's shirt was evident when Sir Richard Branson donned one in Newcastle yesterday for the launch of the rebranding of Northern Rock as Virgin Money.  For it quickly became apparent that Branson, who said that he now supports Newcastle United, has limited knowledge of football.   He referred to the club's 'three love' win against Manchester United and his ball control skills in a photo stunt appeared clumsy, leading bystanders to express the hope that he handled the business better than the ball.

Rangers shares suspended

Rangers shares have been suspended from the PLUS market because of a failure to submit audited accounts on time.   However, the club played down the significance of the move, arguing that they had been thinking of leaving the exchange anyway given that few shares are traded.