THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Tuesday 1 Chris Waddle has been offered a coaching role at Sheffield Utd but hints that he'd prefer a proper manager's job. He's not stuck for choice: today's new vacancy is at Southend where Ronnie Whelan has just resigned, saying, "Some fans at the end of last season made it clear I wasn't welcome." Blackpool's Gary Megson is the surprise choice as new Stockport manager, while Celtic seem to be having a chat with Portugal national team boss Artur Jorge, he of the thicket moustache and facility in a dozen languages. (Or is that Graeme Souness? No, as you were.) The Rep of Ireland teenies go out of the World Youth Cup at the semi-final stage, beaten 1-0 by Argentina.

Wednesday 3 Celtic's new coach is Dutchman Wim Jansen, once of Feyenoord, and lately out of work after leaving his last job in Japan. "It is a big challenge," he says. "Celtic were involved in the greatest day of my career, the 1970 European Cup final against Feyenoord." Not the greatest day for Celtic fans, of course, but at least they used to get past the early rounds in Europe then. Fabrizio Ravanelli faces a fine of a week's wages (that's £42,000, in case you want to start a whip round) from Middlesbrough for not turning up to pre-season training. He may yet move to Liverpool, where he would join Paul Ince who is about to sign up for £4.5 million. Another man in demand, Chris Waddle, has talks with Hull City about becoming their player-manager, but is said to favour a move to Burnley. Looks like Juninho is heading for Atletico Madrid for £12.5 million after Spurs' interest cools. Assuming, of course, that they ever were interested and not just trying to buy a bit of positive publicity after the bad press over the Sheringham transfer.

Friday 5 Paul Merson may be on his way to Middlesbrough for £4.5 million. "I know soccer is a business and I'm no businessman but this has stunned me," he says. Arsenal have spent £12 million already in the Summer with more signings expected. Blackburn, meanwhile are about to land Roma's Swedish striker Martin Dahlin while Spurs are claiming to be serious about both Les Ferdinand and David Ginola. Just smile and move away.

Saturday 6
The world's gone mad part 47: Roberto Baggio is being offered £30,000 per week to play for Derby. "We have at least a 50-50 chance of securing the deal," says Jim Smith. Spurs have missed out again, Crewe's Danny Murphy following Juninho in turning them down. Danny's off to Liverpool lured partly by the fact that he "knows a couple of younger members of the Liverpool squad". Then again so did Stan Collymore. Chic Bates moves up from assistant manager to become the new boss of Stoke who have spent the summer so far failing to get a bigger name (no dis, Chic).

Sunday 7
Chris Waddle becomes Burnley player manager, saying, "I'm a believer in following your feelings and it feels right," and Nigel Worthington takes the same job at Blackpool. Strange that Derby are after Baggio when it seems they can't hold Dean Sturridge. The player "dubbed the new Ian Wright" (Daily Mirror) has been offered five times his current pay level by Middlesbrough. Spurs are in the hunt but may settle instead for David Ginola, who no longer seems to hold any interest for the big Spanish and French clubs. Sweden's Martin Dahlin completes his move to Blackburn, saying, "It's a relief it's all settled. Blackburn seem very professional." A euphemism for °Ærich' if ever there was one.

Tuesday 9 Newcastle will meet Partizan Belgrade or Croatia Zagreb (a lively tie) in the second qualifying round for the Champions League, IFK Gothenburg will stand between Rangers and the big bucks once the latter have got past GI Gotu of the Faeroes. League champions defeated in the second qualifying round do at least get the compensation of entry into the UEFA Cup, which is not on offer to runners-up such as Newcastle (are you following this?).

Wednesday 10
Ian Wright is fined £15,000 after being found guilty on two misconduct charges related to incidents after matches against Blackburn and Coventry in April. "You will see a new me next season. I want everyone to witness Ian Wright the footballer and nothing else," he says. Peter Ndlovu's £1.7 million move from Coventry City to Birmingham City is called off after he fails a medical.

Sunday 13
A masterclass in getting out of a tight spot from Fabrizio Ravanelli: Everton agree a £7 million fee with Middlesbrough. Fabby, however, believes that Liverpool are about to make a bid for him so rebuffs Everton's offer, saying, "There is only club for me - Liverpool." But Liverpool aren't, in fact, interested. The confusion, it seems, is all down to a hoaxer claiming to be Liverpool chief executive Peter Robinson who left a phone message asking for a meeting with Fab and the Fab people. So now he's just dying to play for Everton. Unless the phone rings again... The League are to seek help from the European Union to overturn UEFA's "grossly unfair" ruling, applying only to countries with top divisions of more than eighteen, that League Cup winners will no longer be allocated a place in the UEFA Cup. Birmingham decide to sign Peter Ndlovu after all, but for a reduced fee of £200,000 with more instalments to be added after he plays a certain number of games. And another trophy for Germany, whose national women's team retain their European championship title after a 2-0 Final win over Italy.

Monday 14 David Ginola signs for Spurs. "He is only the first," says Alan Sugar. "If someone doesn't want to play what's the point?" hisses Kenny. Man Utd splash out for the first time this Summer, on Brazilian centre half Celio Silva who will cost £4 million. Mark Hateley is the new boss of Hull City, described by the club's new chairman Tim Wilby as "the kind of manager the fans wanted", whatever that may mean (tall and balding?).

Thursday 17 Stuart Pearce is given a free by Forest but Dave Bassett denies a personal rift with what sounds like a line from The Sweeney: "We're from the same London manor and we've been as good as gold with one another." Stuart will be joining Newcastle in preference to forming the partnership from hell with Julian Dicks at West Ham. Everton won't be signing Fabrizio, who had asked for £50,000 per week, twice what Alan Shearer gets. No one else here seems interested and he's not going back to Boro... so it's looking increasingly like a restart course. Matt Le Tissier's (faint) hopes of an England recall are scuppered by a broken arm sustained in a pre-season game which will keep him out for at least three months. Bad idea of the day: League of Wales side Llansantffraid are to be renamed after their sponsors - Total Networking Solutions. There's subtle.

Saturday 19 Much kerfuffle over claims in a new book by Alex Ferguson that he was offered the England manager's job before it was given to Glenn. The FA spokesman goes into denial with uncharacteristic swiftness: "Only one candidate was made a formal offer - and that was Glenn Hoddle." Attilio Lombardo may be joining Crystal Palace from Juventus, the money for his transfer being supplied by a "South London businessman" looking to buy a place for himself on the Palace board. "If he has come for a big payday then it could backfire on us," says Palace coach Ray Lewington, unwisely thinking aloud. Fab is talking to Everton again, mindful of Bryan Robson's warning, "If no one else comes in with the money he will stay here."

Monday 21
Birmingham City are to consider changing their name if a sponsor offered enough money: "We need a partnership with someone whose ambition matches ours. We took 48,000 people to Wembley recently which shows our potential to be a big company," says managing director Karren Brady, charmless as ever. "There is nothing in the rules to suggest that we would automatically disapprove of such a change," says a League spokesman. Coventry City, though, were once barred from changing their name to °ÆCoventry Talbot', a Jimmy Hill initiative as we recall. Southampton have turned down a £4 million bid from Newcastle for Egil Ostenstad, which suggests that Les Ferdinand will be on the blower to the removals men any day now, with Spurs picking up the tab. Rejection specialists Everton are turned down by Inter's Swiss midfielder Ciriaco Sforza, who opts to move to Germany. Disappointment, too, for Derby as Roberto Baggio confirms that he's going to Bologna in preference to Pride Park.

Tuesday 22 Looks like Fab is staying put after all, as he reports back for training with Middlesbrough. "He is obviously looking forward to the season and is fully committed to Middlesbrough FC," says a club spokesman. Who laughed? Newcastle sign Inter full back Alessandro Pistone for £4.5 million, while his former teammate Paul Ince is paraded as Liverpool's latest singing. "I don't want to tag him a hard man but he has a similar mentality to Graeme Souness," says Roy Evans. Paul, you feel, will take that as a compliment, though others might not.

Wednesday 23
Attilio Lombardo is not coming to Palace after all, those pesky personal terms proving too much. Easy Euro wins for Celtic, Rangers and Dundee Utd - who could be on for the record aggregate score after beating Principat of Andorra 8-0 away (a 14-goal margin in the return would do it). The Irish clubs are all defeated but Bohemians come close to an upset, missing a penalty in a 1-0 defeat by Ferencvaros.

Thursday 24 Brighton keep their League place after a majority of clubs voted in their favour at an EGM called to discuss the club's failure to pay a £500,000 bond on time. Seventeen clubs voted for expulsion, though, so there'll be some nervous bods in the visiting directors' seats this season. Les Ferdinand seems set to join his old QPR boss Gerry Francis at Spurs for £6 million. From next season Football League clubs will be permitted to take two under-23 players from bigger clubs on loan for an entire year. The current maximum loan period is three months. Speaking in support of the scheme, Lincoln City chairman John Reames says: "This change will legitimise the relationships between Premiership and lower division clubs, and stop it from going underground even further."

Saturday 26 Alan Shearer breaks an ankle during Newcastle's Umbro Cup match with Chelsea and will be out for at least two months, thereby missing England's World Cup qualifier in Italy (and possibly their play-off games too...). Panic stricken, Newcastle attempt to block the sale of Les Ferdinand to Spurs but too late. "Once Newcastle wanted to sell me and Spurs were interested there was only one outcome," beams Les. "Glenn is devastated," says England number two John Gorman. Newcastle's number one fan Tony Blair is so stunned, it seems, that he is unable to comment.

Monday 28 New Labour, new danger: David Mellor is to head a government-sponsored Football Taskforce designed, according to a spokesman, to "right wrongs and get a fair deal for the fans who are the lifeblood of the game". Hurrah for the fans! Well done everybody! From next season, Premiership players over 24 will be entitled to a free transfer once their contacts have expired. Football League clubs, however, want to wait an extra year before following suit. The Shearer injury causes Newcastle's share value to drop by £12 million. The shares have now fallen by 17% since the club was floated six months ago. Fab's agents are believed to have spoken to Newcastle about their boy's keenness to fill in for Al, but Norwich's Keith O'Neill heads the betting as the most likely replacement.

Wednesday 30 Liverpool fend off a late challenge from Newcastle to sign veteran Dortmund striker Karl Heinz Riedle for under £2million (Heinz Meanz Goalz says the Sun). It seems that Kenny Dalglish has been given only £3 million to spend on a new striker which rules out virtually all the names linked with the club in the past week. In our present financial climate, you see, plucky underdogs like Newcastle can't hope to compete with the big spenders. Like, for instance, Arsenal, whose parsimonious boss Arsène Wenger declines to consider a bid for Graeme Le Saux at Blackburn's asking price of £7.5 million, saying, "I could buy a whole team for that." (What a show off.) A friendly with Ajax opens Sunderland's new 41,000 capacity stadium. The club have decided to call it 'The Stadium of Light', which will seem increasingly less of a good idea as the years go by. Dundee Utd fail to equal the record Scottish aggregate victory in Europe, beating CE Principat of Andorra 9-0 on the night, 17-0 on aggregate. 

From WSC 127 September 1997. What was happening this month

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