Rogue Trader: Football Special: Four footie chairmen

Newcastle's DENIS CASSIDY, shoe salesman turned soccer svengali, has to put up with free-spending Dutch manager Ruud Gullit, who moved to the club after Chelsea turned down his wage demands. Ruud has whacked up the team's wages bill and now wants to sign some even more expensive players. Off the pitch, meanwhile, Cassidy has had to watch the American cable company NTL decide against buying the company.

Nottingham Forest's ERIC BARNES, millionaire ex-chief of Great Universals Stores, is now staring at a catalogue of disaster. He's also allowed manager "Big" Ron Atkinson to spend much of the company's income on player's wages. And in return, the team are getting themselves relegated from the money-spinning Premiership to the much less lucrative First Division.

QPR's CHRIS WRIGHT must be wishing that he'd stuck to selling Genesis LPs. He merged the formerly Premier-class QPR with Wasps rugby but the hybrid hasn't performed. QPR spends much of its income on players' wages even if the only really good one has been sold off.

ALAN SUGAR of Tottenham Hotspur warned that he would not be buying "the latest player sensation from the Costa Del Kickalot" just so the club could win the odd competition. But manager George Graham has melted the old softy's heart, persuading him to part with a fortune in wages that is bound to be reflected in the company's bottom line. Where have we heard that before?

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