Sugar strengthens grip on Spurs: Former Amstrad manager appointed to Tottenham board

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ALAN SUGAR, the chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, has tightened his grip on the football club company with the appointment to the board of Claude Littner, formerly of Amstrad.

Mr Littner is appointed managing director of Tottenham and will be in charge of all non-football activities. He fills a gap left by Terry Venables, the former team manager and chief executive, who was sacked by Mr Sugar in May.

Ossie Ardiles, the former Spurs player hired in the summer by Mr Sugar as manager, is responsible for football-related activities.

Mr Littner held senior management roles at Amstrad - the electronics company where Mr Sugar made his fortune. A spokesman for Tottenham described Mr Littner as a professional manager.

News of the appointment came as Tottenham published results for the year ended 31 May. In line with a profits warning issued by the company on 19 October, annual pre-tax profits were up pounds 0.2m at pounds 3.3m - the same as it made in the first half. Tottenham said second-half profits were wiped out by the cost of repairs to the White Hart Lane stadium and the cost of litigation with Mr Venables, who is suing for wrongful dismissal. The repair bill was pounds 600,000 and the legal fees were pounds 550,000. However, the underlying profitability was still unclear. A final pounds 2.8m from the sale of the star player Paul Gascoigne to Lazio, the Italian club, accounted for most of the pounds 3.3m profit.

Also disclosed is a provision of pounds 150,000 for the cost of outstanding litigation with Mr Venables. But no compensation for loss of office is envisaged.

Tottenham is paying a final dividend of 2p, making 5p for the year. Mr Sugar, as a 47 per cent shareholder, will be the main beneficiary - earning pounds 375,000 in addition to his salary as chairman.

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