Football: Foreign legion under attack from Graham

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The Independent Online
George Graham, the Leeds manager, feels the influx of foreign managers is hindering the progress of home-grown talent. Tottenham are the latest Premiership club to enlist the services of a foreign coach with the appointment of Christian Gross from Grasshopper Zurich to replace Gerry Francis.

Graham, who won the league championship twice while manager at Arsenal, believes coaches like Arsene Wenger and Ruud Gullit have yet to prove themselves in the Premiership.

He said: "It's a shame that some of the English managers have not had all the money at their disposal that these foreign coaches have had and are going to have.

"Why haven't they hit all the English managers with all this money? That's the thing that highlights it more than anything.

They don't have a problem signing cheques for the foreign coaches.

"Gullit, in his first season as a manager, has won a cup and could win another one this year. But with the talent he's got I'd be looking to win the championship or have a really good challenge for the championship."

The West Bromwich defender Shane Nicholson was yesterday cleared of wilful misconduct after failing a random drugs test.

A Football Association disciplinary commission accepted Nicholson's explanation, after a witness gave evidence that the player's drink had been spiked at a party 36 hours previously. The former Lincoln and Derby player had tested positive for amphetamines. However, the FA did find Nicholson guilty of a technical misconduct charge and warned players against spending time in bars frequented by drug-users.

Swansea City have been forced to postpone today's Third Division match against Chester after their Vetch Field ground was ruled unsafe following safety inspections by city council officials.

The West Ham striker John Hartson has been fined pounds 1,000 by the FA and warned about his future conduct following comments made about the referee, Mike Reed.

Hartson branded Reed a "homer" and said he deserved "none out of 10" for his performance in the Hammers' match at Leicester on 27 October. He subsequently apologised for his remarks.

West Ham have signed the Portuguese international forward, Paulo Alves, on a three-month loan from Sporting Lisbon.

Blackburn's manager, Roy Hodgson, yesterday confirmed that he is trying to tie the England striker, Chris Sutton, to a long-term contract.

Debt-ridden Oxford United will listen to offers for any of their players, the club announced yesterday. Goalkeeper Phil Whitehead and striker Nigel Jemson were both placed on the transfer list earlier this week but the club has made it clear that every player is for sale.

Bruce Rioch has turned down an approach to become Northern Ireland's new manager in succession to Bryan Hamilton. Jim Boyce, the Irish Football Association president, revealed that he had sounded out the former Arsenal manager.

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, has signed his younger brother, Martin, who will act as a scout on a worldwide basis. United used him in the search which uncovered the Chilean striker, Marcelo Salas. Martin is no newcomer to football. He coached at Hibernian for 11 years but left Easter Road in a backroom shake-up last season.