Bassett in attack on Blades 'apathy'

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The Independent Online

Dave Bassett's frustration with the financial problems at Sheffield United boiled over yesterday and probably heralded the end of his time at Bramall Lane. His position is less tenable than at any time since he became manager in 1988.

"It's a ridiculous situation," he said. "Nobody cares or worries about what's going on here. I have never been at a club where absolutely nobody cares at all. It's definitely the most difficult situation I have had as a manager."

Bassett has been provoked by a number problems, not least of which is the team's lowly position in the First Division. A proposed takeover by the Manchester businessman Mike McDonald is dragging on, work is yet to start on a new stand and the finances of the club are in such a delicate position that they have twice had to go to the Professional Footballers' Association for money to pay the players.

"The spirit is the worst I have ever known it in my time here," he said. "It's the worst it's been at any club I've been at. But really what can you expect? Eight weeks into a takeover there's no stand and no money. No director is interested, and the players can't even be paid. The club has apathy written all over it and the players are being dragged down by it."

The Blades have lost 11 of their 17 League matches and gates are below 10,000.

Stan Collymore's fight to extract pounds 575,000 from Nottingham Forest over his record pounds 8.5m transfer to Liverpool has been put on hold after Forest produced new evidence they believe will prove he engineered the move.

Collymore claims Forest owe him five per cent of that fee plus a pounds 150,000 loyalty bonus. His case is that he did not ask for a transfer in writing. An independent tribunal scheduled for today has been postponed.

Millwall have signed the Watford right-back Gerard Lavin, 21, for pounds 500,000.

n The Colombian international Albeiro Pico Hernandez was shot dead in Medellin yesterday. The 23-year-old defender, who played for Club Envigado, was hit by seven bullets as he was leaving home for an early-morning training session.