Big-spending Palace pay pounds 2m for Taylor

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Crystal Palace underlined their status as the biggest spenders outside the Premiership yesterday by completing a pounds 2m deal with Bristol Rovers for the 6ft 2in striker Gareth Taylor.

Palace's outlay since relegation in May now tops pounds 6.8m, with outgoing transfers raising more than pounds 10m. Taylor, who scored 16 goals in 48 games for Rovers after joining them as a centre-back on a free transfer from Southampton, was not registered in time to face Oldham today.

John Ward, the selling manager, said: "This has to be good business for a player who has played only one full season at Endsleigh League level." The fee, part of which will be paid in increments depending on Taylor's progress at Selhurst Park, doubles the record previously received by Rovers for Nigel Martyn, also from Palace.

Kenny Dalglish has acted to dispel rumours that he may return as Blackburn Rovers' manager. Accepting that his new title, director of football, might be "misleading", Dalglish said: "Ray Harford is manager and has assumed all responsibilities. He makes the final decision on everything. There may be speculation about my future, but that will be dictated by me."

Harford said: "Kenny's saying there's no way he'll come back as manager. It's important our fans know and understand that." Blackburn will bank only pounds 600,000 of the pounds 1m Wolves paid for Mark Atkins, the balance going to his first club, Scunthorpe.

The possibility of Mark Hateley leaving Rangers for Rangers - Glasgow to Queen's Park - receded yesterday. Ray Wilkins, the QPR manager, admitted enquiring about the 33-year-old striker, only for Archie Knox, the Scottish champions' assistant manager, to state that Hateley would stay at Ibrox as long as they were in the European Cup.

Sheffield Wednesday have confirmed that Chris Waddle has formally requested a transfer. Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, said yesterday that Waddle had agreed an pounds 800,000 move to Parkhead, but the player's wife did not want to uproot to Scotland. Sunderland remain favourites, despite Peter Reid's reluctance to offer more than pounds 400,000.

West Ham's chief executive, Peter Storrie, returned from the Netherlands yesterday after meeting Marco Boogers amid reports that the stay-away striker was living in a caravan. Harry Redknapp, the West Ham manager, earlier described Boogers as "not a good signing . . . my mistake", but Storrie said the pounds 800,000 buy from Sparta Rotterdam would shortly resume his career at Upton Park.

Sheffield United gained a new owner yesterday when Mike McDonald, the Cheshire-based Texas DIY magnate who previously tried to take over from Peter Swales at Manchester City, bought Reg Brealey's controlling interest for pounds 3m.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have paid an undisclosed sum to York City - the club who humbled them in the Coca-Cola Cup on Wednesday - for Nick Culkin, a 17-year-old goalkeeper in whom Leeds were also interested.