Collymore joins the Anfield strikeforce

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The Independent Online
STAN COLLYMORE, who was playing non-League football for Stafford Rangers five years ago, became Britain's most expensive footballer yesterday when he completed his pounds 8.5m move from Nottingham Forest to Liverpool.

The Anfield club overcame competition from their Merseyside rivals, Everton, to secure the signature of the 24-year-old Collymore. The previous British record transfer valuation was pounds 7m, set by Manchester United when they bought Andy Cole from Newcastle in January.

"Two things swayed it," Peter Robinson, the Liverpool chief executive, said. "He is young and he is English. He has the potential to be a top player for a long period.

"It is a high fee, but the fact that Stan is English put a premium on the price because of the restrictions which limit the number of foreign players you can use in European competition."

"Liverpool have always been an international club. We want to be competing successfully in Europe every year. To do this, we must have a majority of English players."

Collymore, who moved to Nottingham via Crystal Palace and Southend United after leaving the non-League game in 1990, made his senior England debut in this month's Umbro Cup tournament. His arrival at Anfield jeopardises the career prospects of Liverpool's veteran Welsh international striker Ian Rush, as Collymore is likely to form a new strikeforce with the England Under-21 forward, Robbie Fowler.

"I'm delighted that Stan is coming to Liverpool because he is a player I have admired for a long time," the Liverpool manager, Roy Evans, said.

While Liverpool can wait until August before they resume competitive football, Sheffield Wednesday have more pressing business to attend to. The Hillsborough club will commence their Intertoto Cup campaign at FC Basel in Switzerland on Saturday without a manager.

David Pleat, the Luton Town manager, agreed to take charge at Wednesday last week, but his move was put on hold on Friday when David Kohler, the Luton chairman, applied for an injunction banning Pleat from joining the Yorkshire club until the end of June.

The two clubs have failed to agree on compensation for the remaining year of Pleat's contract at Kenilworth Road, so a tribunal is likely to adjudicate. Kohler is believed to want pounds 300,000 for Pleat, while Wednesday are reported to have offered only a third of that figure.

Although the court did not impose an injunction, it did ask Pleat not to start his new job before 1 July. "What Luton are doing doesn't do football any good," said a frustrated Wednesday chairman, Dave Richards.

Graeme Souness will have distinguished managerial company in Istanbul next season: Carlos Alberto Parreira, who guided Brazil to World Cup glory last summer, yesterday agreed to become coach of the Turkish club, Fenerbahce, after turning down overtures from the United States Soccer Federation. Souness, the former Liverpool and Rangers manager, took charge of Galatasaray last month.

Borussia Dortmund yesterday secured their first German Bundesliga title for 32 years by beating Hamburg 2-0. They finished a point ahead of Werder Bremen, who lost the top place after a 3-1 defeat at Bayern Munich.