Coventry MP to invest in Sky Blues

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The Independent Online
The millionaire Labour MP, Geoffrey Robinson, is one of a group of investors ready to pay millions of pounds to secure the long-term future of Coventry City. Robinson's personal investment has been reported to be as high as pounds 5m, but the MP for Coventry North-West refused to disclose the amount yesterday.

Under the scheme, which has been approved by the Football Association, investors will have a personal stake in players bought with their cash, and be entitled to share in any money made if the player is later sold at a profit.

Robinson is one of four businessmen believed to have invested pounds 8m in the club. Coventry have spent more than pounds 5m on new players in the last three months. "I will be very surprised if we don't finish in the top eight next season," he said.

Bryan Richardson, the Coventry chairman, said: "We are in year one of our strategy. It would be a major hiccup if we were not to survive in the Premier League this season but, if the worst happened, we would just have to get on with it.

"If we can avoid the drop, everything is in place to put us in a better position than we have been for years. If we can have one half-decent season, we will fill this ground every week."

The Bolton Wanderers manager, Colin Todd, has offered Everton pounds 1.2m for Gary Ablett and Barry Horne. If Ablett joins Bolton, it could signal the the sale of Alan Stubbs to Arsenal.

Reading broke their transfer record yesterday when they paid pounds 700,000 for the Tottenham midfielder, Darren Caskey. The England Under-21 international has signed a four-year deal with the Elm Park club.

Barry Fry, the Birmingham City manager, is on the transfer merry-go-round again. The on-off transfer of Steve Claridge to Leicester City for pounds 1.5m after all looks like going through today. Fry has also set up a series of trades that he hopes to complete early next week. The main one would take his top scorer, Jonathan Hunt, to Sheffield Wednesday in exchange for the former Portsmouth and Aston Villa striker, Guy Whittingham. The moves cannot be finalised until Wednesday return tomorrow from a break in Spain.

Fry hopes to create room for new signings by offloading Chris Whyte to Carlisle on a free and Louie Donowa to Swansea for pounds 200,000. Paul Devlin, the Birmingham-born Notts County winger, is his other target.

West Bromwich expect to make the loan signing of the Derby full-back, Shane Nicholson, permanent today for pounds 150,000.