Football: Bolton suffer pounds 17m financial burden of Burnden

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The Independent Online
BOLTON WANDERERS announced yesterday that they have debts of pounds 17m owing to their difficulties selling Burnden Park.

The First Division club's plight was revealed in figures by their parent company, Burden Leisure plc. Even the sale of striker Nathan Blake to Blackburn for pounds 4.25m has made little difference, and there could be other departures.

Bolton lost pounds 4.7m last year in the Premier League, and they have borrowed pounds 13m anticipating the sale of Burnden Park. There have been major difficulties selling the old stadium because of planning permission trouble, however.

The Blackburn goalkeeper, Tim Flowers, is facing an arm operation that could keep him out for a month. He needs surgery on elbow and shoulder problems that have been dogging him all season as Rovers have struggled. The England international is arranging a date for the work to be done and hopes to avoid missing too many games while he recovers. Blackburn's manager, Roy Hodgson, will give the Australian John Filan the jersey during the absence of Flowers. He is also just back from injury. The Flowers blow is the latest to rock Blackburn in a campaign that is the worst Hodgson has known for injuries.

Celtic are negotiating with Blackpool to sign their promising goalkeeper, Steve Banks, to help them out of a crisis. The Parkhead club are speaking to the Second Division outfit about a proposed pounds 600,000 switch for Banks. They have some key fixtures coming up, including the Old Firm match next weekend.

Banks has earned rave reviews for the past couple of years and has been a target for months. Injuries to Jonathan Gould and Stuart Kerr have forced the Glasgow club to act.

Rangers' head coach, Dick Advocaat, is in talks with the veteran German goalkeeper, Andreas Kopke. The Dutchman hopes to recruit the 36-year-old who has walked out on his French club, Marseilles, after a dispute with their coach.

The Ibrox chairman, David Murray, has given the go-ahead for the signing of a stop-gap after the Frenchman Lionel Charbonnier was ruled out for the rest of the season with knee trouble. Kopke has played in Europe this season, so he could not appear for Rangers in the Uefa Cup and would only be eligible domestically. Borussia Dortmund are also keen on him.

Dundee are on course to upgrade their Dens Park ground in time for next season, in line with Premier League guidelines.

Work on the stadium will begin early in the New Year after new funding packages for a pounds 2.7m redevelopment were confirmed yesterday.

The Tayside club are indebted to the Scottish Sports Council Lottery Sports Fund, who have weighed in with pounds 1m, and the Football Trust.

They have donated pounds 366,800 and also given Dundee a pounds 200,000 loan for the work which will bring the capacity to a 10,090 all-seat stadium.

Huddersfield have decided not to pursue their interest in Jamaica's World Cup captain, Ian Goodison, who had been on trial at the McAlpine Stadium. He played in two reserve games, but Town's manager, Peter Jackson, said: "Ian did quite well for us while he played here, but to be honest he is not the sort of player I am looking for."

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