Football: Burns pays for Reading slump

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The Independent Online
TOMMY BURNS was sacked as the Reading manager yesterday after the club's poor start to the season. The former Celtic manager, and his assistant Pat Bonner, had their contracts terminated with Reading next to bottom in the Second Division.

Alan Pardew, who was reserve team manager until Reading disbanded their second team at the end of last season, has been appointed as caretaker manager. The former England No 2 John Gorman will be his right-hand man after West Bromwich gave him permission to resign from a similar post at The Hawthorns.

Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed reports that Mark Bosnich could be on his way to Spanish football, saying: "It's a load of nonsense. Mark is going nowhere."

Speculation arose because Bosnich has dropped down the pecking order at Old Trafford since the arrival of pounds 4.5m signing Massimo Taibi, who stands by to make his home debut against Wimbledon tomorrow Saturday.

Bosnich played for United reserves on Wednesday night after being a substitute for Tuesday's Champions' League draw against Croatia Zagreb when Raimond van der Gouw was in goal because Taibi was ineligible.

The former Aston Villa keeper has been linked with Spanish club Real Zaragoza but Ferguson says he is anxious to keep all three keepers at the club because competition for places will mean all will have to be "on their toes".

Ruud Gullit has been fined pounds 5,000 for his comments to the referee Uriah Rennie during Newcastle's home defeat against Aston Villa on the first day of the season. The former Newcastle manager was furious with the Sheffield official for sending off Alan Shearer during the 1-0 defeat.

Gullit had to be restrained by officials and Aston Villa boss John Gregory as he tried to remonstrate with Rennie after the final whistle at St James' Park.

Afterwards he blamed Rennie for his side's defeat, the first of four in five League games that eventually cost him his job after the home defeat to Sunderland. Gregory has also been fined pounds 2,000 for comments made to Rennie after the Premiership clash on 7 August.

West Brom are hoping to sign Middlesbrough midfielder Andy Townsend in time for him to make his debut against Blackburn on Saturday. Albion are hoping to finalise a fee with Middlesbrough for the 36year-old former Republic of Ireland international captain.

Leeds have announced a four-year kit sponsorship deal with Nike Europe worth pounds 10m.