Football: Coventry at odds with police

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The Independent Online
COVENTRY CITY are again at odds with their local police force and are taking legal advice with a view to a claim for compensation. They say an erroneous announcement from West Midlands Police that supporters without tickets should stay away from last weekend's fixture with Liverpool cost them between pounds 10,000 and pounds 15,000.

The game had not been designated all-ticket and fans could pay at the turnstiles. There were 19,779 people at Highfield Road to witness the 5-1 thrashing of Liverpool, but Coventry believe another 1,500 were deterred.

A spokesman for the West Midlands force said: 'It was not our intention to mislead anyone and we can only apologise if that was the case.' It is the second apology from them to the club in a week. They were involved in the ban on the Coventry manager, Bobby Gould, from attending West Bromwich Albion's FA Cup second-round replay with Wycombe Wanderers last week, because it was feared the presence of the former Albion manager could provoke crowd trouble. Assistant Chief Constable Clive Roche has now said that the ban was wrong and Gould, and any other manager, may attend any match at any time.

Arsenal have to face two treacherous cup ties within five days in the new year following the postponement of tonight's scheduled Coca-Cola Cup fourth-round tie with Scarborough because of a frozen pitch at the McCain Stadium. The game has been switched to 6 January; the previous Saturday Arsenal have to visit Yeovil Town, in a third-round FA Cup tie.

At least the delay gives the Highbury club more time to work on their injured players. Those receiving treatment include Lee Dixon (knee), Paul Merson (ankle), Steve Bould (groin) and David Hillier (thigh and knee).

Manchester United will be idle when the FA Cup begins in earnest as their opponents, Bury or Wigan, were prevented from settling their second-round replay last night because of another frozen pitch. The game will take place on Saturday 2 January, with the winners visiting Old Trafford the following Tuesday.

Bolton have completed the signing of David Lee, the former Bury winger, from Southampton for pounds 200,000 (with a further pounds 75,000 to pay depending on appearances), while Cambridge United have paid Watford an undisclosed fee for Steve Butler, the former Maidstone striker. Chelsea will give a reserve- team debut at Oxford tonight to their new Russian goalkeeper, Dmitri Kharin, having been awarded a work permit for the former CSKA Moscow player.

Birmingham City have secured the services of David Speedie, the Southampton striker, for a third month on loan at St Andrews, and they hope to make the move permanent when the club's new owners take charge in the new year.

Mansfield Town, the struggling Second Division club, have been put up for sale. Their parent company, Abacus Municipal Holdings, is ready to relinquish its involvement as soon as a buyer can be found. Geoffrey Hall, the managing director of Abacus and the club, said Mansfield's immediate future was not in jeopardy but after a loss of pounds 700,000 last season, when they were promoted, the situation could soon become serious.

Fan's Eye View, page 25