When the names of Brian Clough, Ronnie Fenton and Nottingham Forest were announced as central to allegations of misconduct, it was expected that the charges would relate to the transfer of Teddy Sheringham from Forest to Tottenham Hotspur for pounds 2.15m in August 1992. That deal had prompted the Premier League the following June to appoint Steve Coppell, Rick Parry and Robert Reid QC to look into the details of the Sheringham transfer alone. Only later were their inquiries broadened to include up to 40 other transfers.
The spectre of "bungs" in football had been raised during a High Court battle over control of Tottenham, when Alan Sugar claimed Terry Venables had sought to justify a pounds 50,000 payment queried by Sugar on the basis that "Cloughie liked a bung."
The former Forest manager always denied the allegation, challenging Sugar to repeat it out of court.
The commission members were divided over the matter, Coppell refusing to support Reid and Parry's assertion that Venables knew the payment, initially handed to Frank McLintock, who was acting as agent in the deal, was intended for Clough.