Football: Flowers to Ewood for 2.4m pounds

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The Independent Online
TIM FLOWERS will break the British transfer record for a goalkeeper today when he moves from Southampton to Blackburn Rovers for pounds 2.4m.

Ian Branfoot, the Southampton manager, agreed to sell the 26-year-old England international after securing the services of Dave Beasant, from Chelsea, for pounds 300,000. Kenny Dalglish's recruitment of the talented Flowers, who cost the Saints only pounds 70,000 from Wolves seven years ago, takes the Rovers manager's outlay since promotion last year to just under pounds 15m.

Flowers, whose evaluation easily eclipses the pounds 1.3m Arsenal paid Queen's Park Rangers for David Seaman in 1990, is expected to replace Bobby Mimms at Rangers tomorrow.

Leeds United, who lost David Batty to Blackburn last week, have enquired about the Bradford City players, Sean McCarthy, a highly rated forward, and Dean Richards, a promising 19-year-old defender. Swindon Town have asked Coventry City if they can take Roy Wegerle on loan.

Rick Parry, the chief executive of the Premier League, said yesterday that his newly convened inquiry into alleged transfer-deal improprieties 'may be opening a Pandora's Box'.

Parry, promising private hearings in which people can 'come forward and talk fully, freely and frankly' about agents, so-called 'bungs' and any alleged misconduct in player moves, will sit on the panel with Steve Coppell, the former Crystal Palace manager, and Robert Reid QC, a deputy high court judge.

Parry's panel has dispatched letters to clubs, the Football League, the Professional Footballers' Association and the League Managers' Association, requesting written submissions, which will be followed by meetings. Other concerned parties, including agents, were also encouraged to write in. It would not be a 'witch-hunt', Parry stressed, but they 'may be opening a Pandora's Box'. Investigations will partly focus on Tottenham Hotspur, whose recent transfer dealings, notably those of Paul Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham, have aroused much debate.

A report would then be presented to the Premier League board. 'The aim is to produce recommendations which are relevant and realistic and a transfer system which is clean and professional,' Parry added.

Rotherham expect to have Matt Clarke, their suspended keeper, on the bench for tomorrow's game against Hull, despite an FA warning that they would be in 'serious trouble' if Clarke plays. Clarke earned his ban for allegedly handling outside his box at Brighton two weeks ago. Rotherham insist video evidence shows the referee made a mistake.

WALES SQUAD (v Romania, World Cup Group Four, Cardiff, 17 November): Southall (Everton), Roberts (Queen's Park Rangers); Phillips (Nottingham Forest), Bodin (Swindon), Bowen, Goss (both Norwich), Young, Coleman (both Crystal Palace), Melville (Sunderland), Symons (Portsmouth), Speed (Leeds), Horne (Everton), Rush (Liverpool), Giggs, Blackmore (both Manchester United), Saunders (Aston Villa), Pembridge (Derby), Allen (Newcastle).

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