Football: Forest offer chair to Kenneth Clarke

Kenneth Clarke, who like Nottingham Forest recently suffered relegation, has been offered the job as chairman of Forest's holding company.

Clarke, a lifelong Forest fan, has had talks with Nigel Wray, owner of the club. He is returning to the back benches after his defeat in the Conservative Party leadership election last week.

"There are two companies: there is Nottingham Forest, of which Irving Korn is chairman, and there's Nottingham Forest plc, which has no chairman that's the holding company," Forest spokesman Larry Lloyd said. "So Nigel has offered Kenneth Clarke the post as chairman of Nottingham Forest plc, simply because later on in the year there will be a flotation at Nottingham Forest - and who better than the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer to be chairman?"

BBC commentator Jock Brown is likely to become the new general manager of Celtic.

Brown is a lawyer in addition to his work with BBC in Scotland and he has been representing many leading football managers in their contract negotiations.

Newcastle's Faustino Asprilla is set to leave Tyneside and return to his old club Parma, in search of guaranteed first-team football to secure his place in next year's World Cup finals.

"I am not guaranteed first-team football at Newcastle so I will be delighted to return to Italy," Asprilla told an Italian newspaper. "I need to play first-team football all the time if I want to keep my place in the Colombian team."

One player who will not be leaving St James' Park is Peter Beardsley. Hull City were the latest club reportedly trying to tempt the former England striker Beardsley with a player-manager's job, but Beardsley has made his intentions clear.

"I would like to stay at Newcastle and it's up to them to make me an offer," he said. "I think I have a couple more years left playing top- flight football."

Things have taken a turn for the bizarre in the life of Diego Maradona. The former Argentina captain, twice suspended for drug offences and all but retired from Boca Juniors, has hired Ben Johnson, who was stripped of his 1988 Olympic gold 100 metres medal for taking steroids, as a personal trainer on wages of $1,000 [pounds 625] a day.

"I want to be the best in the world again," Maradona said. "Ben's the fastest man in the world - a powerhouse, an animal." A perfect match, some might say.

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