Football: Frustrated Smith sees Campbell as saviour

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The Independent Online
WALTER SMITH yesterday pleaded for an end to Everton's takeover tribulations as he sought to face up to the relegation struggle ahead.

The Goodison manager has finally lost patience with thewrangling over the Toffees' future, which has been continuing since November. Now, after successive defeats by the Premiership's top two clubs, Everton are in trouble, and Smith wants action from the people who run the club. "The situation is having a detrimental effect on the club," he said. "Someone has to come out and say either the club is going to be sold or it is staying in the same hands as it is now."

Smith has sat helplessly watching as the vice-chairman, Bill Kenwright, has spent the past four months trying to put together a consortium to raise around pounds 50m to buy out the former chairman Peter Johnson's 68 per- cent holding. That now is unlikely to happen before the end of the season.

"The matter must be resolved, or we must be told what is going on," Smith said. "From my point of view this cannot go on. It was incredible to read Alex [Ferguson, the Manchester United manager] complaining that his club is in limbo - when you look a Everton we have been like this since November. It's about time that was settled and people knew exactly where they stood and which direction the club was going. It has all been very frustrating."

One player that Smith may turn to in an effort to expand his squad is the striker Kevin Campbell , who has not played for a month since falling out with the Turkish club, Trabzonspor.

Campbell's agent, Paul Stretford, flew out yesterday in an attempt to bring the player home after he was branded a "cannibal" and "discoloured" by the club's president, Mehmet Ali Yilnaz. Stretford hopes Trabzonspor will allow Campbell to leave for the rest of the season while a political dispute that has reached Fifa, the game's world governing body, is resolved.

It is understood that the clubs have agreed in principle that a loan deal would be the best solution - but Trabzonspor are demanding a small fee to allow Campbell out on loan.

Less than a year ago Campbell was rated at pounds 4m, so Smith would be signing a top striker for little outlay at a vital time for his team. Everton will lose their captain Don Hutchison for the next three games with a ban and Ibrahima Bakayoko has a hamstring injury that may rule him out for over a month.

Blackburn Rovers have no such financial strictures and yesterday took their spending to pounds 18m, with the signing of the midfielder Lee Carsley from Derby County. The 25-year-old Republic of Ireland international signed a four-year deal after moving for pounds 3.375m.

The Sheffield United defender David Holdsworth's move to Birmingham City collapsed yesterday over personal terms, although it may yet be revived before the transfer deadline on Thursday. The Blades' Graham Stuart, meanwhile, is poised to finalise his pounds 1.1m transfer to Charlton within the next 48 hours, with medical and personal terms apparently having been agreed.

The Barnsley manager, John Hendrie, is hoping to complete the signing of the Brazilian midfielder Fumaca today, despite the midfielder having suffered concussion in Colchester's defeat by Manchester City on Saturday.

The Dutch international striker Michael Mols has confirmed he will join Rangers at the end of the season on a four-year contract.

Ipswich Town have completed the signing of Jim Magilton from Sheffield Wednesday in a deal which could eventually be worth pounds 1m. The Northern Ireland midfielder signed up after a successful two-month loan spell with the First Division promotion chasers.

Huddersfield look set to break new ground by signing the 18-year-old Ryan Man Kim-hung from Hong Kong. It is reported from the far east that the Terriers have requested international clearance for the player, who has also had a spell on trial with Southampton.

If the transfer is completed it would be the first time in 30 years that a Hong Kong Chinese player had been signed by an English professional club. The Terriers are also trying to sign the Stockport County captain, Mike Flynn, for pounds 600,000.

Bolton are trying to sign the Spanish winger Francisco Pirri from Atletico Madrid. He arrived at the club for talks yesterday and will join on loan for the rest of the season.