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Football: Goldberg offers to pay Palace wage bill

MARK GOLDBERG says he will pay Crystal Palace players' wages out of his own pocket following a financial crisis at Selhurst Park.

The Palace chairman Goldberg has stepped in after players were told a cash flow problem at the First Division club meant they would not be paid this weekend.Wages were due to go through today.

"Mr Goldberg has guaranteed that the wages of both players and staff will be paid in full by Wednesday,:" a spokesman said. "They will be paid with his own personal money."

Efforts to sell some of the club's bigger earners have failed because their salaries are so high that other clubs cannot afford them. The Australian centre-half Craig Moore is on a package of pounds 663,000 a year, a figure that has frightened off both Birmingham City and Leeds United. Goldberg hoped to sell Moore at a profit after buying him for pounds 700,000 from Rangers, but now may have to cut his losses.

Palace have also been trying to sell Lee Bradbury, again to Birmingham, for around pounds 1m. He is on a more modest salary of around pounds 6,000 a week, but a swap deal involving Nicky Forster was called off yesterday.

Rumours of Palace's plight have been rife for weeks. Their caretaker- manager, Steve Coppell, warned the players there would be no money for wages and Goldberg told him to raise pounds 2.5m by the transfer deadline.

Paulo Wanchope's agent Dennis Roach has criticised Jim Smith after the Derby manager voiced his concern at the player's failure to sign a new contract. Smith fears the striker might wait for his present deal to expire at the end of next season and then cash in on a move under the Bosman ruling. Talks between Smith, the Costa Rican and Roach have been going on for nine months.

"To be honest, I don't know the reason why he hasn't signed," Smith said. "It would make him one of the best-paid players at the club. I wonder whether he's being given the wrong advice about his future by those who are close to him."

Barnsley have signed Clayton Blackmore from Middlesbrough, on a free transfer, until the end of the season.