Football: Goldberg resigns at Palace

MARK GOLDBERG resigned as the chairman of the troubled First Division club Crystal Palace yesterday, though he may yet return in the future. Peter Morley CBE, a director, will replace Goldberg, who took over from Ron Noades promising to lead Palace to the Premiership.

However, Goldberg may be back at Selhurst Park as chairman as he is involved in a pounds 16m takeover bid from a City consortium, which has been accepted by administrators at the cash-strapped London club.

A statement from the club's administrators, Moore Stephens, said: "Chairman Mark Goldberg has resigned from the Crystal Palace FC board of directors. The board has invited the administrators to approve their nomination of company secretary Peter Morley CBE, as chairman, and we are pleased to endorse that appointment.

"We are currently working with the City consortium who are set to acquire the club following administration, and we are grateful to Mark for his considerable efforts to initiate the consortium. We wish Mark well for the future."

Elsewhere in London, the West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, is desperate to strengthen his squad's defensive cover and his two priorities are a right-back and a centre-half, with Ian Pearce and Neil Ruddock having suffered long-term injuries. He has inquired about the availability of Derby's Croatian international defender Igor Stimac in a bid to solve his defensive injury crisis. Redknapp may also sign Gary Charles from Benfica, as the 29-year-old former Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa full- back has been training at Upton Park.

The West Ham company secretary, Graham Mackrell, said: "We have spoken to Derby, but not the player, so I cannot say anything will definitely happen. We have a valuation of him but if that doesn't match Derby's, then nothing will happen."

Stimac, 32, joined Derby four years ago for pounds 1.5m. He has a year left to run on his contract.

Derby, meanwhile, have called off their planned purchase for the Argentinian striker Esteban Fuertes. The Rams acted after talks aimed at gaining the player's transfer from Colon De Santa Fe fell through yesterday. Derby manager Jim Smith had hoped to sign hi for around pounds 2m but the 26-year- old is owned jointly by three clubs and one of them failed to authorise his release.

Derby thought they had signed Fuertes, the second-highest scorer in the Argentinian League last season, nearly a month ago when he joined them on their tour of the United States. He passed his medical back in England, but it then emerged the forward was owned by more than one side.

Even the intervention of the Argentinian FA could not pave the way and he will now head back to South America.

Darren Huckerby completed his pounds 4m move from Coventry to Leeds yesterday. "Leeds are a top club and when you've been fighting for two years at Coventry it's nice to come to one of the best teams in Europe," he said after signing a five-year contract.

Portsmouth yesterday completed the pounds 250,000 signing of striker Steve Lovell from Bournemouth. The 18-year-old has made just one full first- team appearance for the Cherries.

Bristol City have accepted a pounds 200,000 offer from Danish club Odense for Denmark striker Soren Andersen. City have a sell-on clause which will mean they will net 40 per cent of any profit made on Andersen.

Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen have both signed new five-year deals with the BBC. Lineker has stepped into the ITV-bound Des Lynam's shoes as host of Match Of The Day.

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