Football: Goldberg `will lead Palace takeover'

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The Independent Online
CRYSTAL PALACE'S administrator is expected to announce today that he has approved a takeover bid for the financially troubled club led by Mark Goldberg, the chairman who took the First Division side into administration with debts of pounds 20m.

Simon Paterson of Moore Stephens met with officials from Palace and the Football League yesterday to discuss the club's future. Having considered two bids for the club - one by a group of Palace directors, the other by City investors organised by Goldberg - Paterson decided that he will recommend that the latter is put to the club's creditors, according to Palace sources.

It is understood that the City consortium have offered to inject around pounds 10.4m into Palace, but the identities of the consortium's members remain secret. Goldberg has admitted that he organised the group, but what his future role at Palace will be remains unclear.

Officially, the League has said that it will not object to his involvement if the club can be saved. In private, it would rather he was no longer in the picture. Before the deal can be completed, the club's creditors must approve the takeover, probably within a month. If they do not, or if the consortium fail to produce the money they have promised, the directors' consortium might have a chance to have their bid - also worth around pounds 10m - reconsidered.

Elsewhere, the Welsh international Mark Pembridge was last night due to complete his pounds 800,000 move from Benfica to Everton, after a medical at Goodison. West Ham, meanwhile, have had a pounds 1m bid for Gary Charles rejected by the Portuguese club, who have completed another deal that has seen Pembridge's international colleague, Dean Saunders, move to Bradford.

Saunders has moved on a free transfer and is understood to have signed a two-year deal worth pounds 12,000 a week.

Manchester City's manager, Joe Royle, hopes to make Danny Granville a full-time signing from Leeds after an impressive loan spell, and is understood to be willing pay pounds 1m for the former Chelsea defender.

Birmingham's left-back Simon Charlton will miss the first month of the season following a groin operation. The former 27-year-old Southampton defender has suffered with injuries since last November.

The former Crystal Palace defender Jeff Hopkins has been appointed as the new coach of the Australian National Soccer League side Gippsland Falcons. The 35-year-old played centre-back for the Victoria club last year.

St Johnstone's Northern Ireland international defender Danny Griffin is having a trial loan period at Charlton which may become permanent.

Japan's Nagoya Grampus Eight have refused to release their Yugoslav captain, Dragan Stojkovic, for a Euro 2000 qualifier against Croatia on 18 August because they need him for a league fixture.

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