Football: Granada set for stake in City

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The Independent Online
GRANADA IS poised to make a bid for a stake in a second football club, Manchester City.

The television and leisure company last week paid pounds 22m to become the second-largest shareholder in Liverpool with a 9.9 per cent stake, but they are also looking at City. The Maine Road giants are close to Granada's Manchester headquarters and look a good investment because of their huge fan base.

The company has launched a feasibility study into the benefits of teaming up with Manchester City, where a large chunk of the club is up for sale.

Granada kept its stake in Liverpool to 9.9 per cent in order to be able to add stakes in other clubs. Rick Parry, Liverpool's chief executive, confirmed: "That was the figure Granada wanted. If you have one per cent of one club you can't have more than 9.9 of another."

Granada already has strong links with Manchester United and was a partner with Sky at the launch of their own digital channel. Manchester City would be a potential money-spinner in future television deals.

Above all City is still in turmoil behind the scenes, with shares available at an attractively low price. The 24 per cent stake of major shareholder Stephen Boler is still on the market months after his death.

American investors are looking at a take-over package but they want partners for the venture and have been in discussions with Manchester City Council. Granada could also be a potential partner.

A 9.9 per cent stake in Manchester City would cost far less than the same share of Liverpool, perhaps just pounds 8m-pounds 10m.

Terry Venables is expected to be the leading target when the Football Association of Wales draw up their shortlist for the vacant manager's job. The former England coach has had talks with FAW officials who are searching for a successor to Bobby Gould.

The FAW have formed a sub-committee to find a new manager and the officials have also spoken to caretaker boss Neville Southall, Wrexham's Brian Flynn and Chester's Kevin Ratcliffe, while the former Everton manager Howard Kendall is also interested.

Coventry City will complete the pounds 4m signing of Moroccan World Cup star Mustapha Hadji from the Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna today. The 27- year-old has now agreed to the move after talks with the Coventry chairman, Bryan Richardson, and the manager, Gordon Strachan, in Germany last week and was due to fly in to sign the deal after a medical today.

The Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, has made a move for the Norwegian midfield player Martin Andreasen in a surprise deal. Highly rated Andreasen, who plays for Stabaek, is training with Sunderland at their Scandinavian camp and could play his way into a pounds 1m transfer.

Colin Todd is giving Canadian international Martin Nash a trial at Bolton as he attempts to replace Per Frandsen. Danish international Frandsen will be sold to the highest bidder, with Everton and Bradford interested in obtaining his signature.

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