Football: Gunners cash in at the gate

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The Independent Online
THE DECISION to play their Champions' League home games at Wembley has paid off handsomely for Arsenal. Liverpool's gate receipts for their Uefa Cup match against Valencia at Anfield on Tuesday night were around pounds 700,000 lower than Arsenal's income from their Champions' League clash against Dynamo Kiev at Wembley on Wednesday.

A sell-out crowd of 73,256 packed into Wembley on Wednesday night but, up on Merseyside, a gate of 26,004 - well below the 45,000 Anfield capacity and 17,778 down on the average for the Reds' four Premiership matches - turned up to watch Liverpool on Tuesday.

A Liverpool spokesman, Ian Cotton, said the attendance at the second- round game had not come as a huge surprise. "There were several contributory factors," he said.

"It was the first leg of the tie, the match was also shown live on terrestrial television and it was the first of three home matches in seven days. We never expected a capacity crowd for the Valencia game."

Liverpool's fans have historically been lukewarm about early rounds of European competitions, and there was an even smaller crowd of 23,792 for Liverpool's Uefa Cup first round second-leg game against Kosice. The Merseysiders were already 3-0 ahead from the first leg and Liverpool cut prices for the return.

Werder Bremen, currently bottom of the Bundesliga, sacked their coach, Wolfgang Sidka, yesterday and replaced him with Felix Magath. A former German international, Magath has signed a contract until 2000. Sidka, 44, had been in charge of the club since September last year.

The coach of Red Star Belgrade, Milorad Kosanovic, has resigned following his team's 2-1 defeat to Lyons in the Uefa Cup. Kosanovic, who has been in charge of Red Star for 18 months, was replaced by his assistant, Vojin Lazarevic.

Philip Anschutz added the Los Angeles Galaxy to his list of holdings yesterday at a cost of $26m (pounds 15.6m) and now has control of three Major League Soccer teams. The Denver-based billionaire also owns the MLS franchises, Colorado Rapids and the Chicago Fire.

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