Football: Inter impressed by Ince

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The Independent Online
Not content with declaring their desire to tempt Eric Cantona away from Old Trafford, Internazionale have now expressed a wish to add the Frenchman's Manchester United colleague, Paul Ince, to their summer shopping list.

The Italian Serie A club, who have already had a £5.5m bid for the currently suspended Cantona rejected, are keen to build a strong new squad for next term. As well as the Old Trafford pair, the Croatian striker Davor Suker, who plays in Spain for Seville, has been watched by Inter. Their president, Massimo Moratti, said: "Ince is the new Rijkaard. I don't understand why he hasn't been playing in Italy for years. I'd sign him straight away, but I know it won't be easy."

Ken Ramsden, United's assistant secretary, said: "It's true that we did have an inquiry from Inter about Paul some time ago, but Martin Edwards [the Old Trafford chairman] slammed the door firmly in their faces. There have been no recent approaches from Inter. It's a damn nuisance to have these sort of stories at this stage of the season, you can't stop the Italians doing it but Paul Ince is a Manchester United player and will remain one for the forseeable future."

While football's lite outfits discuss multi-million pound deals, one of the English games poorer relations will be on the scrap heap this summer, unless a Jack Walker-style saviour emerges in the meantime. Halifax Town, in the GM Vauxhall Conference but for 71 years members of the Football League, are to close down at the end of the current campaign.

Their chairman, Sir John Stockwell, said "combined problems of burgeoning debts and an impossible budget deficit" meant that Halifax could not continue trading. "The board deeply regrets the decision but it is the only realistic one given the current financial situation," he added.

Gates at The Shay have rarely topped 1,000 since relegation from the League two years ago, and they are unable to pay an annual £37,000 rent bill from Calderdale Council, which is now planning to sell the ground for commercial purposes after abandoning plans to build a new stadium to be shared by the football team and the town' rugby league club - themselves facing an uncertain future in rugby league's Super League era.

n British Steel is to end its sponsorship involvement with Middlesbrough - because the Ayresome Park club used mainly German steel to build their new £16m stadium. Only 200 tonnes used in its construction were bought from the British Steel foundry at nearby Redcar, the other 1,800 tonnes were imported.

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