Football: Kohler forced to quit

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The Independent Online
DAVID KOHLER is to step down as Luton Town chairman and leave the club after his home was threatened with a petrol bomb yesterday.

Kohler took over the club eight years ago but two relegations have seen Luton slump into the Second Division. Some fans have blamed him because of the club's policy of selling players to balance the books. They also complained that he was drawing a salary which the club could ill-afford to pay, having appointed himself managing director. He owns 52 per cent of the football club's shares.

Chairmen are coming increasingly into the firing line - the Port Vale chairman Bill Bell's car dealership was vandalised recently. More seriously, though, in the early hours of yesterday, a petrol bomb and matches were pushed through the letterbox of Kohler's home near St Albans. They were not ignited.

"I've been involved with Luton Town for a quarter of my life and have always tried my best to act in the interests of the club," Kohler said. "What happened is an act that any reasonable person must deplore. As a husband and father of three children, the youngest only five weeks old, my primary responsibility is to them. The police have viewed this petrol bomb as a warning. However, I am not prepared to use my family as a shield or place them in any circumstances that could endanger them."

The Blackburn Rovers manager Brian Kidd is to make an improved pounds 4.5m offer for West Ham's captain Steve Lomas, with the possibility of a cash- plus-player exchange deal.

Kidd's need for the Northern Ireland international increased yesterday, with fears that Billy McKinlay may need groin surgery. The midfielder is to see a leading specialist and may require a long spell of rest.

The combative McKinlay had a hernia operation last summer after Scotland's World Cup campaign and Kidd is worried about going into the vital final weeks without his services. Now Rovers will offer more cash to hasten the Lomas move. They may also try to exchange one of their strikers as an option - Nathan Blake or Kevin Davies could be sacrificed.

Dwight Yorke has applied for British citizenship but does not expect his new status to catapult him into Kevin Keegan's England side. The Trinidad and Tobago international says he wants to be a British national to save time at airports. The Manchester United striker is tired of lengthy check- ins when he returns from European trips with the Reds.

Trevor Francis's pounds 2.5m move for the Crystal Palace pair of Lee Bradbury and Craig Moore has hit a snag because the players will have to take a pay cut. The Birmingham City manager is willing to pay the fee to cash- strapped Palace, but both Bradbury and Moore are on salaries above Birmingham's wage structure.

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