Football: Luton have to call in receiver

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LUTON TOWN, who drew 1-1 with Reading in the Nationwide Second Division last night, have gone into receivership with estimated debts of pounds 3m.

The move follows a month of legal wrangling among Luton's four-man board, which began when their chairman, David Kohler, said he would resign if he could sell his 60 per cent controlling interest in the club.

Despite protracted talks, Kohler has not been able to reach an agreement to sell his stake to the other three directors. Kohler remains as chairman and the other directors will continue on the board. He said last night: "We tried to do a deal but the other directors would not make a satisfactory offer."

Bradford City are bringing Lee Sharpe home from the Italian club Sampdoria today. The former Manchester United and Leeds winger will join Paul Jewell's club on loan for the rest of the season after his short stint in Serie A. Sharpe moved to Genoa during David Platt's brief reign, but is not in the club's long-term plans.

The Aston Villa manager, John Gregory, acted yesterday to try to halt his club's slide by signing the Scottish international centre-back Colin Calderwood from Tottenham Hotspur. Calderwood, 34, signed in a pounds 225,000 deal that sees Villa take over his contract, which runs until the end of next season.

Spurs yesterday lost another center-back when Ramon Vega had surgery on an ankle he chipped during Sunday's Worthington Cup Final victory. Vega, who had the operation in his native Switzerland, will be out of action for a month and will miss the FA Cup semi-final against Newcastle and forthcoming Swiss European championship games.

Kevin Campbell is signing for Everton from the Turkish club, Trabzonspor. Campbell refused to play again for the club after the president referred to him as a "cannibal". Everton will not have to pay a fee for the former Arsenal and Nottingham Forest striker.

Smith was last night also trying to sign Michael Thomas from Benfica, on loan. Thomas, formerly with Liverpool, is available and Graeme Souness has given him permission to speak to Everton. The Everton striker Michael Branch is to start a loan spell with Birmingham City.

Liverpool are signing Erich Meijer, the Dutch striker, on a pre-contract as part of Gerard Houllier's revolution. Meijer, 29, has agreed to join the Anfield club in the summer when his contract with the German club Bayer Leverkusen expires.

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, has valued Terry Cooke, his winger, at pounds 1.5m. Cooke is currently on loan at United's promotion chasing neighbours, Manchester City.

Juventus are set to offer over pounds 12.5m for Arsenal's French striker, Nicolas Anelka, according to Italy's two leading sports newspapers. Corriere dello Sport said Juve have offered Arsenal 35bn Italian lire for the 20- year-old, and are prepared to increase that after he scored twice in France's 2-0 win over England at Wembley last month.

Raddy Antic is returning as the coach of Atletico Madrid on a 15-month contract. The Serb, who guided Atletico to a League and Cup double in 1995-96 but left the club 10 months ago, will take over from Carlos Aguiar, who replaced Arrigo Sacchi on a caretaker basis last month.

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