Football: New Hoddle contract `to be discussed'

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The Independent Online
GLENN HODDLE'S future as the coach of the England team could be discussed at a Football Association International Committee meeting today.

Although Hoddle's report on how England have fared since the World Cup will be the main item on the agenda, it is understood his tenure in charge of the team will also be debated.

Hoddle still has 21 months on his current contract still to run, taking him through to the end of the Euro 2000 tournament (providing England reach the final stages in the Netherlands and Belgium). The FA however, wants Hoddle to sign an extension to his contract - up to the World Cup in 2002 - and a deal may now be close.

Alan Sugar, Tottenham's chairman, has denied the possibility that a new bid to buy into his club - by a consortium headed by the journalist and broadcaster Richard Littlejohn - will be successful.

Littlejohn, a lifelong Spurs fan, had admitted he had "got together" with a group of businessmen and planned to buy 29.9 per cent of the north London club. However Sugar, who recently indicated he would consider selling his controlling stake in Spurs for an appropriate offer and then confirmed he had turned down an pounds 80m offer by the leisure group ENIC, said: "Contact has been made but this is a football fan's fantasy dream and has not been given serious attention by the board."

Meanwhile, Spurs have had "preliminary discussions" with the winger Andy Sinton and the Scotland defender Colin Calderwood over new contracts. Both players' current deals expire at the end of the season.

Nottingham Forest have agreed a pounds 1.5m deal to buy the Crystal Palace striker, Neil Shipperley. The player was due at the City Ground last night to discuss personal terms. The news came as Pierre van Hooijdonk, Forest's absent Dutch striker, said he was sorry for saying the club was "not good enough for the Premiership." He even added he might return to discuss a possible future in Nottingham, but, as he is already transfer-listed and has alienated colleagues and fans, a reconciliation seems very unlikely.

Sheffield United are set to sign a Namibian international, Ricardo Mannetti, from the South African side, Cape Town Santos. The midfielder, 23, impressed United'S chief scout Lou Macari in a private friendly yesterday and will have talks about a pounds 200,000 move.

Leeds are understood to be close to signing the Port Vale Winger, Gareth Ainsworth, for pounds 2m. Vale's manager, John Rudge, will let Ainsworth go after lining up Rangers' Steve Boyack as a replacement.

The Leeds chairman, Peter Ridsdale, yesterday called for an overhaul of European competitions, but insisted any super league must be merit- based. "Qualification for European tournaments, irrespective of who is responsible for their organisation, must be on a season-by-season merit basis and have no permanent member clubs," he said.

Chris Waddle's proposed move to Torquay United has been put on hold because the 37-year-old has a calf strain.

The Charlton striker, Paul Emblen, has joined Wycombe Wanderers for pounds 90,000.

Positive Wenger, page 31

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