Football: Platt starts his Sampdoria stint

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DAVID PLATT was confirmed in the post of Sampdoria coach yesterday, in fact if not in name.

The former England captain has signed a two and a half year contract as "Supervisor in charge of all Sampdoria teams", a job title necessary because he does not have the qualifications to be the official coach.

Giorgio Veneri, 59, who has coached Serie C sides Leffe and Prato, will nominally be in charge of the team, although Platt will be in charge of team affairs, making him the youngest "coach" in Serie A.

"I am so happy to be here because ever since leaving Samp-doria four years ago I have never given up hope of returning," Platt said yesterday. "Of course I sense an enormous pressure... but anyone who knows me or who has followed my career understands that I always strive for perfection."

The head of the Italian Football Federation, Luciano Nizzola, was officially placed under investigation yesterday as part of an investigation into doping in football.

Celtic are signing the goalkeeper Steve Banks from Blackpool in a pounds 500,000 transfer to bring competition for their No 1 jersey to a new height. The Scottish champions already have Jonathan Gould, Stewart Kerr and Tony Warner available.

The Blackburn Rovers target Ashley Ward will make an instant fortune if he leaves Barnsley - because he is due a percentage of the sale. The striker will make around pounds 300,000 from any deal if Barnsley sell him for pounds 4.5m, according to a clause in his contract.

The former Middlesbrough captain Nigel Pearson has joined Carlisle United as their director of coaching.

The former Sainsbury's director Bob Cooper has been named as the new chairman of Norwich City. He replaces Barry Lockwood.

Brian Lewis, a member of the Colchester United side which knocked Leeds out of the FA Cup in 1971, has died of cancer, aged 55. Lewis played more than 400 matches for Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, Colchester, Coventry and Oxford between 1961 and 1975.