Football: Rangers will battle to keep Hendry

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The Independent Online
THE Rangers chairman, David Murray, last night spelled out his determination to fight any attempt from Blackburn Rovers to prise Colin Hendry away from Ibrox Park.

Murray is unhappy that the Scotland international defender is being coveted by his old club to lead a new management team at Ewood Park. The Rangers chairman was instrumental in luring Hendry back north of the border earlier this season and insists any approach for the 32-year-old would be unwelcome.

"There has been no approach made to us by Blackburn for Colin Hendry, who is an important part of Rangers' plans," Murray confirmed. "That is why we paid pounds 4m for him in the summer and Rangers are not in the business of buying players for that amount of money only to let them go four months later.

"We could certainly have done without these stories coming out when we are trying to prepare for what is a very important European match against Parma," he added.

Meanwhile, the Rangers coach, Dick Advocaat, insists he is not worried that the speculation over Hendry's future will affect his performances for the club, who were involved in an important Uefa Cup third round, first leg tie against Parma of Italy at Ibrox last night. "If you are professional - and Colin Hendry is a professional - you can handle that, and so can we as a club," he said.

Jack Walker has underlined his commitment to struggling Blackburn by vowing to make a fortune available to the new manager. Walker, who sacked Roy Hodgson when Rovers hit rock bottom on Saturday, also insists he is optimistic about the club's immediate future.

"Whoever the new manager is can be assured that there is money available," vowed Walker. "I will do whatever it takes to assure our status in the Premier League and I intend to do the best I can to get the best possible man in the business."

Manchester United have been given the green light to turn Old Trafford into the biggest club stadium in Britain. United say they have been given planning permission to increase the stadium's capacity by 12,400 to 67,400. Work will begin on extending the East Stand at the end of this season and is expected to be finished in time for the start of the 2000-2001 season.

The increase in capacity, which will see Old Trafford (around 55,000 seats) overtake Celtic Park (60,300) as the largest British club stadium, will cost pounds 30m.

Halifax Town and Chester City have been charged by the FA after their Third Division game on November 10 was marred by a brawl. Twenty players and members of the Chester coaching staff were involved in the scenes at The Shay, and after studying the match video the Football Association has charged both clubs with failing to control their players.

The Coventry City midfielder Willie Boland has rejected a pounds 200,000 move to Dundee United. Boland has been unable to command a place even on the substitutes' bench this season but he turned down the move after speaking with the Scottish club over the weekend.

A refurbished Hampden Park could stage the 2000 European Cup final if the Scottish Football Association has its way. Ernie Walker, the National Stadium plc director and chairman of Uefa's Stadia Committee, is pushing for the showpiece event to return to Glasgow on the 40th anniversary of what is regarded as the greatest European final - between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt, which ended up 7-3 to Real.

Middlesbrough have failed in their attempts to have two recent bookings deleted from captain Andy Townsend's record. An FA spokesman pointed out: "Clubs cannot appeal against bookings except for mistaken identity." Townsend is now one booking away from a one match ban.

Fans planning to attend the Euro 2000 championship will be able to buy just two tickets per game, the Belgian Interior Minister, Luc Van den Bossche, said yesterday. "We want to make sure that there will be no black market," Van den Bossche told VRT radio. Organisers had been hoping to sell up to four tickets per person per game. A date for the start of ticket sales has not yet been set.

Barnsley's Welsh international wing-back Darren Barnard will today complete his transfer to Southampton provided he agrees personal terms and passes a medical.

Barnard is moving to The Dell in a swap deal for the former Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and England midfield player Carlton Palmer. Barnsley will also receive pounds 400,000 for the 32-year-old player.