Football round-up: Blues look to Brown money

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BIRMINGHAM CITY, currently in the hands of the receiver and near the foot of the First Division, are the subject of a bid by an American multi-millionaire owner of 86 shopping centres in New Jersey. Irving Brown, who once had a 17 per cent stake in Spurs, tried to buy Brum before the Kumar brothers took over. Now, he has lodged pounds 5,000 with the receiver in order to examine City's accounts.

He will have been encouraged by yesterday's performance when Birmingham beat fellow strugglers Luton Town, thanks to an 87th- minute John Gayle strike. 'Ever since I was a boy I have loved football,' Brown, 53, said. 'Now I have money, my greatest wish is to own a football club.' There should be no lack of alternative purchases at reasonable prices in the lower divisions if the Birmingham deal falters.

TRAVELLERS' tales told nothing but good news in the Barclays First Division yesterday. Millwall went third when Jon Goodman scored five minutes from time at Notts County. Dean Thomas's fierce drive gave County a first-half lead, but Jamie Moralee equalised 13 minutes after the re-start.

Brentford, unbeaten in six games, had a rude awakening when Leicester City won 3-1 at Griffin Park.

NOW for the 'as usual' portion of the afternoon's events: Newcastle won, 2-1 at Bristol City, making it 18 victories in 24 matches and stretching their lead to 14 points. Familiarity, too, in goals by Portsmouth's Guy Whittingham and John Aldridge of Tranmere, respectively their 30th and 22nd strikes of the season. Portsmouth's 2-0 win over Southend lifted them into fourth position. Tranmere remain second despite dropping two points when Carl Leaburn's first goal in 12 games gave Charlton a late equaliser at The Valley.

STOKE, the Second Division leaders, left it late in salvaging a point at Brighton, Steve Foley's equaliser coming in the 89th minute. Brighton must hope that the Inland Revenue, to whom they owe a considerable sum, are more forgiving. York, second in the Third, could only draw at bottom club Hereford and remain two points behind Barnet. United's point lifted them above Gillingham. Kevin Ratcliffe, the former Wales and Everton captain, scored Cardiff City's winner seven minutes from time at Carlisle. The Welshmen moved up to fifth.

COWDENBEATH, 10 points adrift at the foot of the Scottish First Division, and two Second Division sides, Clyde and Arbroath, have reasons to be cheerful after yesterday's Tennents Scottish Cup third-round ties. Cowdenbeath knocked out Partick, of the Premier Division, at Firhill Park when the Thistle goalkeeper, Craig Nelson, brought down Willie Callaghan and Nicky Henderson tucked away the penalty. The second half was ten seconds old. Ten minutes later, Billy Lamont in the Cowden goal saved a penalty.

Arbroath, managed by Danny McGrain, knocked out Morton of the First Division thanks to a Stuart Sorbie hat-trick; while Clyde did well to hold troubled Celtic to a 0-0 draw at their temporary home, Hamilton's Douglas Park.

Cove Rangers of the Press and Journal Highland League, who knocked out Montrose in the previous round, trailed East Stirlingshire for most of their tie but goals by Mike Megginson and Andy Lavelle in the 83rd and 86th minutes took them to the brink of further glory. Alas, East Stirling equalised a minute from time.

Cowdenbeath were rewarded in last night's fourth-round draw with a home time against Hibernian. The holders, Rangers, go to Ayr, Arbroath entertain East Fife, and Dundee United have to visit Aberdeen.

MONACO jumped to the top of the French League as it resumed after its winter break last night thanks to Jurgen Klinsmann, who scored all the goals in a 4-0 home win over fifth-placed Auxerre. The defending champions, Marseille, are third, a point behind Monaco and Nantes, after Rudi Voller, Klinsmann's Italia '90 partner, hit three and Alen Boksic two in a 5-2 win over the bottom club, Toulon.