Football: Souness signs Dutch defender

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The Independent Online
Graeme Souness has signed the Dutch defender Ulrich van Gobbel from the Turkish club he used to manage, Galatasaray, to strengthen Southampton's back four, according to reports last night.

The tough, 24-year-old stopper, whom Souness also signed from the Dutch club Feyenoord during his stint in Istanbul, reportedly cost a Southampton record fee of pounds 1.3m and agreed a three-year contract at The Dell.

Ray Harford, whose Blackburn Rovers side are two places below Southampton at the bottom of the Premiership, looks ready to gamble on Graeme Le Saux's fitness. He has arranged a private game with Tranmere today to give the England left-back a run-out in the hope that he will be able to play at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Queen's Park Rangers players have indicated they will boycott their Sky TV match against Crystal Palace on 10 November should a strike be called this week. The Professional Footballers' Association are in dispute with the Football League, claiming they are entitled to 10 per cent of TV revenue. Players have until today to return their ballot forms and an announcement will be made on Saturday.

Fulham have turned down a request by Brighton's chief executive, David Bellotti, to ground share at Craven Cottage next season, citing an agreement with the local council not to share.

The Valencia striker Romario has returned home to Brazil and says he will not play for the Spanish club while Luis Aragones remains coach. The Rio de Janeiro club, Flamengo, have begun negotiations to try to buy back Romario, who only joined Valencia in August.

A former referee, John Lloyd, claimed Premiership officials this season "do as they're told" for fear of losing their positions. Lloyd, who refereed in the Premier and football leagues and was an international official before retiring at the end of last season, also criticised League assessors, saying: "Assessors are often people with no experience of refereeing at the highest level. "

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