Football: Spurs given all-seat warning

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The Independent Online
TOTTENHAM and other Premier League clubs hoping to win a delay to the implementation of the Taylor Report were warned last night to think again. The message from the authority charged with enforcing legislation governing improvements to grounds was uncompromising: you have the money, you must observe the timetable.

Alan Sugar, the Spurs chairman, said at the club's annual meeting on Thursday that he had no intention of complying with the report by turning White Hart Lane into an all-seat stadium by 1994. 'It will bring the whole of the football industry to its knees if they try to implement it by then,' he explained.

However, John de Quidt, chief executive of the Football Licensing Authority, was quick to isolate Sugar, saying: 'His comments carry a lot of hyperbole. He is clearly speaking for Spurs rather than football as a whole. The situation is that the majority of Premier League clubs are in a much better position, closer to becoming all-seat, than Tottenham.'

Spurs have earmarked pounds 2.5m for a new North Stand and will meet with Football Trust officials next week to discuss financing the work. The Trust is anticipating a request for a major grant but, despite the club's previous difficulties which have since been turned into profits of pounds 2.9m, they are not guaranteed a wholly sympathetic hearing.

'When the BSkyB contract was negotiated the message from the Premier League was that we are going to be the rich boys,' de Quidt added. 'They gave the impression they were scooping the big money. But if they have shot themselves in the foot and are not better off that's up to them. It's hard to feel sympathy for the Premier League.'

Kenny Dalglish, the manager of the Premier League leaders Blackburn Rovers, yesterday completed the pounds 200,000 signing of the 20-year- old Huddersfield winger Simon Ireland. But a late hitch delayed the pounds 350,000 move to Sunderland of the Birmingham full-back John Frain. He was set to make his debut against Notts County at Roker Park today before a complication arose through Birmingham's demand for a percentage of any future sell-on. Nevertheless Sunderland remain confident the deal will go through and expect the 24-year- old to make his debut in Tuesday's home game with Wolves.