Football: Stoke's Macari link

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The Independent Online
BOARDROOM intrigue at Stoke City may signal the end of Lou Macari's unhappy reign as Celtic manager and his eventual return to the Victoria Ground.

Bob Kenyon, a Stoke director for three years and head of two companies with an annual takeover of pounds 110m, is reported to have made an offer for the majority shareholdings of the chairman, Peter Coates, and vice-chairman Keith Humphreys. Part of the package is thought to be the reinstatement of Macari, who still lives in the Potteries.

Kenyon's fellow directors, who have trimmed the First Division club's debts from pounds 2m to pounds 500,000, are reluctant to sell. But gates have slumped since the departure of the popular Macari in October and his replacement by Joe Jordan, and the bid is likely to win public support.

Macari, meanwhile, has not enjoyed conspicuous success at Celtic, and doubts have been expressed as to whether he has the confidence of the club's new owners.

Alan Stubbs, one of the heroes of First Division Bolton's FA Cup run, has been called into the England squad for next week's training session at Bisham Abbey.

Stubbs is joined by the Norwich midfielder, Ian Crook, Sheffield Wednesday's goalkeeper Kevin Pressman and the Leeds full-back, Tony Dorigo, as Terry Venables insures himself against withdrawals from his original 24-man party.

Wembley will continue to host England home games and the FA Cup final until the year 2002 at the earliest after the stadium's owners agreed to a new deal on the amount of revenue handed over to the Football Association.

Stubbs' club colleague, Owen Coyle, has been added to the Republic of Ireland squad for their game against the Netherlands in Tilburg next Wednesday.

The West Ham United defender, Keith Rowland, is out of the Northern Ireland squad for next week's European Championship game against Liechtenstein. He has a broken leg.