Football: Sullivan stung for pounds 130,000 over Fry: Birmingham's blues

PROBLEMS continued to pile up for Birmingham City last night when a disciplinary commission punished them to the tune of pounds 130,000 - the highest total ever imposed by the Football League - for 'poaching' the Southend manager, Barry Fry, his assistant, Edwin Stein, and the player-coach, David Howell.

Birmingham, found guilty after a 12-hour hearing in London on Wednesday, were fined pounds 55,000 for making illegal approaches to the three and ordered to pay pounds 75,000 in compensation to Southend. The previous record penalty was the pounds 105,000 fine levied from Chelsea for making illegal payments to players in 1991.

The Essex club's call for points to be deducted was rejected. The Birmingham board convened last night to discuss their response, before which their managing director, Karren Brady, declared herself 'flabbergasted' by the ruling and said they would almost certainly appeal.

The latest blow will test the commitment of David Sullivan, Birmingham's Essex-based owner, to the club he bought less than a year ago. The multi- millionaire intimated this week that he might sell up. Birmingham are third from the foot of the First Division, while Sullivan and Brady face a libel action by the publishers of one of the city's newspapers.

Birmingham had argued that Fry exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with Southend to take up the pounds 100,000-a-year post at St Andrew's in December. However, the League's three-man commission, headed by the former Newcastle chairman, Gordon McKeag, rejected the claim.

In a recent 'poaching' case, concerning Ossie Ardiles's defection from West Bromwich Albion to Tottenham Hotspur, Spurs were fined pounds 25,000 in December.

Disciplinary problems, too, for Aston Villa, whose assistant manager, Jim Barron, has been reported to the FA by the referee of Wednesday's Coca- Cola Cup semi-final first-leg match at Tranmere. The official, Roger Milford, ordered Barron from the dug-out after he allegedly used 'foul or abusive language'.

Steve Staunton, who limped out of Villa's 3-1 defeat, learned yesterday that he requires a second hernia operation which will keep him out for at least a month. The Republic of Ireland defender, who has missed three months of the season, has been suffering groin pains which will now necessitate further surgery.

Kidderminster Harriers' hopes of competing in the Third Division next season received a boost yesterday when West Bromwich offered to allow the GM Vauxhall Conference leaders to share The Hawthorns until ground improvements are completed at Aggborough.

The Football League had told Kidderminster - who stage an FA Cup fifth-round tie against West Ham tomorrow - that they will be ineligible for promotion because they missed the 31 December deadline for building a new stand. Their manager, Graham Allner, said: 'It's a tremendous gesture but I've told the players it won't mean a thing unless we win our league.'

On the transfer front, Cardiff City's Welsh Under-21 international striker Nathan Blake is expected to join Sheffield United for pounds 500,000. The deal is unlikely to be completed before the Second Division club's FA Cup tie at home at Luton on Sunday.

The Scottish League yesterday confirmed that it is to keep six Saturdays free next season to assist the national team before European Championship qualifying fixtures.

FA Cup Countdown,

Non-League football, page 38

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable