Hamman close to taking control of Cardiff City

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The Independent Football

Sam Hammam, the former Wimbledon owner, is on the verge of completing his move to buy a controlling stake in the Third Division club, Cardiff City. Hammam should complete the formalities of the £3.1m takeover within the next two weeks and hopes to own 82.5 per cent of the club by the time their season starts at Exeter on 12 August.

Sam Hammam, the former Wimbledon owner, is on the verge of completing his move to buy a controlling stake in the Third Division club, Cardiff City. Hammam should complete the formalities of the £3.1m takeover within the next two weeks and hopes to own 82.5 per cent of the club by the time their season starts at Exeter on 12 August.

"We are nearly there, I can't see any problems. I am very keen to get stuck into the club and get things moving before the season starts. I've spent more money than I first intended to, but I have been swept off my feet by the response and optimism of the supporters - they have cost me a few bob already," Hamman said from New York.

The 52-year-old Lebanese businessman has been rumoured to be bringing in the former Wales manager Bobby Gould as assistant to Billy Ayre. However, Hammam has not confirmed this, although he says he is prepared to pump money into the strugglingNinian Park club.

He said: "When you are six foot under, your balance is not on your gravestone. People do remember what you have done in your life and what you have achieved. I cannot promise success at this club, but I can promise every ounce of energy channelled into turning it around."

Martin O'Neill, the Celtic manager, was last night still waiting to learn if he has been successful in his attempt to sign the Belgian defender Joos Valgaeren from the Dutch club JC Roda. O'Neill has offered Roda a reported £3.5m. The Parkhead side's defence clearly still looked in disarray in the 4-2 friendly defeat by Bordeaux on Saturday. Now with just one more game against West Ham tonight to get it right before the league kicks off at Dundee United on Sunday, Valgaeren's arrival would have given O'Neill some hope.

The former Leicester manager insists he is still keen to sign the 24-year-old even if the process passed a noon deadline yesterday and seems set to take considerably longer than anticipated. O'Neill said: "I honestly don't know what is going to happen. But nothing has happened since I spoke about it on Saturday night." The Celtic manager also admitted he would like to have the Leicester coaching pair, John Robertson and Steve Walford, by his side again.

However, he indicated the chances of the trio reuniting at Parkhead are small, with Leicester determined to hang on to them. O'Neill said: "I genuinely have no news. There's a lot of things that are preventing something from happening, and I may have to cope without them. I have known John and Steve Walford for a long time, and if everything was ideal I would certainly look at these people."

Dundee United have signed the forward Neil Heaney from Darlington in a £175,000 deal. The 28-year-old former Arsenal and Southampton player spent time on loan with Charlton and Bristol City during a disappointing spell with Manchester City.

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