Souness faces charge for criticising referee inept

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Graeme Souness is facing a Football Association disrepute charge as a result of his disparaging comments about the referee Mike Jones.

Graeme Souness is facing a Football Association disrepute charge as a result of his disparaging comments about the referee Mike Jones.

Blackburn's manager will receive a letter from the FA this week asking for an explanation of his comments after the 4-3 home defeat by Watford on Tuesday night. Souness called Jones "inept" and "a clown" for his handling of the match. He also confronted Jones in his dressing-room at half-time when he said the referee "looked like a cornered rat".

However, Souness has a good record recently and the FA may let him off with a strong warning - and a reminder to keep his temper.

Blackburn threw away a two-goal advantage in that game, which underlined the reason Souness is looking for a new defender. They bid for Lucien Mettomo but that deal now looks likely to fall through, leaving both Rovers and the player unhappy.

Mettomo has walked out on his French club, St-Etienne, because he says they broke two promises to sell him to Rovers, if they offered £5m. The Cameroon defender has gone on strike and stayed away from training after the rejection of an offer. He took action after being promised by St-Etienne's secretary, Gerard Soler, that he would be sold at that price.

Mettomo played the last two games after being given that pledge - only to find St-Etienne had refused the bid.

The unhappy centre-half said: "I want to go to Blackburn, I was told I could leave if the money was £5m. I played in the last two matches and was told I could go this week, but now it has all changed."

Blackburn have now made four offers and are anxiously waiting for the row to be settled. Mettomo missed training for a second day running and cannot be found. Now St-Etienne are threatening to stop Mettomo's wages, but he is equally determined to go.

St-Etienne's president, Alain Bombard, is adamant Mettomo will not leave the club . He said: "We won't follow up the proposition made by Blackburn concerning Lucien Mettomo. The club intends to maintain the stability of the group and to confirm their European ambitions."

Manchester City's manager, Joe Royle, has ruled out a move for Internazionale's centre-half, Taribo West. Royle revealed he has been offered the Nigerian defender on a free transfer from the Serie A side, but has turned down the chance. He said: "I have been approached by seven agents about West... and I have said no to all of them."

Royle is still waiting on news from Chelsea about his interest in their Spanish right-back, Albert Ferrer. However the change of management may stall the deal.

Everton's manager, Walter Smith, is trying to sign a French centre-half, Eric Decroix, to toughen up his defence. The experienced defender, who has the reputation of being a hard man, has arrived at Goodison for talks about a £1.5m move. Decroix is available for sale at Montpellier and has an impressive CV with time at Marseille and Nantes in his career.

Smith may make a quick decision on a signing - with the outside chance that Decroix could be thrown in to face Manchester United on Saturday. Smith has injury worries over Richard Gough and David Weir and Everton's patched-up back line has been leaking goals.

Liverpool have signed Gregory Vignal, the 19-year-old Montpellier prospect, in a £500,000 deal that includes a percentage of a sell-on. Vignal is one of the rising stars of French football and Liverpool's manager, Gérard Houllier, has persuaded him to continue his career in England.

The Slovenia midfielder Amir Karic has signed a four-year contract with Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee, officials of his current club Maribor Teatanic said yesterday. The 26-year-old Karic, nicknamed "Bulldozer" for his heavy build, took part in the European Championship last June and has so far collected 36 caps.

Watford have announced they will stay at Vicarage Road and redevelop the ground rather than move to a purpose-built stadium. The First Division club's board has examined a move over several months but has opted to keep the Hornets at the ground which has been their home for 80 years. Work has now begun on the eastern side, the only undeveloped and oldest part of the ground.

"This is a big decision, made only after a long, hard look at all the options," said Watford's chief executive, Tim Shaw.

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