Kewell puts money on Sydney's new soccer Blues

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The Independent Online

Harry Kewell, the Liverpool midfielder, is to became a major investor in a club in his home town of Sydney.

Harry Kewell, the Liverpool midfielder, is to became a major investor in a club in his home town of Sydney.

Kewell will back the Sydney Blues franchise as it bids to gain a place in the new National Soccer League, which is due to start it's first season in August next year.

The 25-year-old will have a place on the club's board and will launch a coaching academy to work in conjunction with the club.

Kewell told Australia's Daily Telegraph: "This is not a decision I have made for short-term financial gain because very few clubs around the world actually make a profit.

"I see this as a chance to prove I am committed to putting something back into the game."

Kewell, who left Australia in 1995 at the age of 17 to come and play for Leeds, is not the only one with plans to invest in a football club. The Thai media tycoon Paiboon Damrongchaitham, bidding to buy a stake in Liverpool, says he will meet representatives of the club later this month to try to finalise a deal.

"Around the end of this month I will go to talk to their executives and I think we should reach some conclusions," Paiboon said, playing down last week's remarks by a Thai cabinet minister who said the deal might have fallen through.

The Deputy Commerce Minister, Pongsak Raktapongpisal, who opened negotiations for the government before handing over to Paiboon, told a Bangkok radio station that Liverpool did not need the money as much as they did before selling Michael Owen to Real Madrid last month.

But Paiboon, chairman of Thailand's top music and entertainment company, GMM Grammy, said he had given Liverpool a detailed offer for a major stake and expected an answer by the end of September.

Paiboon said last week he had set up a holding company, Liverpool Thai Holding Co, to buy the stake and that a deal should be concluded by the end of this year if his offer was accepted.

He added that he would start looking for partners if Liverpool accepted his offer.

Paiboon took over negotiations after Thailand's Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was forced to back out of his proposed $120m (£71m) deal for a 30 per cent stake in Liverpool due to fierce criticism of his plan to use public money.

Djibril Cissé, who has scored just once since joining Liverpool - in the opening match of the season against Tottenham - has revealed how he tried to talk the manager at Anfield, Rafael Benitez, into signing the former Arsenal forward Sylvain Wiltord during the summer.

The £14m striker was keen for his fellow French frontman to join him and put Benitez in touch with Wiltord - in a most direct manner.

"I thought Wiltord would be joining Liverpool and I even tried to push through his transfer," Cissé told the Daily Star.

"I walked into the manager's office, and told him to sign Sylvain.

"I gave him his mobile number, and they talked together on the phone.

"But a deal could not be done, and I am disappointed - I felt I had not done enough towards it."

Wiltord left Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of last season, at the end of his four-year contract.

He was initially targeted by the German champions Werder Bremen before joining French side Lyon, who have won three successive Ligue 1 titles.

Cissé, who left Auxerre to pursue a career in the Premiership, was upset that the pair headed in opposite directions across the Channel.

"Wiltord is like a big brother to me." Cissé added. "It would have been great for him to be over here."

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