Cole signs for Fulham as Yorke is grounded

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The Independent Football

Fulham have completed the signing of Andy Cole on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers. The former England forward has signed a two-year deal with the Cottagers after Blackburn allowed him to leave, even though he had a year remaining on his contract.

Fulham have completed the signing of Andy Cole on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers. The former England forward has signed a two-year deal with the Cottagers after Blackburn allowed him to leave, even though he had a year remaining on his contract.

Cole's capture was revealed by Chris Coleman, the Fulham manager, after yesterday's friendly with Celtic at Craven Cottage, which the Scottish side won 2-0 through goals from John Hartson and Neil Lennon.

Coleman said: "We're delighted to have signed Andy. His pedigree speaks for itself. He had a medical yesterday and everything was fine.

"There are just one or two things that Blackburn have to sign for his release but everything has been organised and he's a Fulham player."

Meanwhile, Graeme Souness, the Blackburn manager, has relegated Dwight Yorke to his fifth-choice striker. Yorke, a £2m buy from Manchester United two years ago, is fit but was left at home as Souness and the rest of his squad travelled to Germany to prepare for the new season.

Souness has accused Yorke of allowing his social life to detract from his football. Souness said: "Unfortunately, although the lad might not see it now, he will be 40 one day and he will be unhappy with himself because he did not give it everything he should have done.

"Once that time has gone, it has gone forever and, take it from one who knows, the best days of any footballer's life are when you are playing. He will regret it one day and he will have to live with that.

"It is frustrating to watch because when we do fitness tests on him he is up there with the best - but sadly there is no test you can do on his head to make him fully focused."

However, Yorke blames Souness for his career going off the rails. Yorke claims his relationship with Souness soured after a training-ground clash between the pair in March.

"Souness came over the top of me in a tackle during training. He could have broken my leg - I have absolutely no doubt about that," Yorke said. "My leg was badly gashed, bruised and swollen and I still have the scar on my shin to show what happened. From that moment I just lost all respect for Souness. We have hardly spoken a word since - apart from the occasional 'Good morning' if we pass each other in the corridor."

* David Moyes, the Everton manager, is trying to sign the Marseille captain, Brahim Hemdani. The French player is available at £1m and could head for Goodison this week after a move to Bolton fell through.

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