Outside the Box: Step aside Glazers, a Rich man is investing in Bedlington Terriers

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The Independent Sport

Not all American investors in English football are as high profile as Manchester United's Glazers, Liverpool's John Henry or Aston Villa's Randy Lerner.

The appropriately named Bob Rich, listed by Forbes magazine as among the top 500 wealthiest people in the world, decided he would put some money into Bedlington Terriers of the Northern League, who last Tuesday could be found playing one of their more glamorous fixtures, against Newcastle United reserves.

Mr Rich's interest stemmed from discovering ancestors in the locality – royal ones, no less. He also received the title Lord of Bedlington, bought as a Christmas present from his wife.

The frozen-food magnate from Buffalo, who owns three minor-league baseball clubs, has helped out with shirt sponsorship and has promised a new electric scoreboard plus a relaid pitch at Welfare Park "so a guy won't turn his ankle in the mud".

Even though he has not pumped in money for new players, the team lost only two of their first dozen games after his arrival. Next, he hopes to entice members of Bedlington terrier dog clubs in the US to buy merchandise from an English team they surely have never heard of (even though the Terriers once reached the FA Vase final).

Hall of Fame for Fashanu

Today would have been Justin Fashanu's 50th birthday, which made it all the more timely that a banner was unveiled in his honour at Norwich City's Hall of Fame on Thursday. Fashanu, winner of the 1980 Goal of the Season, remains the only high-profile English footballer to come out as gay, which took even more courage in the 1980s when Brian Clough, his unreconstructed manager at Nottingham Forest, would demand of him: "Why d'you keep going to that bloody poofs' club?"

He played for more than 20 clubs at home and abroad but committed suicide in 1998. Yesterday was Football v Homophobia day and campaigners described the Carrow Road unveiling as "another significant event on the road to total acceptance in the game".

I don't want to bring it up but...

Like most managers, Sunderland's Steve Bruce knows all about match-day tension but he sympathises with his son Alex, the Leeds centre-half, who is sick before the second half of every game.

The former Leeds player Shaun Derry used to make himself vomit before a game but Bruce Jnr, while apologetic, says there is nothing he can do about the habit, which he ascribes to suddenly leaving a hot dressing-room. "I'm a bit embarrassed about it but I'm quickly over it and feel great," he said.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; www.twitter.com/@stevetongue

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