Parlour found guilty of assault

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The Independent Online
From distant lands came different messages yesterday with diverse meanings for two men. Stewart Houston's chance of becoming manager of Arsenal on a permanent basis almost certainly disappeared amid a fresh scandal for the club, while Graeme Souness is about to take over the Turkish club, Galatasaray.

The Arsenal board meets today to discuss Houston's position, which was made less tenable yesterday when Ray Parlour was found guilty of an assault charge by Hong Kong magistrates. The 23-year-old midfielder lost more than pounds 5,000 by way of fines from the judiciary and the club; Houston almost certainly lost his job.

Parlour's punishment came after he admitted assaulting a taxi driver during a brawl after Arsenal's 4-0 win over a Hong Kong team. He said he had drunk 12 pints of beer during an all-night party. He was fined pounds 170 and ordered to pay pounds 170 in compensation by the magistrates, while Houston docked two weeks' wages and a tour bonus.

This latest incident follows Paul Merson's admission he took cocaine earlier this year and the dismissal of George Graham as manager following allegations that he had taken "bungs" as part of transfer deals.

While Houston contemplates an uncertain future, Souness is about to accept a one-year contract with Galatasaray. The Turkish club have offered him pounds 270,000 plus free lodgings in an attempt to recapture the domestic championship they surrendered to Besiktas earlier this month.

Souness, who resigned as Liverpool manager in January 1994, said: "Everything has been agreed and I will be here for a week sorting out a few details. I had no indication of this. The approach came out the blue.''

More predictable was the announcement yesterday that John Salako has asked for a move from newly-relegated Crystal Palace. Salako, 26, could be the first of of many, as several Palace players are understood to be considering their position after the club lost their place in the Premiership.

Tottenham's Romanian defender, Gheorghe Popescu, was sold to Barcelona yesterday for pounds 3.2m while Nottingham Forest confirmed their interest in the Swedish strikers, IFK Gothenburg's Jesper Blomqvist and Borussia Monchengladbach's Martin Dahlin.

Celtic have been ordered to pay Kilmarnock pounds 200,000 by an independent tribunal set up by the Scottish Football Association. The sum is compensation for "poaching" manager Tommy Burns and his assistant, Billy Stark, who moved to Celtic Park last July.

The lack of enthusiasm in England for the Intertoto Cup may force Uefa to alter its guidelines. Initially only teams finishing in the top 11 of their respective leagues could be considered, but there has been such a lack of support in the Premiership that the limit may be stretched to the top 15.

England have promised to send three teams, but with the registration deadline eight days away, the Premier League has confirmed it has no entrants. Failure to deliver will almost certainly mean a hefty fine from Uefa.

Paul Ince faces a twin-pronged threat today, when he hopes to stay out of prison and in the England squad. The Manchester United midfielder appears before Croydon magistrates to defend assault charges arising out of the Eric Cantona affair at Selhurst Park in January.

At the same time, Terry Venables will announce his squad for the Umbro Challenge against Brazil, Sweden and Japan. He dropped Ince when he was first charged, deciding it was in the player's best interests.

Paul Gascoigne is still undecided about which club he wants to join when he leaves Italy. The Lazio and England man flew into Britain yesterday and said: "I want to be with a club that makes me happy."Rangers, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Leeds are all vying for his signature.

Season of trouble, page 31