That was the weekend that was

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The Independent Online
Why Peschisolido can save Stoke money by not scoring

Three chances to Paul Peschisolido went begging as struggling Stoke City were held to a goalless draw against Tranmere on Saturday.

But while the points would have been welcome, an off day for the diminutive Canadian was not all bad news for the Potteries club - who actually manage to save themselves pounds 10,000 for each goal their striker fails to score.

This curious state of affairs relates to what must surely rank among the most complicated transfer deals ever struck between two clubs - the one clinched when Peschisolido left Birmingham for the Victoria Ground in August last year.

Stoke paid a transfer fee of pounds 320,000 in cash, plus their own striker Dave Regis, who was valued at pounds 120,000, in a package worth a total of pounds 440,000 - but that was just the start.

On top of that they agreed to pay pounds 20,000 to Birmingham each time Peschisolido completes 20 first-team games and then a further pounds 10,000 for each goal above five he scored within each of those blocks of 20 games.

Peschisolido - who complicated his position further still by marrying the Birmingham managing director, Karren Brady, last summer - has seven goals from 18 games in the latest block of 20 and, so far, Stoke have forked out pounds 540,000.

All of which now makes the one-time Toronto Blizzards player the club's record signing.

Turn back

the clock

Westley feels the draught

You have to feel for Terry Westley, the Luton manager, whose 36th birthday on Saturday was marked by calls for his head at Kenilworth Road, where David Pleat's former charges suffered their fifth consecutive defeat.

"Some birthday present," Westley said after Sunderland had inflicted a 2-0 reverse before almost 7,000 spectators. "But I understand how the crowd feel. We've lost at home and we're second from bottom of the League."

Westley, promoted from youth-team coach after Pleat left for Sheffield Wednesday, stressed - unwisely, perhaps, in view of the usual consequences of such remarks - that he had the support of the chairman.

But he was sensible enough to add a rider. "When you become a manager," he said, "you have to know the rules. It's all about results."

Taylor's smart answer back

Blackburn are not the only moneybags in trouble. Wolves, pre-season favourites to win the First Division, suffered their third defeat in four matches, 2-1 to a Southend side who had not scored in six of their seven games.

The signs are that Sir Jack Hayward is reluctant to bankroll Graham Taylor further. The former England manager's latest recruit, the 35-year-old Eric Young, signed on a free transfer from Crystal Palace, went straight in as captain at Southend. David Kelly, last season's top scorer but an unused substitute on Saturday, is likely to raise pounds 950,000 by joining Sunderland this week.

Taylor, meanwhile, claims that he feels under no pressure to resign. After the match at Roots Hall he was asked by a reporter from a Birmingham radio station whether his back was broad enough to take the criticism. Grinning silently, he raised the said back to the microphone. Great radio it wasn't.

Red card


Take a bow


Sealey strikes out

Les Sealey (left), took his temporary career change seriously when West Ham's substitute keeper was asked to perform as an outfield player after John Moncur was injured in the 83rd minute at Highbury. He said he enjoyed the experience even if he never got a kick. Perhaps his team-mates were worried he might pick the thing up.


Fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

Internazionale of Milan have renewed their interest in teaming Eric Cantona with Paul Ince, according to the News of the World, who say that the Italians also want to take Alex Ferguson as coach. The report claims that Inter's president, Massimo Moratti, is convinced that the Frenchman's change of heart about leaving Old Trafford was a matter of loyalty to Ferguson and that if the United manager leaves, Eric will follow.

The same publication claims an exclusive report of an airport brawl between Neil Ruddock and Robbie Fowler as Liverpool returned from their Uefa Cup tie in Russia last week, although the Sunday Express went to press convinced it had the same story to itself too.

The Sunday Express is on its own, however, in reporting that Mike Newell may leave Blackburn Rovers for Sunderland. Rovers, the report says, would accept less than the pounds 1.1m they paid Everton for the 30-year-old striker in 1991. The Express also predicts interest from Blackburn in former England winger Andy Sinton, out of favour at Sheffield Wednesday.

The People believes Tottenham are lining up a pounds 4m bid for Werder Bremen midfielder Mario Basler and could also be in the market for Pedro Barbosa, the Sporting Lisbon striker.

Excuses, excuses

We were passing the ball too much and that's not our game, Maybe the players started to believe some of their own publicity after our encouraging start to the season

Joe Kinnear, the manager of Wimbledon, attempting to explain his team's discouraging performance in losing 2-0 at Villa Park

Vital statistics

The number of years Notts County had waited before winning at Shrewsbury for the first time in 11 attempts

The number of times West Ham's Julian Dicks has been sent off in his career - No 9 coming at Highbury on Saturday

The lowest League attendance of the season so far - for Scarborough's 2-2 draw with Hereford

The number of minutes of Premiership football played at Middlesbrough's new Riverside stadium before Coventry's Isaias became the first visitor to score