But Albion’s total salaries topped the £50million mark and represented 74% of the club’s turnover. West Brom paid out £6million during the summer of 2011 to sign striker Shane Long from Reading. Club chief executive Mark Jenkins said in a statement: “The club has continued to invest in its playing squad, both in transfer fees and wages and total salaries now exceed £50million per year. “However, with careful budgeting and tight financial controls, we have managed to match our revenue to our costs and record a pre-tax profit of £1.5million.” West Brom have announced a reduced pre-tax profit of £1.5million for the financial year ending June 30 2012. The profit compared with a surplus of £9.1million for the previous 12 months. It means the club’s net debt has been reduced from £2million to just £500,000. In the first full set of accounts released by West Bromwich Albion Group Ltd since its formation in August 2010, the club also reported a record turnover of £66.7million. Press Association
Reading abstained in February’s vote allowing it to be passed by 13 votes to six, and Madejski made it clear wage controls were the issue that concerned his club. He said: “I don’t think it would work. It is a very complex situation. It would be very difficult to make it stick. It is difficult to enforce. There always seems to be a way of overcoming it. “I am reasonably ambivalent and I feel clubs should be allowed to do what they want. “When you start handcuffing anything it leads to division. “I don’t know what the latest edict in terms of what we are voting for. We will decide then. We are not intransigent about anything. We will talk it over, then we will decide.” The affect of the financial controls should prevent hugely wealthy owners achieving the almost-overnight success of Chelsea and Manchester City. Any club breaching the rules will face tough sanctions – and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has said they would be pushing for points deductions. Press Association Reading chairman John Madejski has claimed wage controls will be difficult to enforce in the Premier League ahead of a key vote on spending restraints in England’s top flight on Thursday. The 20 club chairmen agreed by the narrowest majority to bring in two significant controls – to limit players’ wage bills from next season, and longer-term measures that will restrict the amount of losses clubs can make to £105million over three years. The detailed rules will be presented to the chairmen where there is likely to be pressure to change the proposals of wage controls. These state clubs whose total wage bill is more than £52million will only be allowed to increase their wages by £4million per season for the next three years, though that cap does not cover extra money coming in from increases in commercial or matchday income.
Danny Rose will concentrate on the battle for Barclays Premier League safety before turning his attention to his future at Sunderland. Press Association It would take a sizeable investment to prise the England Under-21 international away from White Hart Lane – a figure of around £8million has been mentioned – but such has been the player’s impact that there is an appetite to secure his services on a permanent basis. However, despite former manager Martin O’Neill having broached the subject before his departure, there has as yet been no conversation on the topic with successor Paolo Di Canio, and Rose is comfortable with that. He added: “I have thought about my future. When Martin O’Neill was here we did speak briefly. That has changed and it’s not the time for me to go speaking to the new manager about what he wants for next season. “I know what I want to do next year and we will just see what happens.” Whatever happens during the weeks and months ahead, Rose will look back on his year at the Stadium of Light with great affection. Asked if he had benefitted from the experience, he said: “One million per cent, yes. I met Martin O’Neill before I signed and he said I would play more games here than I would do at Tottenham this season. “He was 100 per cent right. I don’t know what next season holds for me or what the next 10 years hold for me. Whatever happens, I will be forever grateful to Martin O’Neill for bringing me here.” The 22-year-old full-back has been one of the pluses for the Black Cats during a difficult campaign to date after joining them on a season-long loan deal from Tottenham. He told the Journal: “The main priority is to have Premier League status for next year. Once that’s sorted, once we are safe, I’m sure there will be a conversation to be had.”
“It’s right up there, a once-in-a-career opportunity and we’re certainly aware of how big it is. A World Cup is the pinnacle of the game because you’re coming up against the best, but this would have to be a close second. “The build-up of the traditional tour where you are playing games against provinces is something that is unique to the Lions these days.” Australia have spoken all week about the storm they are expecting in the opening exchanges at the Suncorp Stadium and Horwill took up the theme at the eve-of-match press conference. “The early collisions are going to be very critical. We understand the Lions play a very physical brand of rugby,” the 28-year-old said. “We’ve seen throughout the games leading up to this one that they’ve been very confrontational. It’s up to us to match that up front and take the ascendancy there. “You have to make sure you work hard because in games of this magnitude there’s not a lot in it. “Everyone across both teams is incredibly skilful so it will come down to work rate. In a fixture like this the margins are going to be very small so you have to take your opportunities when they come because there won’t be many.” Australia captain James Horwill believes the Wallabies will make the most of a career highlight by taming the British and Irish Lions. Press Association The hosts have been installed as underdogs for the three-Test series that begins at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday morning and concludes in Sydney on July 6. It has been 12 years since Australia last faced the Lions, winning the series 2-1, and Horwill has stressed the importance of making the most of an event that is unique in modern rugby. “I think we’re going to win, I don’t know what the bookies say but I believe we’ll win,” the Reds second row said.
Press Association Giovanni Trapattoni has warned his Ireland players not to become too wrapped up in their mission to shackle Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 74-year-old Italian said: “There are players like Ibra, like (Lionel) Messi, like Robbie (Keane), the goalscorers – they have a feeling for the goal. “A long time ago, I was a player, I was a player like ‘Okay, there is Pele, put Trapattoni on Pele. Trapattoni doesn’t play, Pele doesn’t play’. It was okay. “Today, football has changed and it’s impossible to put Messi, for example, under lock and key. It’s impossible because the team allows him to keep the ball. You can’t put two men against Messi. “Ibra is Ibra. He can score, he can play where he wants – he can play back, he can play as a striker and it will be important for us not to follow him because there are other players – there is the Sweden team.” Ibrahimovic failed to hit the heights when Ireland travelled to Stockholm in March and returned with a creditable 0-0 draw. However, Ireland skipper Robbie Keane knows he and his team-mates cannot rely upon a repeat this time around. The 33-year-old said: “You can’t play well in every game. With players like Zlatan, everyone is watching him to see what he’s going to do and thinking he is going to do something special all the time. “But sometimes, it doesn’t work like that and the way we played in Stockholm certainly frustrated the Swedish team and they didn’t get much service to Zlatan, so in that respect it was probably a difficult game for him. The two sides meet at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Friday night with three priceless World Cup qualifying points at stake and with the Paris St Germain frontman representing the most significant threat to Ireland’s hopes of victory. However, while acknowledging Ibrahimovic’s prowess, Trapattoni insists it would be a mistake to think he is the Swedes’ only potential match-winner. “But you can’t play well all the time and hopefully we can keep him quiet as well because we know how important he is to Sweden and at any given time, he can produce something out of nowhere, so we have to be very, very wary of him.” Keane’s 59 senior international goals make him Ireland’s stand-out threat to hopes, but just as he cannot do it alone, midfielder Sebastian Larsson is adamant Sweden are not a one-man team. Asked if they are too reliant on Ibrahimovic, he said: “No, not at all. I don’t see it as a concern to have a world-class striker like him in our team. “He has helped us out a lot before when we maybe haven’t reached a level that we should do. “But at the same time, we are 11 men on the pitch and we can’t just rely on him. We will all have to chip in and try to do well.”
Even if that is the case it still gives manager Brendan Rodgers a headache as he would have wanted his influential captain to be available against one of their top-four rivals. The real worry for Rodgers will be how long Gerrard is expected to be sidelined for as after the December 21 visit of Cardiff his side have to play at Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of 72 hours. With striker Daniel Sturridge already ruled out with a sprained ankle until mid-January, Gerrard’s absence would place an even greater burden on Luis Suarez. Not that the Uruguay international will mind as he has been the key player all season – and he missed the first five league matches. Suarez maintained his two-goal advantage over Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero as the Premier League’s leading scorer by taking his tally to 14 with an 81st-minute header against the Hammers. He may yet find his total is increased as his shot from distance three minutes later deflected off defender Joey O’Brien and past Jussi Jaaskelainen – an effort the dubious goals panel will have to adjudicate on. The panel may also be called upon to rule on Liverpool’s second as Mamadou Sakho was credited with the goal from Gerrard’s free-kick, only for Martin Skrtel to later lay claim to the final touch. That may have been offset by his own goal at the other end, when he turned in Matt Jarvis’ header to make it 2-1 and hand West Ham their best spell of the match. The Reds captain limped off 10 minutes into the second half of the 4-1 win over West Ham and will have scans in the next couple of days which will almost certainly rule him out of next weekend’s trip to Tottenham. Fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson left Anfield with a protective boot on his right foot after a tackle from Kevin Nolan which saw the Hammers skipper sent off late on – but the England international is optimistic he will be fine for the game at White Hart Lane. Liverpool face an anxious wait to discover the extent of Steven Gerrard’s hamstring injury which could not have come at a worse time just ahead of the busy festive programme. Suarez, who had a hand in the opening goal when Jaaskelainen pushed his angled shot into Guy Demel and it rebounded past the Hammers goalkeeper, had the final say however and now, more than ever, Liverpool’s Champions League fate appears to lie with him. His goal – or goals – made victory safe at Anfield and assured the Reds of a return to second place after Manchester City and Chelsea both slipped up. With almost half the season gone and Liverpool averaging two points a game the omens point towards a top-four finish. Rodgers, however, refuses to look that far ahead. “We just keep going. It is each game at a time. It was always going to be difficult from the first game,” he said. “These were games that were tough for us last year but give credit to the players for making it more straightforward. “It was a good day for us. Other (rivals’) results were good and that is what you need to exploit and we have certainly done that. “We had 29 attempts and we could have easily doubled the four goals we scored.” Skrtel’s own goal made it just one clean sheet in their last 12 league matches but Rodgers brushed aside that one blemish. “We’re not perfect. We are a team that is still growing and evolving,” he added. “It was unfortunate with the (own) goal but I am more focused on the positives. “We are scoring goals. We will always want to improve and have that mentality not to concede but it was a good victory for us.” West Ham have taken four points from their last five matches and are just three points above the relegation zone and host bottom side Sunderland next weekend without Nolan. “We’re all struggling at the minute, but what we can’t afford to is lose our confidence and our determination to do the right things,” said Allardyce. The Hammers boss added on West Ham TV: “It’s not so long ago – a week – that we had a magnificent performance together to beat Fulham. “This time of year the chances to put things right and win come thick and fast because the games come around and points are won and lost very quickly. “My problem now lies with the limited amount of players I have available to me next weekend.” Press Association
The Spurs manager has seven players for two positions and he is also considering bringing Tom Carroll back from his loan at QPR. For that reason, the likes of Capoue and Holtby are now being linked with new clubs. Sherwood denied reports Capoue is set to sign for Napoli, but he did not seem too committed to keeping him at White Hart Lane, either. “There’s no movement (with Capoue) as far as I’m concerned,” Sherwood said. “I think Franco might be working in the background regarding a lot of transfers. I’ve heard nothing concrete. He’s a new player so he’s obviously one that I’ve read a lot of speculation about. “We have never had an issue between us. The fact is I’m still getting to know some of these new players and I know the other ones better.” Sherwood’s knowledge of the development team means he has selected 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb ahead of Holtby and Capoue in recent weeks. When Sandro and Paulinho return to full fitness, Holtby is likely to move even further down the pecking order. Sherwood ducked a question regarding the German’s future on Friday. “While they’re at the football club, all the players are in my plans,” he said. Even if Holtby and Capoue leave, Tottenham seem reluctant to bring in any new faces given their expenditure last summer. “If we brought in another player now, would he be settled by the end of the season?” Sherwood said. “You might get lucky with one or two but the risk over reward might be too great for us.” Sherwood will be looking to make it five league wins from six on Sunday when Tottenham travel to Swansea. The good news for the 44-year-old is that the squad’s injury list has shrunk. Andros Townsend is likely to play his first match since December 18 after he came through an under-21 game against Newcastle on Tuesday. Midfielder Sandro could also feature for the first time in a month. Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul have returned to training following their respective ankle and thigh injuries, but they will not be risked for the Swansea game. Sherwood admitted he has grown attached to the squad since his promotion to head coach, but the 44-year-old has also developed a ruthless streak as he knows his future at Spurs is likely to depend on whether he is a success or failure this term. “Yes, absolutely,” the Tottenham manager said when asked if he was willing to let players go. “As long as they’re the players I don’t want to take us forwards, then I’m happy (to sell them).” Sherwood revealed that he has held talks with technical director Franco Baldini about who he would like to get rid of in the January window. “We’ve had discussions, yes,” he said. “But it’s sometimes a case of supply and demand. We’ve got fantastic players here at the club and if we were to lose no one I wouldn’t be shedding any tears, but you can only go with a certain amount of players and the pressure’s on because it’s a World Cup year for a lot of these players. It’s important that they’re playing. “We can’t guarantee that they’re going to get maximum game time, but we certainly won’t be leaving ourselves short.” Central midfield is the most overloaded area in Sherwood’s squad. Tim Sherwood is prepared to allow some of his fringe players to leave Tottenham this month. Sherwood inherited a bloated squad when he took over from Andre Villas-Boas in December. The Portuguese went on a vast summer spending spree last year, parting with over £100million to bring in seven new signings, with Gareth Bale leaving for a world-record transfer fee. Some of them – principally Paulinho and Christian Eriksen – have been successes, but the likes of Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and January signing Lewis Holtby have found their first-team starts hard to come by under Sherwood. Press Association
Anderson told violachannel.tv: “The team look after me, everyone is trying to help me adapt to Italian football. I appreciate what everyone is doing for me, it’s very nice. “I am very happy. I am very happy in Manchester United as well, it’s a big club for me. I’ve been there for seven or eight years, I have a lot of friends and family there. Now it’s a new challenge. “I’ve come here to try to help the players, try to help the team, try to help the manager and do my best. “I know last year Fiorentina missed out on the Champions League by two points. This season they are trying to get in the Champions League, I have come here to try to help.” La Viola currently lie fourth in the Serie A table, five points behind Napoli and the third and final Champions League spot. They host Catania on Sunday. Press Association The 25-year-old, who has been at Old Trafford since 2007, took part in his first training session with his new club on Saturday after agreeing a move until the end of the season and passing a medical. The Brazilian has failed to establish himself as a regular in the United midfield and in the summer he will have just one more year on his contract. Manchester United midfielder Anderson has completed his loan move to Fiorentina, the Serie A club have announced.
It is almost a year ago that Lady Cecil took over the running of Warren Place in Newmarket after the death of her celebrated husband Sir Henry, who finished his career by training the equine giant Frankel. It is only at the age of five that Frankel’s younger brother has started to emerge from his sibling’s shadow and he reaped the benefit of an aggressive ride from James Doyle, also successful in the colours of Khalid Abdullah on Kingman in Saturday’s Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas. Press Association Noble Mission and Magician went off the even-money joint-favourites and the runner-up was closing by the post, but the all-the-way leader had built up a clear advantage with a telling turn of foot at the top of the straight and was able to hold on by a length and a quarter. Beaten by Cubanita on his reappearance at Newbury, Noble Mission had started to earn a slightly dubious reputation, but front-running tactics worked a treat when he hammered Telescope in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown, after which he got the better of the same rival in the Huxley at Chester. As was tradition at Warren Place under Sir Henry’s regime, a flag will now be raised at the yard to celebrate a Group One triumph for the team. Lady Cecil said: “It’s great for all the staff at Warren Place. Our big aim was to win a Group One race and to raise the flag for Henry. I’m very emotional now. I’ve almost 30 horses for Prince Khalid (Abdullah), and without the horses you just can’t do it. “I’ll have to talk to Teddy (Grimthorpe, the owner’s racing manager) but, to be honest, we didn’t think past this about where he might next go. He’s in the Eclipse at Sandown, but we’ll have to see how he comes out of this first.” Grimthorpe added: “To win a Group One with Frankel’s brother, it’s a great tribute to those at Warren Place and huge for Juddmonte. It really is a very special day. “We fell upon the (front-running) plan at Sandown because of needs, but it worked again at Chester so we thought must try it again here. “We need to sit down and have some good thoughts now. He’s had four quite tough races, we might need to give him a little bit of a breather, but that’s up to Jane. It’s a huge win.” Aidan O’Brien said of Magician: “The race was in trouble of losing its Group One status. The ground was far from ideal, but we had to run as it would be very detrimental to Irish racing to lose a Group One race. Joseph looked after him.” Noble Mission gave Lady Cecil a poignant first Group One success as he continued his own remarkable transformation in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.
Both players will play in the Qatari Stars League with centre-back Flores linking up with former Swansea manager Michael Laudrup at champions Lekhwiya and midfielder Hernandez joining Al-Arabi. Both transfers are subject to international clearance but the moves will end two-year spells for the Spaniards at the Liberty Stadium. Press Association Swansea have confirmed the departures of Spanish pair Chico Flores and Pablo Hernandez for undisclosed fees. Chico, 25, made 75 appearances for Swansea after signing from Italian club Genoa and helped the club to Capital One Cup trophy success in 2013. “It feels like I am leaving my family,” Chico said. “I have really enjoyed my time here. When we won the cup it was one of the best moments in my career.” Hernandez, 29, was signed for a club record £5.55million from Valencia in August 2012. He made 57 appearances for Swansea but his time in South Wales was often interrupted by injury. Swansea hope to fill the loss of Chico by signing Federico Fernandez from Napoli and they are currently holding talks over personal terms with the Argentina centre-half having agreed a fee understood to be over £7m.