Abramovich puts £500m in trust fund

Since taking over the Stamford Bridge club in 2003 ‘ Ambramovich has gone on a multi-million-pound spending spree to make Chelsea champions.

There have been fears the club would go into financial meltdown if 40-year-old Abramovich was not around. He has allayed those fears and set up the trust.

A senior Stamford Bridge source said: “When Roman bought the club he investigated ways to provide funds for the future. In recent times he has reviewed and restructured the way forward in the event he isn’t here.”

Interest from the trust fund can be used to help with the club’s day-to-day running. When he is old enough Roman’s football-mad son Arkady, 12, will take over.

Abramovich and his family are at the top of a Scotland Yard list of targets for kidnap and extortion.

Prove your worth, Benitez tells players

Rafael Benitez has thrown down the gauntlet to his Liverpool players to prove they are big enough to be part of the new Red Revolution.

The Anfield boss has warned his stars not to be distracted by the impending takeover of the club by the oil rich Dubai International Capital group.

Benitez is expected to get a transfer kitty of around ’80 million but hopes that will inspire his current squad to show they are irreplaceable.

The Spaniard said: “Because the future looks positive, I’m sure all the players will be thinking about this in a good way and, if Liverpool is moving forward, they’ll want to be part of that. I have spoken to Rick Parry and the chairman and they are very positive.”

Newcastle target ‘7m Crouch

Newcastle are weighing up a sensational transfer-window bid for Liverpool’s Peter Crouch.

The Geordies are desperate to strengthen their firepower ‘ and they see the England striker as the perfect man to lead the Toon attack.

Crouch, 25, joined Liverpool from Southampton in a ‘7 million deal in July 2005 and he has scored nine goals for the Reds this season.

But boss Rafa Benitez wants to keep his strike-force intact to maintain their challenge in the Champions League this season ‘ though there might be room for manoeuvre during the summer.

Crouch might welcome the move since he is thought to be unsettled by having to share first-team opportunities at Anfield with Craig Bellamy, Dirk Kuyt and Robbie Fowler.

Don’t play-act, Eboue told

Arsene Wenger has told Emmanuel Eboue to eliminate the play-acting from his game.

The Cote d’Ivoire full-back, who cost a bargain ‘1 million from Belgian club Beveren, is rated as one of the most exciting young defenders at Arsenal and is viewed as the natural longterm successor to Lauren.

But he has infuriated opposing players and crowds with his tendency to exaggerate the impact of any physical contact.

Wenger spotted it during last season’s Champions League Final and Tottenham’s Robbie Keane was left exasperated eight days ago as Eboue writhed on the ground after hardly any contact.

Wenger said: “We had a chat and we don’t want him to do it. We don’t want him to exaggerate and we don’t want him to get a reputation.”

I’m going nowhere: Shevchenko

Andry Shevchenko has vowed there is no chance of him quitting Chelsea.

The ’31 million man is under intense pressure after recent reports that he has failed to settle at Stamford Bridge and is considering a return to Italy.

Things were made even worse for the striker last Friday when Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insisted nine of his team were “untouchable” – but not Sheva.

However, the former AC Milan star has opened his heart to set the record straight. Not only does he insist he was completely misquoted but he re-assured Chelsea fans that he has absolutely no intention of giving up his west London adventure.

He said: “It was a big, big decision to come here ‘ so why would I want to leave after only three months? The truth is I never even thought of going back to Milan. Never. I’m still here. It’s all talk, talk, talk.”

Cash fear for O’Neal

Martin O’Neill fears the Premiership’s rush of new foreign cash might scupper his January spending plans.

Aston Villa’s boss has ’25 million at his disposal, with cash from new American owner Randy Lerner plus a ‘7m property deal the club has completed.

But since Lerner moved in he has seen West Ham fall into the hands of new owners from Iceland and now a Dubai syndicate close in on Liverpool.

O’Neill said: “I have always said that January is a very difficult time to go into the market. And it will now be more difficult than ever because a lot of money will be chasing a very few players.”

I won’t be silenced: Jordan

Simon Jordan ‘ one of the most controversial men in football – has put the boot into his legion of critics and blasted: “You’ll never gag me.”

The Crystal Palace chairman has wound up more people than a liquidator in a string of spectacular bust-ups with rival club supremos.

His long list of enemies is headed by Charlton chairman Richard Murray a includes Birmingham chiefs David Gold David Sullivan, Arsenal vice chairman David Dein and ex-managers Iain Dowie and Steve Bruce.

Murray failed last week to persuade the FA to charge Jordan over his outbursts, as the Eagles chairman was kicking off his ‘1 million court case against Dowie.

Jordan is suing for fraudulent misrepresentation after Dowie left Palace in May.

December 2006
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