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Campbell returns, will play at old club

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Posted: Thursday November 15, 2001 2:07 PM
Updated: Thursday November 15, 2001 2:22 PM

LONDON (AP) -- Maybe Sol Campbell wishes that hamstring injury had lasted a little longer.

Sidelined for a month with an injury that forced him out of England's 1-1 tie with Sweden on Saturday, the Arsenal centerback is set to return to action on Saturday.

At his old club, Tottenham.

Campbell returns for the first time to White Hart Lane, where he spent nine seasons as the fans' hero. Having moved to Highbury during the summer on a free transfer, he was branded a traitor and hung in effigy by Spurs' supporters.

On Saturday, Tottenham supporters have promised to turn their backs to Campbell and launch hundreds of balloons with the word "Judas" printed on them.

Police say they are ready for any crowd trouble. Arsenal's Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp may have stirred things up by suggesting Campbell had moved to a better club.

"During the summer he took a decision to take a step up in his career and it's outrageous that he is being punished for this," Bergkamp said. "He won't be bothered by any stick he gets.

"I understand that fans feel intense loyalty to their team and this is one of the beauties of football," Bergkamp said. "But the Spurs fans have to accept that he's changed clubs and now he's one of ours - an Arsenal man."

Spurs manager Glenn Hoddle has tried to calm things down.

"It is important that no Spurs fans let this club down by overreacting," said Hoddle, who agreed to let Campbell go. "We must ensure we rise above such negativity. The fans must react in a responsible manner."

Spurs have replaced Campbell in central defense with two new stars, Dean Richards and Ledley King. Richards was hired from Southampton after a lengthy transfer wrangle, while King is considered a future England international and was on the lineup that beat the Netherlands 1-0 on Tuesday to reach the European Under 21 Championship finals.

When Campbell runs out at White Hart Lane on Saturday, his Arsenal team will be four places higher than Spurs in fifth place, with two more points and a game in hand on its north London rival. The Gunners are also going strong in the European Champions League, having reached the second round.

Leeds United, which leads the standings by one point, goes to Sunderland on Sunday, while second place Liverpool goes to eighth-place Blackburn on Saturday with the chance of going top, albeit for a day.

Rovers manager Graeme Souness returns to Anfield, where he was a standout player but had little success as a manager.

Third-place Aston Villa hosts improving Middlesbrough, Newcastle visits promoted Fulham and defending champion Manchester United, five points off the pace down in six place, hosts third place Leicester.

The Foxes have scored only seven goals in 12 games with a goals conceded total of 23 whereas the Reds, badly needing a win to restore confidence after back-to-back league and League Cup losses to Liverpool and Arsenal, have netted 28.

But Alex Ferguson's team may be distracted by next Tuesday's Champions League round two game against regular foe Bayern Munich.

Seventh place Chelsea, beaten just once in 11 games, goes to improving Everton, for whom veteran former England star Paul Gascoigne scored on his last appearance.

Down at the bottom, last place Derby hosts next to last Southampton at Pride Park with surprisingly low Ipswich -- going strong on the UEFA Cup where it meets Inter Milan in the next round -- hoping to clamber out of the bottom three by beating promoted Bolton at home.

Division one leader Wolves is not in action until Sunday when it hosts Sheffield Wednesday and that gives Burnley, level on points, the chance to go top by winning at Coventry.

After 12 wins and a tie from 13 outings, Celtic remains seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League and goes to sliding Hearts on Saturday. Its perennial rival Rangers hosts second from last Dunfermline and shouldn't fall further behind.

Promoted Livingston, which has at least injected some new blood into a tired league, is third and should stay there by beating Dundee at home. But it is still 14 points behind Celtic with only a third of the season gone.

United players come under attack at shareholder meeting

MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United's players came under harsh criticism from fans Thursday at the club's annual meeting of shareholders.

Keith Thorpe, a fan and shareholder, said the players have under-performed for 12 months and warned that fans may stay away if the slide continues.

Manchester United won its seventh Premier League title in nine years last season, but has faltered so far this campaign. The Reds have lost three league games already and lie sixth in the standings, prompting reports the team is in crisis.

"What we have seen over the last 12 months has been shocking," Thorpe said, receiving applause from the floor. "The performances from these players over the last 12 months have just not been good enough and in the last 29 games we have lost 12."

"Don't go down the road of using the excuses that we sold Jaap Stam or that Steve McClaren has gone because the performances were (mediocre) when they were here."

Group managing director David Gill took the microphone to defend the team's record.

"Last season we won the league at a canter and got to the European Cup quarterfinals," he said. "Clearly we would have liked to have gone further, but we've done this now for the last five seasons.

"It's difficult to say on the basis of two poor results that it's a crisis. If you look at the track record of the manager I would say he's got it right on balance and we should reflect on that."

Thorpe responded: "Get your head out of the sand. What's going on out there is not good enough!"

Chief Executive Peter Kenyon then intervened.

"Complacency is not in the vocabulary of Manchester United," he said. "This club has never been complacent about supporters selling out the ground or the performance of the team.

"I can assure you that significant work is going on the training field with [manager] Sir Alex [Ferguson] and his squad to make sure the results your refer to do not go on. Our will to win is no less now than it was 10 years ago.

"The issue now is for the fans to get behind the team and really Manchester United are at their best when the rest of the world is against us."

Kenyon and outgoing PLC chairman Roland Smith, who is being succeeded by Roy Gardner, criticized the media coverage of the club's recent struggles.

"I had to dodge the falling masonry on Tuesday following all the reports that Old Trafford is in decay," Kenyon quipped. "Press coverage relating to our decline is all a bit over the top and nobody at Old Trafford takes much heed of it."

On other issues, Kenyon said further contract talks were held this month with midfield star David Beckham and the club remains hopeful he will sign a new deal.

Kenyon refused to be drawn on speculation that England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson tops the list of candidates to succeed Ferguson as manager when he steps down at the end of the season.

Kenyon said United has not approached Eriksson, or anyone else, and would act on its shortlist after Christmas.

Houllier says he felt ill two months before surgery

LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier said Thursday he had felt ill for two months before undergoing emergency heart surgery. But he said he didn't realize how serious his condition was when he suffered chest pains during a game.

Houllier was rushed to hospital after suffering chest pains at halftime of Liverpool's home game against Leeds on Oct. 13. He underwent an emergency 11-hour operation for dissection of the aorta. He said doctors told him he was close to death.

The 54-year-old Frenchman, who was released from hospital on Nov. 2, said Thursday he had worked too hard.

"What happened to me was that I had this leak in the valve in my aorta and I did not act initially on the warning signs," Houllier told the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

"I personally think I did too much. I made a mistake by not taking a proper holiday during the close season break. I went to the Confederation Cup in Korea to enjoy games without any involvement. But at this time I found I could not sleep.

"Sometimes when you know things are not right, you actually try to do that little bit more to compensate. You try and prove to yourself that there is not a problem. Some people break their leg by over-stretching themselves. In simple terms, I broke my aortic valve."

Houllier said no one knew he had felt tired and unwell during August and September.

"As manager I did not want to show that there was something wrong," Houllier said. "Everyone who knows me will tell you that I am a workaholic. I love my job and like to go out.

"But I was going through this spell when I was getting up and found myself reluctant to go into work which is just not me. Physically I felt something was wrong, but I did not show that to my players. If you show you are weak, the team will be weak. In my mind I could not allow that to happen."

Houllier said he felt extra pressure when Michael Owen became injured in September.

"When one of your key players is ruled out you want to stay focused and make the right decisions," he said. "But all I knew was that the outward look of Gerard Houllier was not what I was feeling inside which was real exhaustion. During this period I tried to appear strong on the outside, but inside it wasn't right."

Houllier said he went to France for a holiday at the end of September and even played 90 minutes of soccer with some friends. When he returned to Liverpool, he had blood tests, then had heart tests in Paris the week before he was rushed to hospital.

Houllier was giving a half time team talk when he felt pains in his chest. The club doctor Mark Waller was treating midfielder Emile Heskey when Houllier asked for help.

"I said: "Don't worry. He is worth more money than me, but I am more urgent," Houllier said. Waller took his blood pressure and immediately called an ambulance.

Houllier said even when he was traveling to hospital wearing an oxygen mask, it didn't occur to him that his illness was serious. He said specialist Rod Stables had told him he needed to operate.

"But even then, I still somehow couldn't grasp just how serious things were," Houllier said. "That changed when he said: `Do you want to speak to some people?'"

"I realize now what he was inferring. My wife Isabelle was with me and the words we exchanged are obviously very personal."

Houllier said he was lucky to be surrounded by medical staff when he fell ill.

"If I had felt those symptoms two hours after the game, I would have told myself again that I was just tired and almost certainly I would have gone to bed," Houllier said. 'the other thought in my mind was that 24 hours later we were flying to Kiev in the Ukraine for a Champions League clash. If things had gone wrong when I was in the air.

"Let's just say that somebody up there must like me. I personally feel I was in the right place with the right people with the right expert hands. It was not luck that things happened the way they did. It was fate."

Houllier continues to recover at home. In his absence, his assistant Phil Thompson has managed the team, with great success. After drawing 1-1 with Leeds, Liverpool had remained unbeaten in six games and progressed to the second stage of the Champions League.

Houllier plans to return to managing Liverpool next year.

Yorath appointed Owls manager for rest of season

SHEFFIELD, England -- Terry Yorath, who has served as Sheffield Wednesday's temporary manager since Peter Shreeves' departure last month, was given the job full-time Thursday.

Yorath was appointed manager of the division one club for the rest of the season, with an option to extend the contract in the summer.

Willie Donnachie was been appointed as the Owls" new assistant manager. He resigned Wednesday as Kevin Keegan's assistant at Manchester City.

Since Yorath took over after Shreeves quit on Oct. 17, Wednesday has three victories and a draw from six matches.

Club chairman Geoff Hulley hopes Yorath can keep the Owls from being relegated for the second time in three years.

Hulley described Yorath and Donachie as "one of the best coaching teams in English football."

'the dithering has stopped," he said. "Various people have been speculated on about taking this job, but Terry has always been at the forefront of our thoughts.

"We have worked closely together and had the opportunity of observing him in a temporary capacity and we are convinced he is able to carry out the task we have appointed him to do."

PSV dismisses reports that Hofland will go to Manchester

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands -- PSV Eindhoven have dismissed British press reports that the Dutch club may be poised to sell defender Kevin Hofland to Manchester United.

The reports said Hofland was being targeted by the English champions to shore up a defense which has conceded 20 goals in 11 league games this season.

"Hofland has always said he did not want to leave PSV and will stay this season," PSV spokesman Pedro Salazar Hewitt told Reuters on Thursday.

"It is sure he won't leave this week, next month or even in January, after that one cannot say," he added. 'there have been no contacts with Manchester United."

United manager Alex Ferguson controversially sold former PSV Eindhoven defender Jaap Stam, Hofland's Dutch international team mate, to Lazio for 16.5 million pounds ($23.71 million) in August.

Stam was replaced by veteran Frenchman Laurent Blanc, who arrived at Old Trafford from Inter Milan on a free transfer.

Southampton plans to sign Chala

SOUTHAMPTON, England -- Southampton are on the verge of signing Ecuador international midfielder Kleber Chala for 1 million pounds (US$1.44 million), the English premier league club's Web site said.

Ecuador striker Agustin Delgado joined the Saints earlier this week and he is set to be joined by his international captain, who plays for El Nacional.

Southampton manager Gordon Strachan could even have the 30-year-old available for Saturday's premier league match against Derby County if he passes his medical.

"He has flown in, agreed terms and we have received his work permit so we are now just awaiting the final clearance from his medical," Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe told the Web site.

"He has negotiated most of that and there are just a few details left to iron out before he becomes a Southampton player.

"Assuming there are no complications with the rest of the medical, he should be registered in time to be available for the squad for the Derby match.

"Whether or not he is included though, will be down to the manager to decide."

Lowe also admitted that the Saints had bought the Ecuador duo together to improve their chances of adapting to the premier league.

"If there are two of them together who know one another well, it will hopefully speed the settling in process," he said.

"They are both very good players and will hopefully become major assets to our club."

Related information
More English strike talks planned for Thursday
Parry says Houllier's future at Liverpool intact
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