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    Wayne Rooney assures Derby fans club will exist after claims they face liquidation amid HMRC tax bill

    WAYNE ROONEY has denied reports Derby County are going to be liquidated due to the tax bill they face from the HMRC.The Rams went into administration back in September and have still not found a buyer to take over and deal with their £29.3million tax bill.
    Rooney has sent out a positive message to Derby fans amid rumours of administrationCredit: Alamy
    The Championship side have already been deducted 21 points for going into administration and breaching accounting rules – a penalty which leaves them 19 points from safety after just 20 games.
    Derby have not been in the third tier since they were promoted into the Second Division 35 years ago.
    And there are now reports they could be liquidated.
    Yet despite the bleak situation, Rooney remains optimistic about the club’s future moving forward.
    He said: “This club will exist. This club will grow.
    “I’ve seen the headlines in the papers the last couple of days and that’s news to me. I don’t think there’s even an option of the club going into liquidation.

    “I know some of the staff, when they read that, get worried, but from my point of view there’s quite a few buyers who are very interested in the club.
    “It’s not through lack of people wanting to come in and take over the club, it’s purely just getting it done, getting it over the line and there are details that need sorting out before that can happen.”
    Ten days ago joint administrator Carl Jackson said they hoped to find an approved bidder within two to three weeks and that the takeover be finalised by the end of January.
    And Rooney went on to suggest the club’s current state could be a chance to start again.
    He added: “This club will not go into liquidation. A new owner will come in. We have had a setback but sometimes setbacks are good. It is a chance to restart and rebuild, which I feel this club has needed.
    “This gives us the opportunity to do things in the right way and try to progress through hard work and determination, but also doing things properly, which I think is important.
    “I understand the frustration from the fans because obviously they don’t get every detail. But from all the discussions I’ve had, this club will be fine.” More

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    Phil Dwyer dead at 68: Cardiff legend and former Wales defender passes away as fans pay tribute to ‘true great’

    CARDIFF legend Phil Dwyer has tragically passed away at the age of 68 as tributes pour in for the former Wales defender.Capped on ten occasions by national team between 1978 and 1979, Dwyer also featured in a club-record 575 games for the Bluebirds during his 13-year spell.
    Former Cardiff defender Phil Dwyer has died at the age of 68Credit: Getty
    Welsh star Dwyer was capped by The Dragons on ten occasions, scoring two goalsCredit: Getty
    Dwyer came through Cardiff’s academy after joining in 1969, before making his debut against Leyton Orient as an 18-year-old in October 1972.
    The three-time Welsh Cup winner retired after the 1984-85 campaign following a loan spell at Rochdale.
    After retiring from football he joined the South Wales Police, before departing the force in 2000.
    In a club statement, Cardiff said: “Cardiff City Football Club is extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the club’s record appearance holder, Phil Dwyer, at the age of 68.”
    Before adding: “Our thoughts go out to Phil’s friends and family at this extremely sad time. On their behalf, we ask that their privacy is respected.
    “Rest in peace, Phil – a true Cardiff City great.”

    Wales also commented on Dwyer’s death, as they remarked: “The Football Association of Wales is saddened to learn that former Cymru international Phil Dwyer has passed away, aged 68.
    “The thoughts of everyone at the FAW are with Phil Dwyer’s family and friends at this sad time.”
    South Wales Police then posted: “We’re sorry to hear of the passing of former Wales and Cardiff City footballer Phil Dwyer, who served with South Wales Police after hanging up his boots.
    “Our thoughts and condolences are with Phil’s loved ones.”
    Fans were quick to pay their respect to Dwyer, as TV presenter Jason Mohammad tweeted: “Heartbroken to hear that Phil Dwyer has passed on. One my first Cardiff City heroes.
    “Gave everything for the City. Remember him even laughing during games with the entire Bob Bank. From Pompey away to Ninian – thanks for the memories Phil.”
    Another user commented: “RIP Phil Dwyer, Mr Cardiff City. Legend.”
    A third added: “Another legend Phil Dwyer gone before his time!! So so sad, what a character!”
    Meanwhile one said: “Gutted to hear of the passing of Phil Dwyer. A true legend. Rest in peace.”
    Another simply stated: “Rest in peace to a true Bluebirds and Wales legend. Mr Cardiff City.”
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    Fulham line up £18m transfer bid for Angelo Fulgini as Angers striker has heart set on playing in England

    FULHAM are making a big push for Angers No 10 Angelo Fulgini and could meet the £18million price.The Cottagers know they will be losing Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa to either Napoli or even Crystal Palace at the end of the season.
    Angers midfielder Angelo Fulgini is being chased by Championship side FulhamCredit: Getty
    Eagles boss Patrick Vieira is a huge fan of the Cameroon international, who has been starring during his loan spell for the Napes outfit.
    With the 26-year-old having just a year left on his contract at Craven Cottage, Fulham will be forced into selling the player to avoid losing him on a free.
    And they will turn their attention to Angers ace Fulgini.
    Ivory Coast-born Fulgini has shone for Angers, but they will sell and the player is desperate to come to England.
    The 25-year-old has impressed for the Ligue 1 outfit this term, who sit sixth in the table – just two points off the Champions League spots.
    Fulgini has been a key player for Gerald Baticle’s side – chipping in with two goals and as many assists from 14 games.

    SunSport exclusively revealed last month how his performances have caught the eye of Premier League clubs.
    Officials from Angers were even sent to England to discuss his future.
    Fulgini joined The Black and Whites from Valenciennes in 2017, having come through the Ligue 2 club’s academy.
    He appeared 84 times, netting nine goals before making the switch four years ago.
    The former France youth international was also the subject of reported interest from Feyenoord over the summer.
    But the two clubs couldn’t agree a fee.
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    Peterborough’s home clash against Barnsley plunged into darkness after power cut at London Road

    PETERBOROUGH UNITED’s Championship showdown with Barnsley was plunged into darkness ten minutes before full-time.The Posh welcomed their fellow relegation battlers to London Road on Saturday afternoon looking to narrow the gap between themselves and 21st-placed Reading.
    Peterborough United’s Championship clash with Barnsley was plunged into darkness when the floodlights failedCredit: REX

    The duo ended up sharing spoils in the dull 0-0 draw, which will best be remembered for the floodlights failing in the dying embers of the match.
    Both sets of players were hauled off after the lights went out and fans were encouraged to remain in their seats.
    But they had to wait less than 15 minutes for the lights to come back on and play to resume.
    Barnsley fans, however, were more than happy fo to remain in darkness.
    Owls fans began chanting: “We’ll play in the dark, we’ll play in the dark.
    “We’re Barnsley FC, we’ll play in the dark.”

    Barnsley fans keeping up with the game from the comfort of their homes also shared their thoughts on Twitter.
    One tweeted: “Nothing on that pitch today is worth seeing, so that’s not a bother really.”
    Another said: “We can’t even play when it’s light.”
    And another said: “More chance of scoring in the dark.”
    One remarked: “Might actually play better!”
    Another said: “Can’t concede if no one sees it eh.”
    The stalemate at London Road did neither side any favours in their bid to beat the drop, with Peterborough now on 16 points and Barnsley on 12.
    Peterborough will be back in action next Saturday, travelling to the City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest.
    Barnsley, meanwhile, will welcome eighth-placed Huddersfield to Oakwell.
    The power at London Road went out with ten minutes of the match remainingCredit: REX
    Barnsley fans broke into chants of ‘we’ll play in the dark’ during the unexpected intermissionCredit: REX
    The match ended in a dull 0-0 drawCredit: REX

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    Andy Carroll scores for Reading on first start and performs amazing rowing celebration… with Drinkwater getting assist

    ANDY CARROLL has scored on his first Championship start for Reading. The 32-year-old put the Royals 2-1 up on the half-an-hour mark against Swansea after the second-tier strugglers had gone a goal down just three minutes into the game.
    Carroll’s goal was his first for his new clubCredit: Huw Evans
    He started off with a rowing celebration on his ownCredit: Colorsport
    Carroll was then joined by the rest of his Reading team-matesCredit: Colorsport
    Carroll expertly took down a Danny Drinkwater long ball over the top into his stride before holding off the challenge of on loan Liverpool defender Rhys Williams.
    Carroll, also formerly of Liverpool, then cut inside onto his left foot and fired a low effort past Ben Hamer in the Swansea goal.
    He proceeded to celebrate by grabbing the corner flag out the ground and sitting down with his team-mates behind him, using the flagstick as a fake oar to imitate rowing.
    It’s his first goal and first start for the Berkshire club since signing on a TWO-MONTH contract earlier this month.
    His only prior appearances for the club have been cameos off the bench against Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

    Reading’s official Twitter account could barely contain their excitement after the goal.
    Describing the striker, they wrote: “How about that for a composed finish from @AndyTCarroll?
    “He beat the offside trap, before cutting in on his left, and firing in past Hamer! YES!”
    Drinkwater meanwhile is on loan at Reading after a miserable four years with Chelsea.
    He joined the Blues from Leicester for £34million in 2017 but has played just 23 games for the South-West Londoners.
    Carroll meanwhile been a free agent before joining the Royals since his second stint with boyhood club Newcastle ended in the summer.
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    Wayne Rooney set to STAY at Derby despite Rams looking doomed to Championship relegation after 21-point deduction

    WAYNE ROONEY is ready to battle on as Derby boss despite already looking doomed to relegation.The Rams administrators agreed to take a nine-point penalty from the EFL for Financial Fair Play offences, putting their total to -3 in the Championship.
    Wayne Rooney is prepared to carry on at Derby despite the club appearing to be doomed to relegationCredit: Rex
    Derby have also dropped their appeal against a 12-point hit for going into administration, leaving them with a total loss of 21, with two further three-point punishments still hanging over their heads.
    One would be for the late payment of wages and the other for any further breach of FFP rules.
    Rooney’s under-strength squad have managed 18 points from 17 games, but are now 18 points from safety.
    Rooney, 36, was taking training when the punishment was announced Wednesday, but is expected to tough it out.
    Bidder Chris Kirchner is trying to complete a deal to takeover the Rams, while others have shown an interest.
    But administrators still have major hurdles to cross, the first being agreeing a deal with HMRC over a tax bill that spiralled to over £25million.


    Middlesbrough and Wycombe have lodged compensation claims and peace talks are planned. Derby think they can win the cases, but it is uncertain.
    Boro owner Steve Gibson’s claim for around £45m is still to be addressed.
    They feel Derby’s financial irregularities helped deny them a play-off place in 2019 after the Rams pipped them to the top six by just one point.
    Wycombe say they were relegated because a previous points penalty was not imposed and want around £6m.
    Any takeover deal also needs an agreement with former owner Mel Morris to sell the stadium. He is looking for around £20m but that is also subject to negotiation.
    Derby’s doom is a massive scar on the EFL’s flagship division.
    For the third season running, a club is likely to go down because of penalties.
    Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday both suffered the same fate when they had won enough points on the pitch.
    Worse still, it makes a mockery of the final 29 games of Derby’s season.
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    Wayne Rooney’s Derby hit with 21-POINT deduction after admitting to breaches of Football League’s financial rules

    DERBY COUNTY will have another NINE points deducted from their Championship tally. It follows the 12-point deduction from September after the club entered administration, taking the total tally of deducted points this season to TWENTY-ONE.
    Rooney and co are already bottom of the Championship after the first points deductionCredit: Getty
    Derby are EIGHTEEN points off safety
    The latest deduction has a further three points suspended and is for breaching the League’s Profitability and Sustainability (P&S) rules.
    Those historical financial breaches at Derby came while former owner Mel Morris was at the club.
    It all but confirms Wayne Rooney’s side will be relegated to League One at the end of the campaign.
    Rooney’s side are marooned to the bottom of the table on -3 points, EIGHTEEN off safety.
    Like in September the deduction will be applied with immediate effect.
    But the club also face the suspended three points being applied too if they don’t follow the correct terms of their budget set out for the rest of this season.
    If that did come into effect their tally of deducted points would increase once again to a whopping 24.
    Derby’s official website published the news in a statement on Tuesday morning.

    It’s after the club and Championship bosses determined under an ‘agreed decision,’ ratified by an Independent Disciplinary Commission Chair that they would take the punishment.
    Last week Derby decided to drop their appeal against the 12-point deduction for going into administration in September.
    On the latest deduction Trevor Birch, EFL Chief Executive said: “The EFL’s objective throughout this ongoing process has been to ensure that the principles of the Regulations were upheld on behalf of all Clubs.
    “In order to assess the sporting sanction that was applicable to apply to these breaches, previous P&S cases have been carefully reviewed and guidance taken from them.
    “The EFL has also considered the P&S sanction guidelines as well as mitigation put forward by the Club.
    “Given the complex circumstances of the case and the various outstanding regulatory issues between the EFL and Derby County, the League is satisfied at the agreed outcome and the sensible approach taken by both parties in negotiating this outcome and in respect of the appeal withdrawal.
    “Our focus is to continue to work with the Joint Administrators to assist them in securing a long-term future for the Club.”
    Meanwhile Carl Jackson, from Derby’s administrators Quantuma, said: “This has been a difficult matter to navigate bearing in mind the various issues concerned.

    “Whilst point deductions are never ideal for any Club, it was critical to the Club’s future that all matters were concluded between the EFL and the Club in relation to historical issues.
    “This conclusion allows us to proceed with our restructuring strategy for the Club with prospective interested parties.”

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    Arsenal wonderkid Folarin Balogun casts doubt on future and admits he is ‘open for a new challenge’

    ARSENAL prospect Folarin Balogun has opened up the possibility of a January loan move away by admitting he wants a ‘new challenge’.The Gunners academy star cranked up interest in his services by scoring from the edge of the box in his first start for England Under-21s in their win against Czech Republic on Thursday.
    Forlain has long-been touted as the next big starlet to emerge from Arsenal’s academyCredit: AFP
    Forlain strengthened his growing reputation with a goal for England Under-21s last weekCredit: Getty
    The striker has been in great form in Arsenal’s youth ranks and his intelligent style of play has been likened to Arsenal legend Ian Wright by former Gunners defender Martin Keown.
    The 20-year-old, known as Flo to his team-mates, is yet to force himself into the regular first-team plans at in-form Arsenal, despite making his senior debut last season and impressing in six appearances.
    But Balogun’s progress has put him on the radar of several Championship clubs and he revealed he would be open to to a temporary spell away.
    Speaking after the win for the young Lions, he told Football London: “I have played youth football for a little while, I have obviously scored a lot of goals at that level and improved at that level drastically from when I started.
    “I do feel like I am ready for a new challenge but I am not sure what that might be, it might be a loan or if I am needed at Arsenal then I am here and the gaffer knows that.
    “I am definitely open to a new challenge but it is something that whatever that challenge is I will be ready.

    “I know the potential I could have and that I need to achieve is massive. I haven’t achieved it yet.”
    England Under-21s boss Lee Carsley believes ‘a lot of the clubs in Europe would be aware of Flo’s qualities’.
    He said: “Watching him in the U23s for Arsenal, it’s probably a little bit too easy for him and he’s passed that level.
    “I imagine he wants to play for Arsenal and pushing for a position but it’s such a big club with a lot of competition.”
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