Club pulls pay-to-play offer
A cash-strapped lower league club devised a novel but short-lived way of raising some much-needed cash by launching a pay-to-play scheme. Macclesfield, from England’s fifth tier, advertised the bizarre proposition in their local newspaper — and had already received two inquiries by the time they had decided to retract the offer hours later. The club released a statement on their Web site on Thursday saying they had withdrawn the scheme due to enormous media interest. Macclesfield’s associate director Andy Scott told Britain’s Press Association: “On reflection we were concerned league authorities might take a dim view of it. We never intended to cause such a furore. We’ve thought of every possible marketing initiative and went with this as a genuine, no-nonsense attempt to raise cash for the club... We thought it might sneak on the inside back page of the Macclesfield Express, but it’s gone from that to 1.4 million tweets and, I’m told, 1.8 million hits on Google. My mate in Australia rang me to tell me it was on Channel Nine News and an American company have also been in touch because they wanted to do a documentary on it. I’m shocked at how the story has mushroomed, but if it has the unintentional impact of bringing attention to the football club’s plight, it might make people locally put their hands in their pocket to help the club survive.”
Paper offers reward for head
A newspaper has offered a reward for the safe return of the head stolen from a brass statue of former Lillestrom and Norway international Tom Lund. The head of Lund, a cult hero who spent his entire career at the club, was taken from outside Lillestrom’s home ground. “We will provide 25,000 kroner [US$4,100] as a reward to the person or people that ensure the head of Tom Lund returns to the club and the statue,” Magne Storedal, the editor of local newspaper Romerikes Blad, said in a statement. Lund was baffled by the damage. “This goes beyond all boundaries, I can’t understand it,” he said. With Lillestrom due to face local rivals Valerengen in Norway’s Tippeligaen tomorrow, many suspected that Valerenga fans were behind the vandalism, but a representative of the club’s fans group, Klanen, rejected such accusations. “Klanen does not support the beheading,” spokesman Christian Kjellsen said. “Those that cut the head off the statue of Tom Lund will get no credit around here.”
Monaco lose points
Ligue 1 newcomers Monaco have been handed a two-point penalty for next season following violent incidents by fans during their second-division title celebrations, the French League (LFP) said on Thursday. Fireworks were set off during Monaco’s last home game against Le Mans before fans invaded the pitch after the final whistle. During the melee, the referee was struck by a fan, according to the match officials report. “Regarding the seriousness of the facts, Monaco are condemned to one match behind closed doors and a three-point penalty, including one suspended, for the next Ligue 1 season,” the LFP said in a statement.
Swans sign Spaniard
Swansea City have signed centerback Jordi Amat from RCD Espanyol for ￡2.5 million (US$3.8 million). The 21-year-old Spaniard has agreed a four-year deal with the Premier League club and will become their second signing of the summer, after Jose Canas from La Liga side Real Betis Balompie, subject to passing a medical examination.