CELTIC’S Gary Hooper could be reunited with his old manager at Reading, Rangers’ new investor has harsh words for the Ibrox board, and Henning Berg enters the race for the Kilmarnock job, plus all the latest transfer and off-season news in Saturday’s Rumour Mill.
Gary Hooper: Old boss Adkins could make £5m bid
Reading could be set to bid £5 million for Celtic striker Gary Hooper.
The club’s Russian owner has promised a major cash injection to take the Royals back to the Premier League, and the club have just released 11 players with more expected to leave.
Celtic have offered their top scorer a new deal, but Hooper has just one year remaining on his current contract and could potentially leave for nothing next summer if agreement can’t be reached.
Hooper played for Reading boss Nigel Atkins at previous club Scunthorpe. (Record)
Hearts latest: ‘Trust no-one but Locke’ says legend Mackay
Gary Mackay, the man who has played more games for Hearts than anyone else, has slammed backroom staff at the Tynecastle club for a ‘business-as-normal’ attitude to the club’s financial peril.
Mackay said: “Except for Gary Locke, there is not a single person at Tynecastle with a backbone, or a spine, who I would be happy to take a guarantee from, not one.”
“People are going on about these ‘Lithuanian, absent owners’, and yes, they have had a part to play. But the Heart of Midlothian website is run by the club, and there were pictures of Danny Wilson up on the day he signed, and his image has been used to try and get people to buy season tickets.”
Meanwhile Ian Murray, the MP heading up the Foundation of Hearts campaign to take over the club, believes that administration may be the best long-term option for the club despite its short-term costs.
Murray told The Scotsman that uncertainty around the club’s finances is making it difficult to quantify how much money is needed to keep Hearts going, with administration a radical option for getting to grips with the situation.
Murray said: “Nobody wants the club to go into administration: there is a significant human cost. People tend to think football clubs are about scoring goals, but there are 150 staff in these buildings and we don’t want them to suffer administration. But... even the liquidator of Ukio Bankas does not know what the position is with UBIG, so perhaps some clarity would help.” (Scotsman)
Rangers investor Prior ‘astonished’ by Ibrox boardroom pay
New Rangers investor Kieran Prior has called the salaries paid to executives at Ibrox “astonishing” and “ludicrous”.
Prior, who bought a £400,000 stake in the Ibrox club this week, hit out at finance director (FD) Brian Stockbridge.
Prior said: “He is earning in excess of £200,000, which is overvaluing your FD - and when bonuses match your salary, that seems ludicrous.
“I can see the argument for a chief executive, but why the hell should a bonus be paid for winning the Third Division to the FD?” (Record)
Kilmarnock: New takeover bid as Berg enters managerial frame
• Unhappy Kilmarnock fans have been told that a takeover bid for the club is still being pursued - having been told by the club’s chairman that no viable offers have been made.
The Kilmarnock FC Supporters’ Association’s annual meeting tonight is set to be presented with a letter from a group of businessmen keen to take over the club, outlining their plans.
The AGM will also hear that a high-profile business from the Kilmarnock area made an offer to buy the club in October.
Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnson wants £2 million for his controlling stake in the club. (Mail)
• Henning Berg has emerged as a serious candidate to replace Kenny Shiels at Kilmarnock.
The former Blackburn Rovers boss visited Rugby Park yesterday and met with Killie chairman Michael Johnson.
Berg, a Norwegian international during his playing career, described the vacancy as “very interesting” and added that he was “very impressed with everything (he’d) heard and seen”.
Other names linked with the job include Alloa’s Paul Hartley, former Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo, and current favourite Allan Johnston. (Various)
Celtic dropped me for Asian TV, claims Virgo
Former Celtic star Adam Virgo has claimed he was dropped for a Scottish Cup game so the club could play Chinese defender Du Wei in his place as the game was on Asian TV.
Virgo claimed that he was promised a starting role by manager Gordon Strachan for the 2010 tie, but wound up on the bench to allow the Chinese player to be seen by Asian fans. Celtic vehemently deny the allegations. (Record/Vitalfootball.co.uk)
IN OTHER NEWS
• Scotland’s win over Croatia will send the national team back into the top 50 in the world when new FIFA rankings are announced next month. The away win over the fourth-ranked team on the planet will move Scotland from 74th to 50th. (Various)
• Scotland’s junior sides may push forward with plans for their own national league, after it emerged that none of them had applied to join the new Lowland League created under league reconstruction. (Various)
• Rangers are to open two new club shops - one in Belfast city centre, and the other inside Glasgow Airport. (Rangers.co.uk)