City in Europe? Clark on Earnie. Paper Talk

Last updated : 20 April 2004 By Michael Morris

BRIAN CLARK believes Cardiff City will not be repeating the John Toshack mistake if they decide to cash in on Robert Earnshaw this summer.

Speculation that the First Division club might be tempted to part with their 26-goal striker for a £4million or £5m fee refuses to go away with Scottish champions Celtic the latest club to show interest.

But Bluebirds legend Clark believes the millions raised from selling the Ninian Park hot-shot can be used to build a side capable of winning promotion to the Premier League.

And the man who forged a lethal attacking partnership with Toshack at Ninian Park from 1968-70 - and who headed the Cup Winners' Cup winner against Real Madrid in 1971 - pleaded with fans not to show any animosity towards Earnshaw if he does move on.

"Nobody is irreplaceable and everyone has their price," said Clark.

"If a club offered Cardiff £4m or £5m then, in today's financial climate, it would take a brave man to turn that down.
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CELTIC have lined up Cardiff City's Wales striker Robert Earnshaw as a replacement for the outgoing Henrik Larsson.

The Glasgow giants - crowned Scottish champions on Sunday for the third time in four years - will table a bid of around £3m for the player.

Parkhead favourite Larsson will end his seven-year love affair with the Bhoys at the end of this season and sources in Scotland say Earnshaw tops Celtic's replacements' list.

And Earnshaw's agent, Mel Eves, last night admitted, "We are aware of interest from Celtic, among other clubs.

"We know Celtic are interested in Robert. There has been no official contact yet but if the right bid comes in then I'm sure Cardiff will listen."
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CARDIFF City could sensationally be back in Europe at the end of next season with Welsh football officials ready to bring the three Football League clubs back into the Welsh Cup.

The Echo can reveal that top secret talks are taking place to bring City, Swansea and Wrexham back in from the cold - along with exiled Dr Martens outfits Merthyr Tydfil and Newport County - in time for the start of the 2004-05 season.

And in a further development, Bluebirds chairman Sam Hammam has dealt another hammer blow to beleaguered BBC Wales Sport by revealing that the Bluebirds will pull out of next season's FAW Premier Cup.
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SAM Hammam has branded the BBC-sponsored Football Association of Wales Premier Cup as 'Minnie Mouse' in a scathing attack on the competition which he says Cardiff City will snub next season.

The Bluebirds chief will instead insist that efforts at Ninian Park are focused on winning the Welsh Cup, if plans within the gov- erning body's corridors of power get the final green light.

And if City can claim the trophy for the 23rd time, Hammam will then be in a position to claim the European odyssey he has craved since arriving in south Wales.

The FAW is believed to have told the club's that it will be up to them to lobby Uefa for the right to take their place in the Uefa Cup.

But that's a battle Hammam will attack with all his customary vengeance.
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