Sunday papers

Last updated : 02 June 2003 By Michael Morris

Bald Eagle predicts City boss will soar to Premiership
WHEN it comes to winning promotion to the top flight, Jim Smith has few equals.

The Bald Eagle had already enjoyed three memorable success stories at elite level with Birmingham City, Oxford United and Derby County before linking up with Harry Redknapp to help fashion Portsmouth's promotion to the Premiership this season.

So who better to assess Cardiff City's chances of realising the biggest dream in Welsh club football - and reaching the Premiership?

Manager Lennie Lawrence has already 'been there, seen it and done it' himself after guiding both Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough to promotion from the First Division.

And after Lawrence revealed his ambition to make it a hat-trick, Smith (pictured left) backed him all the way.

"The bottom line is that the place is big enough and the chairman wealthy enough to make it happen," says Smith.

"If you look where Portsmouth finished last season, just four points above the relegation mark, it shows what is possible.

"No-one seemed to be giving them a chance of promotion when Harry first arrived. But he proved what can be done if you sign the right sort of players, and produce the right sort of football."
Full story.

Cardiff aim for Goater
FIRST DIVISION new boys Cardiff City are closing in on Manchester City striker Shaun Goater.

Bluebirds boss Lennie Lawrence is searching for a goal-scoring target man to relieve the pressure on £1.7m club record signing Peter Thorne and knows Bermudan international Goater is out of contract at Maine Road.

Goater, now 33, has scored goals wherever he has been. The tall raider grabbed City's equaliser against United in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford last season - one of seven strikes in 16 starts.

Rejected by the Red Devils as a youngster, the Bermuda-born player made his name at Rotherham before a £175,000 switch to Bristol City in 1996 where he smashed 40 goals in 67 League games.

He joined Manchester City in a £400,000 move in March 1998 and fired the bullets to take his side to the Division One championship four years later.

But the attacker, who has bagged 104 goals in 189 starts at Maine Road, is now out of contract - City manager Kevin Keegan looking to Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Fowler and Jon Macken for the next campaign.
Full story.

Here comes Hamm-bal
MADCAP Cardiff City owner Sam Hammam wants to ride an elephant through the capital to kick-start a free promotion party for Bluebirds fans!

The flamboyant Lebanese businessman had dreamed of leading a march by 4,000 supporters from Ninian Park to Sunday's play-off against QPR at the Millennium Stadium on the back of an elephant.

But he didn't have time to clear it with the police or council.

Today, we can reveal his wacky plan is part of a proposal being put forward by the fans to be discussed when the club meets with Cardiff council and police tomorrow.

A club insider told us: "The idea is a continuation of some-thing Sam wanted to do before the play-off - to lead the parade as he did when he was at Wimbledon Football Club. There are obviously impracticalities involved!"
Full story.

Monster smash for Cardiff stars
CARDIFF City's star players are in talks with sport's hottest agent to turn them into Division One Beckhams.

The man who helped steer feisty footballer Vinnie Jones into a Hollywood hardman now wants to work his magic on the Bluebirds.

Larger-than-life Eric Hall - nicknamed "Monster" after his trademark catchphrase - says top players like Robert Earnshaw and Danny Gabbidon will earn big bucks if they cash in on their new-found fame.

Talented footballers blessed with a sense of style are in high demand by companies eager to capitalise on their looks, skill and attitude.

Beckham, the most famous of them all, advertises Pepsi, Police glasses, Vodafone and, with wife Victoria, the Tokyo Beauty Company. He also has his own designer range of clothes for boys at Marks and Spencer.

Mr Hall, who has also managed Dennis Wise, told Wales on Sunday he is interested in at least six Cardiff City players and is in talks with three of them following last weekend's promotion to Division One.

And he promises to make them rich - very rich!

"I would sign Earnshaw," he said. "And there's at least half a dozen players I know who need guidance on how to get the best deals. I can't say any names at the moment, but I'm talking to three players."
Full story.

Cool-hand Lennie's doing it the Eriksson way
THE Ice Man cometh. England coach Sven Goran Eriksson may have made the laid-back approach fashionable, but Cardiff City boss Lennie Lawrence is the REAL king of cool.

That was the verdict of Bluebirds' supremo Sam Hammam just after last Sunday's dramatic second division play-off final win over Queen's Park Rangers at the Millennium Stadium.

And the Cardiff City manager admits he knows no other way.

"Keeping calm seems to be the in-thing now," says Lawrence, still smiling from the 1-0 win over QPR which saw his side take the final spot in Division One.

"But it's always been my way of doing things. It's never been my style to throw teacups or anything. It was fashionable a few years ago to be over-the-top - but I don't think that's the right way to manage."

Lawrence is much more Sven than Sir Alex Ferguson, but says it is each to his own when it comes to management.

"If you do it (lose your temper), you do it - everyone has their own way," he says. "Neil Warnock does it his way and I do it mine."

In fact, Warnock, the explosive Sheffield United manager, was sent from the touchline after arguing with the referee in the first half of their 3-0 Division One play-off defeat to Wolves on Monday.
Full story.