Charles Sale: Al's 1.75m demand too rich for Ashley
The financial demands of Newcastle boss Alan Shearer are a highly sensitive issue at St James's Park with the club claiming they're excessive while the manager's agents say the numbers have been exaggerated. It's understood that Shearer in his last meeting with owner Mike Ashley asked for a £2.5million package next season, which breaks down into annual payments of £1.75m for Shearer, £500,000 for assistant Iain Dowie and £250,000 for head of performance Paul Ferris. What has upset Shearer's representatives WMG is that the fanciful £3m-a-year being bandied about as the manager's asking price will only alienate Toon supporters at a time of so much uncertainty surrounding the ownership. However it's now emerged that Ashley, guilty of being ultra extravagant in past Newcastle dealings, now considers the genuine wages Shearer wants as being too much for a relegated club. West Ham have put more than a dollop of gravy on their latest takeover which chief executive Scott Duxbury describes as securing the long-term future of the club. In reality it's nothing more than an intermediate measure to prevent West Ham being dragged under when previous owner Gudmundsson Bjorgolfur goes bankrupt. New owners the Straumur Bank, who are the biggest creditors of Gudmundsson's holding company Hansa, are hardly in a position to put money into West Ham being in serious financial difficulty themselves. A bank spokesman saying: 'We're in trouble but we've been given time to re-organise.' And, under pressure from their creditors, they will sell on West Ham as soon as they can. Alan Green, Five Live's extraordinary chief football commentator (right) whose expertise behind the microphone is in total contrast to his ability to work as a team player, is understood to have fallen out with yet another colleague. Green, who earlier in the season refused to travel on the same plane as presenter Mark Saggars, now doesn't want to be seated on flights next to colleague Graham Taylor, the former England manager who is a popular member of the England media corps. Green's latest feud began following his upset at being named as a Liverpool supporter on air by Taylor. David Sheepshanks, the former Ipswich chairman (right) whose relationship with the club is now minimal following the Marcus Evans takeover, is still attempting to retain his seat on the FA board. Sheepshanks, who will be on the annual Football League Thomas Cook-sponsored jolly to Portugal this week to lobby for votes, is one of four contenders for two positions on the Football League board which he needs to be on to qualify for his FA position. The others are Middlesbrough's Keith Lamb, Derby's Adam Pearson and Sheffield Wednesday's Nic Parker. It's looking like the last rites for doomed sports subscription channel Setanta will take place on Friday when a rights payment of £40m is due to the Premier League, who have cut the network no slack in their massive efforts to renegotiate deals and differ payments. And Setanta falling short of investor cut demands means the end is nigh. England have pinpointed three potential altitude venues for their 2010 World Cup base in South Africa around Johannesburg, Pretoria and Rustenburg. Coach Fabio Capello, accompanied by assistant Franco Baldini and FA security chief Ray Whitworth will make his choice during his Confederations Cup trip. One certainty being the location will be a WAG-free zone. Meanwhile the fact that he was in Kazakhstan, a long way from any Soho Square authority, didn't stop the energetic Whitworth from ordering Kazakhstan photographers where they should stand in their own stadium before England came out to practice before the World Cup qualifier in Almaty. Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl, who did the American magazine's cover story on David Beckham, was hoping his book about the player's time in the USA with LA Galaxy, The Beckham Experiment to be published by Crown next month, would receive the blessing of brand Becks. But neither Beckham nor his entourage have co-operated although relaxed about its contents. Beckham doesn't have any great desire to do another book yet and Harper Collins would have first refusal.
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