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SIGN OR GET OUT RIOCH!; Arsenal warn crisis boss.

Bruce Rioch could be out of Arsenal if he hasn't signed his contract by the start of the new season.

I can reveal he is under intense pressure to sign the contract after angry directors held a second emergency meeting in 24 hours last night.

As Rioch flew with the team to Glasgow for tonight's friendly at Celtic, board members gathered again for almost three hours at Highbury to discuss the growing crisis. They are rapidly losing patience with the manager's continued refusal to commit himself to the club.

I understand that some directors are ready to ditch Rioch if he has not signed his contract by the big kick-off in 17 days.

Arsenal have not completed a single cash transaction in or out of the club since selling pounds 2.3million Stefan Schwarz to Fiorentina on July 12 last year.

Rioch has always claimed that he has provided vice-chairman David Dein and managing director Ken Friar with a list of transfer targets which they have been unable to bring to the club.

But there is a feeling within the club that the uncertainty surrounding Rioch's future has hampered their efforts to recruit big-name stars.

Every other Premiership club has bought at least one player since Euro 96. Alan Shearer's pounds 15million move to Newcastle this week took soccer's spending spree to close on pounds 90million this summer.

But Arsenal's only signing so far has been 35-year-old

reserve team keeper John Lukic on a free transfer from Leeds.

Skipper Tony Adams and leading scorer Ian Wright are both sidelined by injuries which could rule them out of the opening day game against West Ham.

Now Rioch has until August 15 to break his transfer duck if any new signing is to be eligible to play in the first round of the UEFA Cup.

And the club are determined to take decisive action to resolve the situation before the shareholders AGM which takes place on August 22.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Irwin, Mark
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 31, 1996
Words:326
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