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SPIN JOCKTOR; Brown under fire after Di Canio finally leaves.

Paolo di Canio yesterday became a Sheffield Wednesday player - while Celtic General Manager Jock Brown claimed the Italian had not been sold.

Di Canio made his move to Hillsborough in a pounds 4.5million deal, with Dutch star Regi Blinker and pounds 3m heading to Parkhead.

But amazingly, Brown, who after weeks of stalling finally recommended that di Canio should go, insisted that the 29-year-old 'Players 'Player of the Year' had been traded.

Brown said: "I can say categorically, before yesterday he was not available for sale. He was not going to be sold.

"He wasn't sold - he was traded."

However, di Canio's departure came less than 24 hours after Brown's claims that the player would not be transferred. On Tuesday, Brown said: "I've said all down the line that our position is that Paolo is not for sale, although that position is under constant review.

"There's no question of him being made available for transfer, in which case no-one can speak to him without specific permission."

But yesterday, an ashen-faced Brown raged when it was suggested that he'd lied to the press, and Celtic fans.

He said: "I'm not prepared to sit here and be told that I've been leading you up garden paths. I don't accept that I misled you.

"I can tell you that, every answer I gave, I stand by.

"I'm totally comfortable with everything I did for this football club without telling folk lies."

Asked why Sheffield Wednesday had managed to speak di Canio on Tuesday evening, after Brown had denied that permission had ever been given, the General Manager said: "It became apparent that the only way to get Blinker was to

involve di Canio, above. He was available as a trading tool to get Blinker.

Brown's claim on Tuesday that he had not been in communication with di Canio's agents also proved to be wide of the mark.

"I'd not had any communication from Moreno Roggi - and I still haven't.

"But I sent a fax out of the blue because of the deal I'd struck with Sheffield Wednesday.

"I could talk with Paolo di Canio about staying and I'd have tried very hard to persuade him to come back here.

"But I had to authorise the possibility of Wednesday speaking to him.

"I sent a fax to Roggi which gave them an exclusive opening to speak to Sheffield Wednesday." When asked whose decision it was to sell di Canio, Managing Director Fergus McCann said: "It was Jock's very strong recommendation which I approved wholeheartedly.

"That is the position. We have a problem solved. What matters is that Celtic have done the right thing. It doesn't concern me if di Canio gets an extra $5 at Sheffield.

"We didn't want a player who we can't control and will not behave properly, who is a problem in the dressing room and a problem for the coach."

Brown also stressed there would be no verbal promises or gentlemen's agreements in future.

In Sheffield, di Canio - who will now get the pounds 20,000 a-week he demanded from McCann - looked under strict orders not to criticise Celtic further.

After signing a four-year deal, he said: "I want to bury the past and concentrate fully on the future with Wednesday.

"I will always have a lot of affection for Celtic and their fans. I loved the Celtic supporters, and they loved me but every love affair has to finish.

"I will honour the contract I have signed with Wednesday. They have made a big financial investment in me and I'm very conscious of that.

"In return, I can promise them 100 per cent loyalty. I'm delighted to be here and I can't wait to make my mark on English football and in the Premiership which is the best league in Europe."

Pleat said: "Paolo's problems at Celtic are no concern to us."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Weir, Stewart
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 1997
Words:644
Previous Article:I'M LEFT BAFFLED BY THE ERIC ENIGMA.
Next Article:ROMA TO IMPROVE; CELTIC 1 ROMA 0.


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