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Football: IT'S NACHO NO-GO; Striker won't quit Tayside.

Byline: KENNY ROSS

DUNDEE hitman Nacho Novo insists that he is happy at the Tayside club - despite rumours he could be moving to Rangers.

But the Spaniard, who has scored 15 goals so far this season, may be on his way out the club anyhow, as the administrators move in.

It seems the January sales would be the ideal time for Gers boss Alex McLeish to swoop for Novo, as it would help his ailing Rangers team as well as raising some much-needed cash for the Dark Blues.

However, Novo sees his future with Dundee and said: "I don't know anything about a move to Rangers as I've not been speaking to them and neither has my agent.

"It's all rumours and I try not to listen, all I want to do is keep playing football and keep scoring goals for Dundee.

"I'm happy and want to stay here, but of course the club has problems and they need to find money.

"Rangers are big and are a very good club, so if Dundee come and say to me 'Nacho, you must go' then I would - but I'm not asking to leave."

Novo's best friend in Scotland is fellow Spaniard and Rangers star Mikael Arteta, whom he helped settle in following his move from Barcelona at the start of last season.

Novo also keeps regular contact with former Dens defender Zurab Khizanishvili and has watched the Georgian's career blossom since his summer transfer to the Champions.

However, he maintains he is totally focused on his career at Dens - so much so that he has not even talked to his friends about the link with Rangers.

"Arteta is my best friend and I speak to him all the time, I also speak to Zurab as I know him from last season with Dundee," he added.

"I've not talked to them about Rangers as it's just rumours and also, they are only players so what would they know about it - only the manager knows what's going to happen.

"I'm not going to pay attention to the rumours, I just want to concentrate on my football."

Meanwhile, former Dark Blues hitman Tommy Coyne reckons Scottish football should get back to basics to avoid any more Dundee-style cash crises.

The ex-Celtic and Motherwell ace visited Dens Park yesterday to help launch the latest fund-raising scheme aimed at helping the club come out of administration. Dundee stars past and present have kicked off a campaign whereby Dark Blues shirts pertaining to their particular era can be signed and sold.

And Coyne was only too willing to 'do his bit' to aid the plight of a club he served with distinction twice - in the late eighties and then again in the late nineties.

He said: "The problem is that huge salaries have paid to players for too long - it is simply not good for the game, as Dundee's situation shows.

"I had great times at Dundee and the fans are so passionate - but passion alone won't save the club.

"You just have to look at the likes of Clydebank to see that clubs can actually fold, but those involved in trying to save Dundee are determined the same thing won't happen to them."

Skipper of the 1962 championship winning side Bobby Cox also attended the launch, as did current campaigners Lee Wilkie and Novo.

Current centre-back Wilkie reckons the actions of Cox, Coyne underline the fact that the deep rooted concern for Dundee's future extends beyond the present-day payroll.

Great

He said: "People who have played for Dundee in the past still have feelings for the club even though some of them have moved on to other things.

"It's great to see they still have Dundee at heart and want to do something to help.

"Everybody knows what Dundee means to Bobby Cox, and the likes of Tommy Coyne was someone I played with here at Dens when I was a teenager, and I know how much he liked being at the club - it's wonderful that he has chipped in to help too."

CAPTION(S):

SIGNING SPREE: Novo autographs a ball at the Dee 4 Life event as the club desperately tries to raise funds; ARTETA: Novo is pal with Gers star
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2003
Words:706
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