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Mystery of the missing pounds 1/2 m; New row as we reveal shocking evidence.

A staggering pounds 510,000 has gone missing from Nottingham Forest's coffers, according to documents seen by the Sunday Mirror.

Auditors reports - prepared by Price Waterhouse and covering 1987-90 - reveal major cash shortfalls in a string of deals worth over pounds 1.8 million.

Some of the major deals in question are:

The 1988 arrival at Nottingham Forest of Lee Chapman.

The 1989 moves of Hans Segers, Carlton Plummer, Ketjit Osvold, Tommy Gaynor and Nigel Jemson.

The 1990 transfers of Tony Loughlan and Neil Lyne from non-League Leicester United for pounds 32,000.

Two of these deals - involving Lyne and Loughlan - have already been the subject of a Premier League investigation which ruled on 20 September that Brian Clough and Forest assistant Ronnie Fenton personally benefited through "fraudulent" transactions.

Details of these transfers have been handed over to the Football Association which is conducting its own investigation into these transfers as well as Alfe-Inge Haaland (1992) and Toddy Orlygsson's (1989).

There is no suggestion that any of the players involved in these deals are implicated in any sort of scam, but the moves do provide a fascinating insight into the systematic abuse of the transfer system at Forest during the Clough era.

In particular, we have uncovered serious discrepancies between the transfer fees reported at the time - and almost certainly logged with the FA - and the very different figures that appear in Forest's internal accounts.

The way transfer deals were brokered at the club are perfectly illustrated in the purchase of Lee Chapman in 1988 and the 1989 sales of Kjetil Osvold to Scandinavian club Djurgaarden and Tommy Gaynor to Doncaster Rovers.

A Forest insider told the SUNDAY MIRROR: "We were talking about Chapman's move when Fenton started talking about a carve up. Fenton said he wanted at least pounds 50,000 and agreed to meet Roach at somewhere on the M1."

Agent Dennis Roach personally brokered Chapman's move to Forest from French outfit Niort in 1988.

According to internal Forest management accounts for the period, the club paid a fee of pounds 378,000 for the player and pounds 135,000 in commission to Roach.

However, by the time Price Waterhouse had prepared detailed accounts, Roach's payment had shrunk to just pounds 65,000. Somehow pounds 70,000 was "missing".

Serious question marks also exist over the 1989 transfers of Osvold and Gaynor.

According to figures lodged with the authorities, Forest received fees of pounds 70,000 for Osvold and pounds 25,000 for Gaynor.

But auditors Price Waterhouse suggest that the club had to PAY pounds 5,000 to get rid of Osvold. A pounds 70,000 cash injection has become a pounds 75,000 loss!

When Gaynor was sold to Doncaster, the fee had been reduced to just pounds 10,000.

We put our finding to former chairman Maurice Roworth who claimed he had been "duped and misled".

Roworth said that there appeared to be "problems" with some transfer deals. He was nonplussed by the figures relating to one-time striker Nigel Jemson, signed from Preston.

"I can't believe that the accounts only show a fee of pounds 25,000 for Jemson. I could have swore we paid something in the region of pounds 150,000," Roworth told us.

"Somebody has misled me. I've been duped. When we bought Lyne and Loughlan from Leicester United I was told the fee was going to be pounds 4,000.

"There is no way we would have paid pounds 32,000 for them both. They were young non-League players with no track record."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Yorke, Tony
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 19, 1997
Words:592
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