On The Line - Souness sights on Southampton bid

Last updated at 20:11 10 May 2008

Former Southampton manager Graeme

Souness is among wannabe owners

circling the Championship club's still-breathing

body after their last-day escape

from relegation.

But Souness, who teamed up with Everest

double glazing tycoon Brian Kennedy to

mount a failed £20 million bid for Wolves last

year, will face stiff competition from a number

of parties who have been following events for

some time.

Another former Southampton boss, Dave

Merrington, is believed to be part of the best-placed

bid, led by

barrister Jonathan

Fulthorpe and

businessman John

Cousins, while

groups featuring

ITV chief John

Cresswell and


director Paul

Gregg are also

thought to

remain keen on

striking a deal at

the right price —

about £40m, to

cover share acquisition, an £8m overdraft

and £20m of stadium debt.

Add in new consortia attracted by the

potential fortune to be made by taking the

debt-ridden club back into the top flight, and

there will be plenty for Rupert Lowe and

Michael Wilde to consider when they regain

power at or before Friday's scheduled EGM.

Their first move, however, is likely to be to

oust acting chief executive Lee Hoos and

replace him with Andrew Cowan, once Lowe's

fag at public school Radley College, and

managing director under his previous regime.

ITV ad-price hike for Champions League final

After suffering a massive fine for rigging

telephone votes, ITV are in need of the

boost provided by the all-English

Champions League final.

With the

Manchester United-Chelsea match in

Moscow on May 21 tipped to register the

biggest television audience of the year —

about 15 million — the company have

hiked their advertising rates to about

£200,000 for a 30-second slot, which is four

times the cost of plugging products during

Coronation Street.

But it is understood that

Robbie Williams will not be allowed to

choose who wins.

England stars vital to Setanta success

Just how popular is the much-hyped Indian

Premier League with British armchair fans?

Setanta report that viewing figures and

subscriptions have exceeded their

expectations but BARB figures do not bear

out claims in other media of regular six-figure

audiences, with only one peak more than


The timing and format of the competition

will change next year but the ultimate

success of Setanta's five-year punt will rely

mainly on England stars featuring in 2009.

No napping for London 2012 officials

London 2012 officials face a race

against time to get five of the most

important figures in the project up to speed

in time for the International Olympic

Committee's inspection, a week on


As well as new London Mayor

Boris Johnson and his two political

nominees to the boards of the Games'

organising committee (LOCOG) and the

Olympic Delivery Authority, Lord Coe and

Co must brief the new chairman and chief

executive of the London Development

Agency, which has a crucial role in shaping

the much-vaunted legacy of the Games.

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