Football: Cottee Double Offers Welcome Relief ; Leicester City 2 Cottee 22, 58 Wimbledon 1 Gayle 21 Half-Time: 1-1 Attendance: 18,255

Article excerpt

SOME OF the stares exchanged in the hospitality rooms must have been as icy as the wind whipping across Filbert Street as another explosion of hostilities rocked strife-torn Leicester, but Tony Cottee continues to warm the cockles. Two goals from City's evergreen striker, who narrowly missed notching a hat-trick in stoppage time, ended Wimbledon's unbeaten run and maintained Leicester's position on the heels of the Premiership leaders.

Both goals were of the kind in which the 34-year-old specialises, punched home from close range after others had done the spadework. They brought back distant memories for Egil Olsen, the Wimbledon manager. "I remember taking Norway's Under-21s to play England at Southampton many years ago and Cottee scored three times against us," he said.

It is mildly astonishing that Leicester remain a credible Premiership force given the feud that continues to rage behind the scenes. The break in fixtures did nothing to advance the cause of resolution, which neither side in a bitter boardroom dispute seems keen to embrace.

More shots were fired, from both directions, even as the manager, Martin O'Neill, prepared for this match. First, John Elsom, the incumbent club chairman, revealed the make-up of the board of directors he hopes to see in place after an Extraordinary General Meeting planned for next month.

Then it was announced that Elsom's ally, Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of Leicester City plc, had received notice from the plc chief executive, Barrie Pierpoint, the central figure in the opposite camp, that he had been declared persona non grata.

The letter from Pierpoint, a member of the so-called "gang of four" who hold sway in the boardroom, was unequivocally worded. "You would not be welcome on this occasion or on any other occasion in the future," Sir Rodney was told. He stayed away to avoid any "unsavoury incident" but Elsom immediately disassociated himself from the letter, which he described as "outrageous and petty". …