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Henning Berg's £2million claim against Blackburn Rovers
5:25pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in Football
BLACKBURN Rovers have been plunged deeper into crisis with the prospect of a High Court order to pay up former manager Henning Berg.
The Norwegian, who managed the club he twice served as a player in the 1990s and early 2000s, was sacked on December 27 but is still thought to be owed in the region of £2million.
The club has since sacked his successor, Michael Appleton, who became their third managerial casualty this season on Tuesday, after just 67 days in charge – 10 days longer than Berg.
To compound their most recent dilemma, Rovers face a summary judgement in the High Court next Thursday over an alleged breach of contract.
Berg is hopeful of avoiding a full hearing. A judge will permit a summary judgement short-cut if Rovers’ defence is deemed to be bound to fail.
The League Managers Association is pursuing the case for the Norwegian. The Ewood Park outfit, who have the option of an out-of-court settlement to avoid a one-day hearing, have already come under fire from Richard Bevan, chief executive of the LMA, for their handling of Appleton’s dismissal.
Of the discrepancy over Berg’s outstanding payment, Bevan said: “Blackburn will feel the force of the law in the High Court next week.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Danny Murphy has been handed a Rovers lifeline following Appleton’s sacking.
Appleton, who was dismissed on Tuesday, had made Murphy an outcast during his tenure – forcing the former Liverpool, Fulham and England enforcer to train away from the first team squad.
Murphy was officially stripped of the captaincy earlier this month, and is understood to have even been sent to train with the youth team on occasion.
But after being handed the caretaker reins for the second time this season, Gary Bowyer made one of his first jobs to reinstate Murphy back into the first team fold yesterday.
Bowyer saw the 36-year-old as an ally during his last temporary spell in charge, saying previously: “Since myself and Terry (McPhillips) have come in and had to look after the team, Danny has been brilliant his support for us has been magnificent and we can’t praise him enough.
“The majority of the senior lads have been magnificent and he is one of those. We would be daft not to call on his experience and he has been great for us.”
Murphy did not enjoy a similar relationship with Appleton.
The writing was on the wall for the duo almost immediately for comments Murphy made in the aftermath of the former Portsmouth boss’s controversial switch from Blackpool to Blackburn.
Appleton’s appointment had been confirmed in the build-up to Rovers’ televised game with Wolves in January.
Bowyer, who had won the first three games of his first caretaker spell this season, signed off with a draw at Molineux.
When interviewed after the final whistle, and asked about Appleton’s arrival as boss, Murphy said: “I don’t know much about him.
“Today’s about giving credit to Gary for the job he’s done in the last four games – three wins and a good draw.”
It was understood that Murphy would never play for Rovers again under Appleton and the possibility of buying out his contract is believed to have been considered.
Ironically, given the Berg claim, Murphy’s recall has helped Rovers to avoid shelling out an estimated £2m as the midfielder is understood to command at least £35,000 a week in wages.