Football: Speed completes his pounds 5.5m transfer to Newcastle

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The Independent Online
Newcastle completed the signing of the Everton midfielder Gary Speed yesterday in a deal believed to be worth pounds 5.5m. The Welsh international is eligible for the Magpies' Premiership game at St James' Park against West Ham today.

The 28-year-old former Leeds United player is the fourth Newcastle signing in the last week and a half, as the Newcastle United manager, Kenny Dalglish, reinforces his squad for an assault on both the FA Cup and a European place in the Premiership.

Th minister for sport, Tony Banks, has rejected overwhelming calls by fans for a return to terracing. The vast majority of supporters at Thursday night's Manchester roadshow of the Government's Football Task Force voiced their backing for the right to stand at matches.

But the issue is not within the remit of the Task Force and Banks says the terraces will not return. A spokesman for Banks said that safety is the over- riding reason why they are against standing at matches.

"Tony Banks understands the feelings that there are, but the truth is that everyone understands the reasons why Lord Justice Taylor recommended all-seater grounds," he said.

Police are nearing the end of their investigation into Arsenal striker Ian Wright's alleged outburst at fans following the club's 3-1 home defeat by Blackburn back in December.

Scotland Yard have taken statements from fans who were at the game on December 13 but denied a report that they were now ready to submit a file on the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will then decide whether there is enough evidence to bring charges against Wright.

Police said that "several lines of inquiry" were still being followed up, with witnesses being encouraged to come forward even at this relatively late stage.

Wright is alleged to have launched a tirade of abuse at supporters from the window of the team's dressing-room following the game.

Wimbledon have been given a boost in their bid to move to Dublin by European Union officials. The Dons, whose proposed move is being resisted by the Football Association of Ireland, have gone to the EU to ask whether they are entitled to relocate in Dublin.

Willy Helin, a spokesman for the EU Commissioner of Competitions Karel Van Miert, said: "As a prima facie case, the European Union would have no objections to the move."

Mario Zagallo, the Brazilian national coach, remained in bullish mood despite another embarrassing night for Brazil in the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Orange Bowl. The world champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Guatemala on Thursday.

Juan Carlos Plata grabbed a dramatic injury-time equaliser after the Brazil captain, Romario, had opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

It means Brazil have yet to chalk up a victory in the competition after being held to a 0-0 draw by Jamaica on Tuesday.

"We didn't play very well tonight. Tuesday was better for us," Zagallo said. "There were a lot of errors in our passing. We made mistakes tonight but let us not forget that we have lost only one of our last 56 games.

Romario made the breakthrough in the 78th minute with a superb penalty into the corner of the goal after he had been bundled over by Engelvert Herrera.

But Guatemala, who played out another goalless draw last Sunday, against El Salvador in Los Angeles, hit back with Plata heading the equaliser after skipper Machon drove in a corner.