Cash payment sparked 'bung' claim: Steve Boggan examines the story which led to allegations against England's football manager

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FRANK McLINTOCK, one of the best-known British footballers of the past 30 years, looked at the pounds 58,750 cash in a cardboard box on his lap and thought: 'Bloody hell. I'm in Tottenham.'

Although the home of one of the most illustrious clubs in football, the area around White Hart Lane is not a place to be caught with a box full of money.

Alan Sugar, Tottenham chairman, had alleged that this was the Brian Clough 'bung', the money supposedly carried by Mr McLintock to Mr Clough at an unspecified motorway service station in return for smoothing the pounds 2.1m transfer of Teddy Sheringham. The whole operation was allegedly orchestrated by Terry Venables, Tottenham's chief executive and manager. As we report on page one, the Crown Prosecution Service has now dropped inquiries into these allegations. How did they begin?

In August 1992, Mr McLintock's company, First Wave Sporting Management, had presided over the transfer of Sheringham, now an England international, from Nottingham Forest to Tottenham Hotspur.

A source involved in the transfer described the scene in the office of Eddie Ashby, Mr Venables's personal assistant, on the day the deal went through.

'What happened on that fateful day has given rise to the allegations of the 'bung',' he said. The source said Mr McLintock had asked to be paid for several months' work as an agent working on behalf of a number of players and in the club's interests. He was owed pounds 41,000 plus VAT.

'Terry Venables called Alan Sugar to say that the deal had been completed, asked for authorisation to proceed with it, which he got. He said Frank's company wanted paying that day, they had waited a few months for their money and he thought they should be paid on the day.

'We were in Eddie Ashby's office when Colin Sandy (finance director and a Sugar appointee) brought the money in cash. We laughed about it because it was, to say the least, old-fashioned that anyone should pay in cash, but seeing as Terry had asked that Frank be paid that day - and he never mentioned cash - we expected a bankers' draft. It didn't surprise any of us because it was 5-5.30pm and there is often that amount of money swishing around Tottenham from tickets, shop sales and stuff like that, so in itself it was not that unusual.'

The source claimed the amount was authorised by Mr Sugar.

Mr McLintock's company had invoiced the club and pushed for payment. 'I had never been paid in cash like that, but I had been demanding payment for a while, so I wasn't going to complain.

'I had it on my lap in the car, then covered it up and took it straight home and hid it.' In the following weeks and months, he spent the cash, splitting it with his partner and making investments and purchases. He said each transaction had been verified by police.

Most of the allegations of Mr Venables's under-the-table deals - including questions over Paul Gascoigne's departure to the Italian club Lazio - have been either dealt with or are the subject of libel action.

Neither Mr Clough nor Mr Sugar were available for comment yesterday.

(Photographs omitted)