The transfer market, now largely the province of continentals coming into Britain, had an old fashioned look yesterday when two English players changed clubs. David Batty will finalise a pounds 3.75m move to Newcastle this weekend, while Julian Joachim joined AstonVilla for pounds 1.5m.
The departure of Batty - described by Kevin Keegan as "the last piece in my jigsaw" - ends a month-long pursuit of the Blackburn Rovers midfielder.
"He has got leadership qualities and most of all, he is a winner," Keegan, the Newcastle manager, said. "He is different to anyone we have got here. We have got lots of different people here but we haven't got one guy like David Batty."
The 27-year-old England international joined Blackburn for pounds 2.75m from Leeds in October 1993. He begins a two-match ban on Monday, which means he will not be able to play against Manchester United at St James' Park a week on Monday.
Joachim's transfer from Leicester reunites him with his former manager at Filbert Street, Brian Little, who said: "He will give us extra competition. He is the right age and calibre."
The Association of Ireland's troubles continued yesterday when executive member Finbarr Flood quit. He follows the resignations of the chief executive Sean Connolly, the senior accountant, Michael Morris, and the national coaching director, Joe McGrath.