Fenwick forms Fratton alliance

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The Independent Online
FOOTBALL : Terry Fenwick was installed by Portsmouth yesterday as the successor to Jim Smith when the First Division club, who are seeking new owners, decided on a change of manager as well. Smith, four years at Fratton Park, was left hurt and di sappointed but vowed, at 54, to stay in the game.

Fenwick, the former Spurs and Queen's Park Rangers defender, intends to continue as a player, and says he will have no hesitation in calling on the highest managerial office for advice. "Terry Venables has been a major influence on my career and there isno better person to turn to," he said.

Smith was told he was no longer wanted during a meeting with the Portsmouth managing director, Martin Gregory, son of Jim, the club's owner. "They wanted me to take an extended holiday, a four-month sabbatical. I told him I didn't think that would do anyone any good and that was that," Smith said.

"To be honest, I'm baffled by the whole thing. If it had happened before Christmas when things were going badly then I would have said it was fair enough, but we've picked things up." Under Smith, Portsmouth reached an FA Cup semi-final in 1992 and only missed automatic promotion to the Premiership the following year on goal difference. Two weeks ago the club were put up for sale for £7m.

Blackburn could face sanctions from the Football Association after a supporter ran on to the pitch and manhandled the referee, Rodger Gifford, at the end of Wednesday's home game with Leeds, which featured two controversial penalties and a red card for Tim Flowers after 72 seconds. Players intervened to drag the supporter away.

Yesterday the FA demanded an urgent report from their observer at the game and will decide whether to charge the Premiership leaders with failing to control their fans. Blackburn have banned the supporter for the rest of the season.

On the same night the Everton manager, Joe Royle, put himself in danger of a misconduct charge by describing the performance of David Elleray at Newcastle, where two of his players were dismissed, as the most "insensitive display of refereeing" he had seen in more than 30 years.

With Wimbledon's Joe Kinnear this week charged with the same offence and other contentious incidents fresh in the mind, the feeling has grown that officials are attracting more criticism than ever before. The Wimbledon owner, Sam Hammam, was the latest yesterday to join the call for an independent panel to sit in the stand adjudicating on vital decisions. Elleray disagrees and makes the point that on-field relations between opposing teams and between players and officials is better than ever.

"There's more focus on referees because of increased television cameras and also because of the new Fifa directives," he said. "Also at this stage of the season decisions become more crucial. Whichever way it falls one team will be upset."

Tottenham have announced that Nick Barmby has signed a new five-year contract and Ian Walker a four-year deal. The Spurs manager, Gerry Francis, described it as "fantastic news". Walker, who has made the goalkeeping berth his own at White Hart Lane, has also secured a £200,000 glove sponsorship with Reusch.

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