Football: Barnes enters Valley for free

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The Independent Online
CHARLTON YESTERDAY completed the free signing of John Barnes from Newcastle, in a deal that will keep him in London until the end of the season. The 35-year-old former England midfielder, out of favour on Tyneside since the arrival of Ruud Gullit, impressed Alan Curbishley during a trial last week and could go straight into first-team action against his former club Liverpool at The Valley on Saturday.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are sending their former prodigy and England Under- 21 prospect Danny Murphy back to Crewe Alexandra, the club which discovered him. As far as Liverpool are concerned, his Anfield career is over, and the club's manager Gerard Houllier has decided to sell.

Liverpool want pounds 2.5m for Murphy, which is optimistic given his poor form. The Crewe move will at least give him the chance to display his talents before the transfer deadline and should also help the ailing side's fight against relegation. There is no chance of Murphy's move becoming permanent, because of his high wages, which Liverpool will contribute to while he is at Gresty Road.

Peter Johnson is ready to sell a chunk of his Everton shares to Bill Kenwright, but wants to keep a stake in the club.

The Jersey-based businessman, who owns 68 percent of the club, is close to agreement on the sale of over half his stake in Goodison to a consortium led by Kenwright, the caretaker chairman. Around 60 per cent of his shares could be traded off for about pounds 25m this week.

Mark Goldberg, the owner of Crystal Palace, will launch a plan to bring in badly needed funds today - by asking fans to buy a five-year season ticket. Goldberg plans to create a "fanbership" concept where fans pay for their seats for years in advance.

Among a host of financial problems, Goldberg is being threatened with legal action by former employees and agents who are owed money.

Tottenham have put a trio of surplus imports on the transfer list, with Moussa Saib, Paolo Tramezzani and Jose Dominguez all being told they can leave White Hart Lane.

Blackburn have rejected a transfer request from their unsettled goalkeeper Tim Flowers. Flowers, 32, a member of Rovers' title-winning side in 1995, demanded a move after losing his place to Australian John Filan. It was also announced yesterday that the Rovers striker Nathan Blake could be out of the game for several weeks, because of a disc problem in his neck.

Sheffield Wednesday have failed in their appeal to have a three-match ban for goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek reduced to one game following his recent sending-off against Derby last month.