Football: Francis back with the Blues

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The Independent Online
TREVOR FRANCIS has withdrawn his resignation as the manager of Birmingham City.

Francis quit St Andrew's on Saturday evening after both his son and his wife were verbally abused by a section of supporters during the 1-0 First Division win over Queen's Park Rangers. Yesterday, though, Francis said that the "overwhelming and magnificent" support of the Blues' fans was instrumental in persuading him to reverse his decision.

Francis, who held talks with Birmingham's chairman, David Gold, on Sunday, said: "I have been given certain assurances that things will change in the future." The manager had also been angered by the decision of the club's commercial department to allocate the players' lounge to sponsors.

Francis added that his decision to leave had been a point of principle on behalf of his players: "I felt that I would have been letting them down if I did not do something about it."

Steve Thompson, the former Lincoln and Southend manager who stepped in as caretaker when Nigel Spackman resigned as the manager of Sheffield United last week, will remain in charge at Bramall Lane until the end of the season.

The Blades have also appointed a director, Kevin McCabe, as acting chairman until the end of the season.

Everton have signed the Scottish international striker John Spencer on a month's loan from Queen's Park Rangers. The Burnley goalkeeper Marlon Beresford has joined Middlesbrough for pounds 400,000.

The Leeds manager, George Graham, will study video evidence of the head- butting incident involving his striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and the Wolves defender Keith Curle during Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final before deciding whether to punish the Dutch striker.

Hasselbaink was confronted by a taunting Curle after missing a penalty he had won. Graham said: "I have not seen the incident yet - but if it is proved it was a head-butt I will take action."

Wolves' semi-final against Arsenal or West Ham will be played at Villa Park on 5 April. The other tie that day, Newcastle against Coventry or Sheffield United, will be staged at Old Trafford.

Bradford City and Bury have been fined pounds 25,000 each, with pounds 20,000 suspended until the end of the 1998-99 season, following a brawl between the two teams in December.

Darren Barnard has been called up by Wales - even though the defender was born in Germany and is a former England Schools international. The Barnsley wing-back has been picked for the friendly against Jamaica at Ninian Park, Cardiff, on 25 March.

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