Football: Hoddle happy with Ferguson

Rift? What rift? Glenn Hoddle last night dismissed suggestions of a dispute between himself and the Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson.

After United's victory at Everton on Saturday, Ferguson announced that he would not be sending the injured Gary Neville, Gary Pallister or David Beckham to join the England squad at their Buckinghamshire headquarters to have their fitness checked ahead of Saturday's friendly match against Mexico. But after he and the England coach spoke on the phone at the weekend, Hoddle agreed that Pallister and Beckham should remain in Manchester for treatment.

"I spoke to Alex and there wasn't a problem between us," Hoddle said. "He was only too pleased to let David and Philip step up. Philip will come in if Gary isn't 100 per cent fit."

The Bristol City manager Joe Jordan has left the Second Division club by mutual consent, it was announced last night. City have slid out of contention for a play-off place in recent weeks and last week allowed Rotherham United to claim their first away win of the season.

The former Leeds and Scotland striker was in his second spell as manager at Ashton Gate, having rejoined the club in November 1994 after previously being in charge from 1988 to 1990. The sssistant manager, Gerry Sweeney, has been put in temporary charge.

English Premiership clubs could lose millions of pounds on the transfer market if Fifa, as expected, announces today that the "Bosman" ruling, giving free transfers to out-of-contract players, will be extended to cover footballers of all nationalities moving between clubs in European Union countries. At the moment, only European players become free agents at the end of their contracts.

News from Portugal yesterday was far from encouraging for Manchester United fans who went to their club's European Cup match in Oporto on Wednesday. The Portuguese internal affairs minister, Alberto Costa, said yesterday that police were fully justified in firing rubber bullets and anti-riot pellets at United fans after the draw with Porto. "They prevented what could have been a tragedy," he said.

Portsmouth have banned one supporter indefinitely following the crowd trouble at Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday. Play was stopped for 18 minutes and the players were taken off the field as trouble flared in two parts of Loftus Road. The Football Association will hold a full inquiry into the incident.

Kenny Dalglish is poised to make the IA Akranes striker Bjarni Gudjonsson, an 18-year-old Iceland Under-21 international, his first signing for Newcastle United.

Gillingham say Brighton must pay them pounds 300,000 rent, even if they abandon plans to ground-share at Priestfield Stadium. Gillingham's chairman, Paul Scally, is adamant his club want the money due under signed contracts.

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