John Lyall, the Ipswich general manager, was the Hammers' manager at the time Slater joined the Upton Park club 10 years ago. 'It's marvellous to be signing Stuart again.' Lyall said. 'He's a player of very special talent.'
Slater, who is eligible to play in tomorrow's Premiership game at Queen's Park Rangers, was also wanted by Chelsea, who had offered a swap with Robert Fleck.
Three weeks ago Peter Swales's tenure as chairman of Manchester City looked to be over. He had just sacked his manager, Peter Reid, the team were struggling, there were demonstrations in and outside Maine Road and Francis Lee had mounted a takeover bid.
Since the new management team of John Maddock and Brian Horton took over, City have lost only one Premiership match - away to Wimbledon - the Lee consortium has been balked and yesterday Swales was able to announce that the club had made a record pounds 2.3m profit. City's shares are now expected to reach pounds 30 each, thus making any attempt by Lee to take control of the club much more expensive.
Whoever leads City into the next century was given a glimpse of the size of the task of keeping up with the Joneses. Manchester United's turnover for the year is expected to be pounds 25m, compared with City's pounds 10.1m.
Earl Barrett is almost certain to be ruled out of the England squad for the World Cup game against the Netherlands on 13 October. The Aston Villa defender has a calf injury which is causing concern to Ron Atkinson. 'There is a dead spot in the nerve at the side of the calf,' the Villa manager said. 'He is all right when he walks but the ankle goes when he tries more then that. A nerve specialist has tried to shock the nerve to simulate it.' Barrett has already missed Villa's last two games.
Marseille were yesterday ordered to close their ground for one match following a crowd invasion against Metz last week. The verdict of the French league disciplinary hearing in Paris also stated that the club must play the game at a neutral venue at least 180 miles away from their home city.
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