Football: Kinnear upset by City retreat

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Terry Phelan's desire to get away from Wimbledon, who play at Selhurst Park, meant he was last night considering whether to join Crystal Palace, who play at. . . Selhurst Park.

Palace have offered pounds 2.5m for the Republic of Ireland left-back, who was born in Salford 25 years ago and had hoped to return north as a Manchester City player. City have pulled out of negotiations because, according to Wimbledon, they have insufficient funds, although a third club, understood to be Chelsea, have proposed a players-plus-cash deal for Phelan.

Kinnear confirmed that an another, unnamed club had offered three players in part exchange, one valued at pounds 800,000 and another at pounds 700,000. Wimbledon's gates mean they would prefer cash - a sub-5,000 crowd watched Tuesday's Premier League defeat by Ipswich - although they might consider a package which brought two members of 1988's FA Cup- winning 'Crazy Gang', Dennis Wise and Vinnie Jones, back to the fold from Chelsea. 'Obviously I'm disappointed to lose someone like Terry,' Kinnear said, 'but it goes with being manager of Wimbledon. We must sell to survive.'

Phelan, who began his career with Leeds before joining Swansea on a free transfer, was quoted at the weekend as saying he would be 'heartbroken' if the City move fell through. That now looks to be the case, leaving Joe Kinnear, the Wimbledon manager, expressing annoyance.

'City made Terry several promises and his mind was fixed on going back there,' Kinnear said yesterday. 'Then suddenly their chairman, Peter Swales, phoned to say he couldn't get the money together. City have been talking a lot, but couldn't come up with the goods.'

John Beck, the Cambridge United manager, yesterday criticised the Football League's independent transfer tribunal over what he considered the under-valuation of striker Steve Claridge, who joined Luton Town during the close season.

Cambridge had sought pounds 750,000 for Claridge, 25, while Luton offered pounds 100,000. The tribunal rated him at pounds 160,000, of which Beck said: 'That is not a reasonable price, and we're very disappointed.' The First Division club also learned yesterday that Richard Wilkins suffered a broken thigh against Charlton on Tuesday and will be out for three months.

Graham Roberts, the 33-year- old former Tottenham, Rangers, Chelsea and England defender, has joined Enfield, of the Diadora League, after being released by West Bromwich Albion.

Oldham Athletic have revealed that hooliganism by England supporters in Sweden during the European Championship this summer was a contributory factor in the decision of the airline, Swissair, to pull out of an pounds 825,000 three-year shirt sponsorship deal.