Football: Liverpool link up with Crewe

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The Independent Online
Liverpool were at pains yesterday to deny that the "alliance" they have formed with Crewe Alexandra was just another word for the formation of the first nursery club in the English game.

Officially, the liaison with the Second Division club is designed to enhance the development of young players and is not linked to recent proposals that lower level sides should become feeder clubs for Premiership big fish.

The alliance was announced 24 hours after Liverpool took Crewe's 23-year- old midfielder Gareth Whalley on trial with a view to a permanent move.

Liverpool will have no shareholding or financial stake in Crewe who are to maintain their autonomy.

A statement issued by Liverpool said: "The alliance was perceived to offer mutual benefits despite the differences in stature, size and likely future development of the two parties.

"Although smaller in all respects, Crewe Alexandra mirrors Liverpool in many ways, with its commitment to professional excellence, an established record in the development of new talent and the acknowledged quality of its coaching systems.

"The clubs see a number of benefits from improved contacts, including increased commercial opportunities for both parties and closer liaison between the training and coaching staffs of both clubs with regard to the development of young players."

Ronnie Whelan has been reinstated as Southend United's manager four days after he was suspended by the club and 24 hours after being charged by the Football Association with misconduct.

"We have now had the opportunity of studying the referee's report, looking at the video of the game and discussing the matter with Ronnie," John Adams, Southend's chief executive, said.

Whelan and his assistant, Theo Foley, were involved in a touchline incident with a linesman during last Saturday's match at Manchester City. Both were sent off and Foley was sacked on Monday.

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