Football: McMahon defiant as he leaves Swindon

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STEVE McMAHON'S reign as the manager of Swindon Town came to a predictable end yesterday. The former Liverpool and England midfielder announced his resignation and said he was moving back to the north-west for family reasons.

McMahon, who replaced the current England No 2, John Gorman, as Swindon's manager in November 1994, left the Wiltshire club after a run of bad results and disappointment at his failure to win over the fans.

McMahon, 37, has gone after almost four seasons in charge at the County Ground - a spell which included winning the Second Division title in 1995- 96.

"It was a family decision for me to come to Swindon in the first place, and when all this started to affect my family I knew it was time to go," McMahon said. "They have had to move back to Southport and that's no good for anyone. I just hope the supporters are happy now they have got their way, and they will come back to watch games again now I've gone.

"I have had four years here and I think I've done a good job. If you look at the history of Swindon Town, this club has only ever won two championships. I'm very proud to have helped them win one of them."

The Leeds United manager, George Graham, has responded to growing speculation that he is about to go to Tottenham Hotspur by giving assurances that he will not walk out on his contract at Elland Road.

The Spurs chairman, Alan Sugar, has already had one request to speak to Graham dismissed by Leeds, but there have been reports that, once Saturday's Premiership fixture between the two clubs is over, a deal will be struck.

Concerned at the effect that Graham's departure would have on the League Managers Association's code of conduct, which forbids its members to walk out on contracts, John Barnwell, of the LMA, has contacted the former Arsenal manager and asked him about his plans. "I told George it was none of my business what he wished to do, but it was my business how he went about it," Barnwell said. "He categorically said to me that he had no intention whatsoever of walking out on his contracts."

However, the football agent, Eric Hall, said he thought Graham would definitely take charge at Tottenham - possibly before Saturday's game at White Hart Lane. "Well placed sources at Tottenham have told me that there have been discussions, and I believe George will cost Tottenham about pounds 2m," Hall said.

Aberdeen have signed the striker Robbie Winters from Dundee United for a fee believed to be around pounds 700,000. The Scotland forward Billy Dodds has moved to Tannadice Park as part of the deal.

The Crystal Palace chairman, Mark Goldberg, has confirmed his interest in buying the England and Manchester United striker, Teddy Sheringham.

Although he funded more than half-a-dozen new signings over the summer, Goldberg is prepared to approve even more purchases in the wake of the recent sales of Hermann Hreidarsson to Brentford and Neil Shipperley to Nottingham Forest. He is also understood to be open to offers for the utility player Paul Warhurst and the Italian striker Michele Padovano.

The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, is trying to sign the midfield player Fabio Pecchia from Juventus on loan for the rest of the season. Pecchia has been available at pounds 3m for the past few months.

Rotherham United have denied reports that the former Newcastle United manager, Kenny Dalglish, was involved in an altercation with Magpies' fans outside their Millmoor ground on Tuesday.

Dalglish was in South Yorkshire to watch his son, Paul, play for Newcastle reserves. "Rotherham United have no knowledge of an alleged assault on Kenny Dalglish," Phil Henson, the Third Division club's general manager, said.

Michael Owen is the only England player to figure in a European All-Star XI from this summer's World Cup. The Liverpool striker is named alongside Davor Suker up front, with Arsenal's Emmanuel Petit and Marcel Desailly of Chelsea among six Frenchmen in the first XI. Sol Campbell and David Beckham are among the 11 substitutes chosen by a poll of coaches from Uefa's 51 member associations.

UEFA ALL-STAR TEAM (from 1998 World Cup): Van der Saar (Neth); Thuram (Fr), F de Boer (Neth), Desailly (Fr), Blanc (Fr), Deschamps (Fr), Petit (Fr), Davids (Neth), Zidane (Fr), Owen (Eng), Suker (Croa). Substitutes: Schmeichel (Den); Lizarazu (Fr), Campbell (Eng), Hierro (Sp), Maldini (It), R de Boer (Neth), Jarni (Croa), Beckham (Eng), Boban (Croa), Vieri (It), Bergkamp (Neth).

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