Football: Portsmouth delighted by Angell

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The Independent Online
BRETT ANGELL, the Southend United striker, is to sign for Portsmouth in a pounds 500,000 deal. His decision disappointed Birmingham's former Southend manager, Barry Fry, who had hoped to secure Angell's services via a tribunal.

Fry claimed yesterday that the Portsmouth manager, Jim Smith, had gone 'overboard' with the terms offered to Angell because he lost out when the Peterborough goalkeeper, Ian Bennett, chose Birmingham before Pompey last month.

Fry did, however, pick up Notts County's Paul Harding, the former Barnet midfield player, for pounds 40,000. Peter Shearer, released by Birmingham in 1987, has rejoined the club from Bournemouth, for a fee that will rise to pounds 70,000 depending on the midfielder's appearances.

Coventry City signed Sandy Robertson, a midfielder, from Rangers for an appearance-linked fee which may rise to pounds 250,000. Coventry's offer for Chris Marsden, the pounds 250,000- rated midfielder who has made a strong impact on loan from Huddersfield, has been turned down by the Second Division club, who now hope to sell him to Wolves.

The Republic of Ireland will meet Russia at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, on 23 March in the first of their warm-up games for this year's World Cup finals in the United States.

'The old Soviet Union had an excellent World Cup record and I feel it's important that we are playing another team who will be in action in America,' Jack Charlton, the Republic's manager, said. His side will also face the Netherlands in Utrecht on 20 April and Germany in Hanover on 29 May. However, Colombia have pulled out of a proposed fixture in Dublin on 20 May, so efforts will be made to bring France to Lansdowne Road.

The Republic will play Portugal in Dublin in their final World Cup warm-up game on a date to be announced - providing the teams are not in the same group when the European Championship draw is made in Manchester later this month.

Dick Spring, Ireland's foreign minister, and officials of the country's Football Association, yesterday criticised ticket touts in the States for charging exorbitant prices for the Republic's World Cup matches.

Some agencies in New York are asking Ir pounds 250 ( pounds 242) for tickets with a face value of Ir pounds 25 for the Republic's game with Italy. Sean Connolly, the general secretary of the FA of Ireland, said: 'These are crazy, exorbitant prices and they are still climbing. It's becoming a wind-up by the touts. Our advice is don't touch these tickets with a bargepole.'

'Have nothing to do with these prices,' Spring added. 'Wait for more information, and don't panic.'

The FAI expects to receive about 8,000 tickets for each of three scheduled first-round matches in New York and in Orlando, but predicts up to 20,000 Irish fans could travel to the United States.