Football: pounds 10m bid for Yorke rejected by Villa

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ASTON VILLA continued to shrug off the unwelcome advances of Manchester United for Dwight Yorke yesterday, after they rejected what they have described as United's second and final faxed offer of pounds 10m for the striker.

The Midlands club have long maintained that they would only be prepared to sell Yorke if United met their asking price of pounds 16m for the Trinidad and Tobago international.

John Gregory, the Villa manager, was optimistic the matter was now over, because United had said they were not prepared to increase their offer. "United's fax last night said this would be the last offer, and I am delighted," Gregory said.

The United solicitor and director, Maurice Watkins, admitted they had been rebuffed, but he refused to say if the club would try a third time. "I can confirm that we did make an offer of pounds 10m for Dwight Yorke and that it was rejected," he said. "That is the only comment we are making at this stage."

On Tuesday the United manager, Alex Ferguson, said that he still hopes to sign Yorke, while his chairman, Martin Edwards, admitted that the deal was effectively off.

Yesterday Edwards rebuffed any talk of a split between himself and his manager. "I find those accusations very annoying," he said. "To try and build a rift between myself and Alex Ferguson over it is absolute nonsense. Alex picks the players and we're there to support him, which we do. "We're accused of not supporting him, and that's annoying."

United also suffered on another front when a tribunal ruled that Huddersfield Town must only pay pounds 275,000 for Ben Thornley, based on appearances. United had wanted pounds 500,000 for the winger.

The Birmingham City manager, Trevor Francis, has signed a new one-year, roll-over contract at St Andrew's. He was also busy in the transfer market yesterday, agreeing to pay about pounds 1m for Derby County's former Everton defender, Gary Rowett.