Football: Speed goes on strike to press claim for transfer

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The Independent Online
Gary Speed has gone on strike and last night refused to travel with Everton for their Premier League game at West Ham tomorrow. The Welsh international was left behind when the team bus left for London last night.

The unsettled midfielder had put in a transfer request to force the issue after the Merseyside club turned down three offers for him from Newcastle United. Now that he has taken his dispute to a new level, Everton are certain to discipline him and could fine him the maximum of two weeks' wages, around pounds 20,000.

Speed is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his friend David Batty, who took a similar approach when he wanted to leave Blackburn Rovers. Speed hopes to team up with Batty at Newcastle and his latest action could speed the matter along to that conclusion.

Speed has already been stripped of the captaincy and his action in refusing to go to London means that there is no way back for him. Everton appear to face the choice of having Speed on their books while refusing to play, or selling him to Newcastle for a compromise figure.

Newcastle will pay pounds 250,000 to Stoke City if Andy Griffin, a youth international full-back, wins his first England cap. The pay-out is including in a transfer deal that took a week of haggling between the clubs to complete. Newcastle are paying pounds 1.5m down, with an additional pounds 500,000 appearance-linked.

The Aston Villa manager, Brian Little, has confirmed that Crystal Palace have made a pounds 1m offer for the Yugoslavian international, Sasa Curcic - a quarter of the fee they paid Bolton for him 18 months ago.

Liverpool's manager, Roy Evans, expects his England midfielder Jamie Redknapp to be out for only two or three weeks after having an operation on a slight cartilage tear. He and the player will have a clearer idea once the success of the surgery can be assessed.

The Football League has agreed to withdraw its complaint to the European Commission over the loss of a Uefa Cup place for the winners of the Coca- Cola Cup.

Chic Bates, replaced by Chris Kamara as the manager of Stoke City, is to stay with the First Division club as first-team coach, the position he held when Lou Macari was in charge.

- Alan Nixon

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