Football: Unsworth `knew about Everton offer'

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The Independent Online
JOHN GREGORY, the Aston Villa manager, has hotly disputed David Unsworth's claim that he did not know about Everton's interest in signing him before agreeing to join Villa. In what will go down as one of the swiftest transfers ever, Unsworth signed for Villa last week, only to turn his back on the club seven days later and rejoin his former side, Everton, in a pounds 3m deal.

Unsworth's wife, who has just given birth to their second child, was unwilling to move from their home in Merseyside, and the player realised the 150-mile round trip to Villa's ground each day was not to his liking. As a result he opted to return to Everton after learning they were interested in signing him for a second time.

"There were only ever two clubs after Unsworth and that was Everton and us," a clearly furious Gregory said yesterday. "He could have stopped for a day and evaluated the situation. He had all the time he wanted to think the decision through. We were perfectly aware of David's situation and the fact that his wife had recently given birth to another child.

Gregory insisted that Villa had done everything they could to make life as easy as possible for Unsworth and his wife.

"David was given six months to relocate to the area, and we were prepared to let him use a club house. We would have put him up in a hotel, whatever it took."