Football: West Ham forge link with Southend

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Southend and West Ham are following the example set by Liverpool and Crewe by forging a "special relationship".

Last season Crewe announced an agreement with Liverpool that eventually saw Danny Murphy move to Anfield for pounds 1.5m. Liverpool also get first option on Gresty Road's young players, and that scenario may be repeated in the south-east, though the only initial manifestation will be West Ham playing their reserve fixtures at Roots Hall.

Season ticket holders from both clubs will be given free admission to West Ham's reserve games, with Southend recognising that many fans in Essex follow both clubs.

The move follows the appointment of the former Hammers defender Alvin Martin as manager at Roots Hall this summer, after Ronnie Whelan left the club following relegation to the Second Division.

West Ham's managing director Peter Storrie said: "It's a relationship we see of being equal benefit to both clubs along the lines of that which exists between, for example, Liverpool and Crewe and which has worked to the advantage of both."

The Premier League will not be rushed into making public the long-awaited findings of their inquiry into so-called `bungs'. The Sports Minister, Tony Banks, had told the authorities to hurry up and publish the details of investigations into inducements paid during transfer deals, saying, "The new season starts next week and I still haven't seen the report."

The findings are unlikely to be published before the new season kicks off, however. A spokesman for the Premier League said yesterday: "It is a full and thorough inquiry that's still ongoing and we hope to report in full as soon as possible."

The Football Association has launched a national survey to improve their understanding of injuries. They are concerned by long-term injuries to some of the game's leading players and will gather information from club physiotherapists over the next 18 months.

"We have sent a questionnaire to every league club to be filled in by their medical staff," an FA spokesman, Steve Double, said. "The idea is that over 18 months they will log every injury and record details of the circumstances in which it occurred. We want to know how and where certain injuries happen and how they have been treated."

Eric Cantona, Diego Maradona and George Weah are to tackle racism in an all-star tournament this autumn. The trio will captain three teams at the event, which is being backed by the European Commission to publicise the European Year Against Racism. The international players' union, the AIFP, is organising the event, which will be held in Spain on 12 October. Each match will last 40 minutes.

Southampton's manager Dave Jones is raiding his old club Stockport County for a third time to sign their captain Mike Flynn for a fee of around pounds 1m.