Football: Wolves head the pack in chase for Thomas

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(First Edition)

GEOFF THOMAS, the Crystal Palace and former England midfield player, could be part of a First Division promotion campaign next season - but with Wolverhampton Wanderers, and not the relegated south London club.

The ambitious Molineux side, who paid pounds 750,000 for Newcastle's David Kelly on Thursday, have tabled a bid believed to be well over pounds 1m for the 28-year-old Thomas. However, they face competition from Premier League clubs, including Newcastle, Manchester City and Southampton. Thomas, formerly with Rochdale and Crewe, was in Wolverhampton for talks earlier this week.

Sir John Quinton, the Premier League chairman, told the league's first annual general meeting in London yesterday that the distribution of television income had been a great success. 'Every club received a substantial sum and the gap between top and bottom has narrowed,' he said. 'The most successful club (Manchester United) earned pounds 2.4m and three others earned in excess of pounds 2m, while the least successful received pounds 1.6m.'

A proposal for a Premier League Under-21 club competition, put forward by Tottenham's Terry Venables, looks unlikely to become reality.

Both teams will take to the pitch together before the start of Premier League matches, and clubs will put players' names and squad numbers on the back of their shirts. These two innovations will also apply in the Football League, which held its annual meeting in Walsall yesterday.

The Football League approved the launch of a fund to help finance ground redevelopment and meet the requirements of the Taylor report. Money will be raised by a five per cent levy on transfer fees and a 10 per cent levy on clubs' end-of-season bonus payments.

There will be three substitutes, one a recognised goalkeeper, in Football League matches next season. In deference to the pools companies, the League has agreed that clubs will not be allowed to switch Saturday fixtures except for television or policing purposes - which will upset Stockport, Tranmere and other clubs who favour Friday evening games.