Armstrong to fortify Watford

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The First Division leaders Watford have signed an unheralded Englishman, Stephen Armstrong, from the Swedish side Vastra Frolunda until the end of the season.

The First Division leaders Watford have signed an unheralded Englishman, Stephen Armstrong, from the Swedish side Vastra Frolunda until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old, who has scored three times in 16 games in the Swedish top flight, was born in Birkenhead but spent his childhood in South Africa. On his return to England, Armstrong was offered a traineeship with Tranmere but rejected the offer to return to South Africa and play for Hellenic. After winning a sports scholarship to a university in the United States, Armstrong turned down the chance to join Washington DC United in favour of a switch to Europe.

"He certainly has something to offer, and he knows I haven't signed him simply to play in the reserves. It is up to Stephen to make his mark on the first team," said Watford's manager, Graham Taylor. "If he does, then I may regret not offering him a longer deal, but for the time being both parties felt this was the best arrangement."

The Spanish Football Association yesterday fined Barcelona 1.5m pesetas (£6,200) for the behaviour of their supporters at the weekend match against their arch-rivals Real Madrid.

During the game, the Barcelona fans threw all types of objects on to the field to protest the presence of their former idol Luis Figo, who left for the capital over the summer. Real Madrid complained that Figo was unable to take corners during the game, which Barcelona won 2-0, because the home fans continually pelted him with plastic bottles, flares and even two mobile phones from the stands.

A 57-year-old Real Madrid fan was arrested after murdering a 38-year-old Barcelona supporter after Leeds' match with the Catalans at Elland Road on Tuesday night.

According to reports, the two men, in the town of Chinchilla de Villar, in south-east Spain, had a heated argument after the 1-1 draw. The Madrid supporter, who lived across the street from his victim, thought the Catalan side had lost the game and celebrated with firecrackers in the street. The neighbours then had a violent argument and, minutes later, the Barcelona fan was shot in the head with a hunting rifle.

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