Scales moves back to Leeds

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The Independent Online
John Scales, the central defender Leeds United sent packing on a free transfer 11 years ago, last night rejoined the club for pounds 2.7m from Liverpool.

The 30-year-old Scales has agreed a four-year contract and will become the first major signing for the Leeds manager, George Graham, since he succeeded Howard Wilkinson in September.

Scales, Harrogate-born and a Leeds fan as a boy, was released by Eddie Gray in 1985 after reaching reserve level. He joined Bristol Rovers before going on to play for Wimbledon. He moved to Liverpool for pounds 3.5m just over two years ago and won three England caps last year.

Ian Wright has escaped with a warning from the Football Association over his remarks about the Sheffield Wednesday manager, David Pleat. The Arsenal striker, who had already apologised to Pleat after allegedly calling him "a pervert", must also "be careful about what he says in the future."

The disciplinary panel took 40 minutes to decide Wright's fate, but team- mate Nigel Winterburn had to wait two hours to be found not guilty of misconduct following complaints by disabled supporters of Sheffield Wednesday that he made obscene gestures to them during the match at Highbury in September. "It was not proven to the commission's satisfaction that any misconduct took place," Steve Double, the FA spokesman, said.

Wright's appearance followed Pleat's action in sending a video of the Highbury game to the FA, pointing out incidents concerning certain of the Arsenal players. Wright's subsequent outburst on the subject was reported in several national newspapers.

"I've been treated fairly again by the FA and I'm just glad it's all over - for me and Mr Pleat," Wright said. "Of course I regret what I said, but only one reporter repeated it and I think the FA took that into account."

Reggi Blinker was cleared to play for Sheffield Wednesday at Liverpool today after the game's international governing body, Fifa, lifted their worldwide ban. But the Dutchman has been landed with a pounds 35,700 fine for apparently signing contracts for Wednesday and Udinese, while still at Feyenoord.

Gordon Strachan has appointed Alex Miller, the former Hibernian manager, as his No 2 at Coventry City. With Gary McAllister as captain, the top three posts at Highfield Road now have a Tartan connection.

"It's a plan so that no one can understand what we are talking about," Strachan said.

Miller spent the majority of his playing career with Rangers and then had spells as manager at Morton and St Mirren before taking over at Easter Road a decade ago.

Strachan's attempt to prise the central defender Chris Perry from Wimbledon looks likely to fail, despite the waving of a cheque for pounds 4m. The Dons are insisting that the 21-year-old Perry is not for sale at any price.

Christmas has come early at Chelsea, where Dennis Wise, Dan Petrescu and Steve Clarke have been given new contracts. Wise is now tied to the club until the year 2001, Petrescu and Clarke until 2000.