Shearer's debut gives Lincoln a lift

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The Independent Online
The trickle down effect is a fine theory but not one that convinces many chairmen of Nationwide clubs as they reel at the size of transfer fees paid out by one Premiership club to another or a foreign giant. The pounds 15m fee it needed to take Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle United is already proving beneficial to Lincoln, who could hardly be further away from the Magpies on the league scale.

The England centre-forward's first appearance for Newcastle, in a friendly match at the Third Division club's tiny Sincil Bank ground tonight, has brought the fans out in force. Every seat at the 10,900 capacity stadium has been sold and Lincoln will receive about pounds 80,000.

The match, arranged as part of the pounds 400,000 transfer of winger Darren Huckerby to Newcastle last year, has been converted by Shearer's presence from a useful bonus into something akin to a pools win for a club which was losing pounds 10,000 a week last season. Lincoln's manager, John Beck, has signed 16 players since joining the club in October but most have been free transfers. He spent his entire funding - pounds 30,000 - Kevin Austin of Leyton Orient.

Shearer's first serious outing, against Manchester United in the Charity Shield match at Wembley on Sunday, will be tough. Roy Keane has been cleared to play after examination of his knee injury, and Ryan Giggs and Gary Pallister are back in full training after hamstring trouble. The Norwegian centre-back Ronny Johnson has also shrugged off a knee injury.

Paul Parker, the 32-year-old defender whom United released on a free transfer at the end of last season, has signed for Derby County for a month, having failed in his attempts to secure a move abroad.

Frederic Darras, a 29-year-old French defender, has joined Second Division Swindon on a free transfer from Bastia after impressing the manager, Steve McMahon, during the club's pre-season tour of Finland.

Gianluca Vialli scored his first goal for Chelsea as they Sampdoria 2- 1 in a friendly match in Genoa last night. Vialli, who played for Sampdoria before joining Juventus in 1992, scored after 17 minutes and was cheered even by the locals at the Marassi stadium. Mark Hughes put Chelsea back in front in the 58th minute, 11 minutes after Vincenzo Montella had equalised with a penalty. Chelsea's player-manager, Ruud Gullit, missed the match and will sit out the first few weeks of the season. The Dutchman flew to Antwerp yesterday for a knee operation to clean floating debris out of his knee.

n Diego Maradona was left shattered after missing his fifth penalty in a row and effectively ending Boca Juniors' title hopes in Argentina. "The championship is over. I want to die," Maradona told one newspaper after wasting a spot kick three minutes from the end of a 1-0 defeat against Racing Club.