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The Liverpool defender today announced he will retire at the end of the season

ShareLink float hugely oversubscribed

David Jones, chief executive of ShareLink, the telephone-based share dealing service, said the company's pounds 42m flotation had been 7.9 times subscribed, and that more than 60 per cent of the individual subscribers were existing ShareLink customers. Dealing starts next Friday.

Optimism gives way to anger after new comments

THE judge professed 'immense sympathy' for the relatives of the dead man, yesterday, writes Stephen Ward.

Steep decline in complaints against members of SFA

COMPLAINTS against stockbrokers and other members of the Securities and Futures Authority have fallen sharply, writes Paul Durman.

BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: B Monkey - Andrew Davies: Minerva, pounds 5.99

Gritty love story between A and B - Alan and Beatrice, whose street-name from the 'days of wild' is B Monkey - explores love, memory, fear, jealousy and eroticism in quick-snap dialogue and interior monologue. High-octane, street-wise and dirty-talking, with a not so reluctant romanticism that always shows through.

Sports Letters: The bad shepherd

Sir: So often we see a footballer shepherding the ball over the byline and in so doing preventing an opposition player reaching the ball. More often than not a defender is guilty of blatant obstruction, but the referee rarely gives a free-kick against the offender. Why do the officials more often than not turn a blind eye against what is obviously a breach of the rules?

Sports Letters: Football's offside law

Sir: I missed the earlier correspondence on the offside law. On reading Paul White's comments (Sports Letters, 14 January) I think that the re-marking of pitches would be quite unnecessary. Surely the simplest way to create more penalty- box activity is to treat all direct free-kicks (eg for fouls) in the same way as a throw-in. At present, a foul committed generally leads to defenders pushing up to the halfway line and often results in another free-kick being given when forwards are caught offside. By ruling that no offside shall count if the ball is played directly from a free- kick, the defenders would no longer be free to squeeze play into 10 yards either side of the halfway line. Forwards would be able to get as far forward as they like and the team which had given away the free-kick would stand more chance of being punished.

MUSIC / Upbeat: Game and set

ANOTHER move towards Mark McCormack's domination of the European concert agency field: IMG Artists (Europe), the London-based classical music wing of the US sports management supremo's empire, has plucked two of the leading singers' managers from rival agencies, writes Andrew Green. Tom Graham of Harrison/Parrott and Diana Mulgan of Lies Askonas Ltd have agreed to form an opera department for IMG. There seems little doubt that most, if not all, of the singers they represent will follow them: the lists include such names as Olaf Baer, Barbara Bonney, Samuel Ramey and Karita Mattila.

Obituary: Ray Wilkie

Ray Wilkie, footballer, died aged 56. Played for Crook Town in 1959 FA Amateur Cup final. Was manager/chairman of Gateshead, where he was a successful businessman; led Barrow to success in FA Trophy final in 1990.
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