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FOOTBALL: IT'S THOMMO - BY THE LEFT; Hotline: Fergie Bolt for pounds 3.5m star.

MANCHESTER UNITED boss Alex Ferguson has made a dramatic late move for Bolton midfielder Alan Thompson.

Fergie hopes to snap up the skilful Geordie for around pounds 3.5 million this week to boost his squad for the Premiership and Europe push next season.

Thompson's magical left foot would be an asset to United who are short of players on that side of the team and often look unbalanced.

Ferguson has quickly changed his sights to Thompson with United target, Cameroon skipper Marc-Vivien Foe, breaking a leg this week.

Thompson, a bargain pounds 250,000 signing from Newcastle four years ago, would love to join the Manchester giants even if it means competing for a regular game.

Leeds, Aston Villa and Everton have all tabled their opening bids, but the arrival of United - even so late - should see them win the hunt.

EVERTON are ready to make a bid for Manchester United defender Denis Irwin. Goodison boss Howard Kendall sees Irwin as an ideal experienced full back to help the youngsters at Goodison.

Irwin, who joined United for pounds 650,000 eight years ago, could be squeezed out of the first team picture at Old Trafford next season. But his loyalty and long service at United means the club would not ask a huge fee for the Republic of Ireland star.

Meanwhile, Brian McClair, given a free transfer by United, is considering a move to Motherwell as player manager.

CHELSEA coach Gwynn Williams was in Sweden last week making a double check on Swedish stars Patrick Andersson and Frederick Ljunberg.

Both players starred in a 3-0 win over Denmark but Williams was particularly impressed with defender Andersson who currently plays for Moenchengladbach in Germany.

Williams is planning another look at Halmstad's 20-year-old midfielder Ljunberg this week when they meet Italy in a World Cup warm-up game.

WIMBLEDON and Birmingham are locked in a race to sign Crewe defender Ashley Westwood. The centre half is out of contract and has refused a new deal at Gresty Road.

DERBY defender Igor Stimac is at the centre of a tug of war between Sheffield clubs Wednesday and United.

FA payment bid fails

THE Football Association Council has failed in its bid to allow the chairman and vice-chairman to be paid. A proposal that would have given chairman Keith Wiseman pounds 75,000 a year and his deputy Geoff Thompson pounds 25,000 was defeated at Thursday's annual meeting after failing to get the 75 per cent majority vote required.

Premier snub

for Bodenham

MARTIN BODENHAM - the referee involved in the Alan Shearer- Neil Lennon bust up - has been snubbed by the Premiership.

They have turned down his bid to become an assessor next season. That's what Bodenham applied to do after being forced to retire from refereeing on reaching the age limit.

Gerald Ashby, who also came off because of age, has had his application accepted and he will start in August.

But the Premiership have said 'No' to Bodenham, who failed to respond to his linesman's signals when Shearer appeared to kick Lennon in the face.

That lead to a misconduct charge but Newacastle and England star Shearer was cleared in a hastily arranged and secret hearing. The Premiership feel that as Bodenham did not do his job properly that day he can hardly qualify to sit in judgement on others.

GARY MABBUTT will be back in football at Palace next season - if Mark Goldberg's takeover bid fails. If the deal collapses and chairman Ron Noades stays in charge Gerry Francis will move in as manager and Mabbutt is all set to become his No 2. Mabbutt, 36, has just been given a free transfer after 16 years at Spurs.

DERBY defender Igor Stimac is at the centre of a tug of war between Sheffield clubs Wednesday and United.

MIDDLESBROUGH boss Bryan Robson is keeping a close watch on Stan Collymore's situation at Villa.

HOTSHOT

MARCO GABBIADINI - one of football's big money movers - is about to sign for Scunthorpe.

The former Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Derby hit man is a free agent after a short spell at Stoke City.

HOTSHOT

DON GOODMAN has picked up the massive pounds 350,000 tax free contract from Japanese giants Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Free agent Goodman - who left Wolves last week - agreed those stunning terms on a one-year contract and will sign in time for the next J League.

HOTSHOT

ARJAN DE ZEUW is being offered a move away from Barnsley by promotion chasers Ipswich Town.

The Dutchman is a free agent at the end of his contract and hoped for a bigger club. But Ipswich are the only ones to show a concrete interest.

HOTSHOT

PORT VALE man-ager John Rudge has got problems - Dean Glover, Andy Hill and Paul Musselwhite have all refused to resign for next season.

CHELSEA coach Gwynn Williams was in Sweden last week making a double check on Swedish stars Patrick Andersson and Frederick Ljunberg.

Both players starred in a 3-0 win over Denmark but Williams was particularly impressed with defender Andersson who currently plays for Moenchengladbach in Germany.

Williams is planning another look at Halmstad's 20-year-old midfielder Ljunberg this week when they meet Italy in a World Cup warm-up game.

WIMBLEDON and Birmingham are locked in a race to sign Crewe defender Ashley Westwood.

The centre half is out of contract and has refused a new deal at Gresty Road. The ex-Manchester United trainee is keen for a move to the Premiership but Birmingham are offering a more lucrative deal.

EVERTON are being hounded by disgruntled fans from the internet. Fans have organised a campaign via the club's website and have bombarded Goodision Park with an endless stream of faxes.

MIDDLESBROUGH boss Bryan Robson is keeping a close watch on Stan Collymore's situation at Villa.

Robson is keen to add an experienced striker to his squad for their return to the Premiership and Villa are believed to be ready to sell Collymore if they get a pounds 5 million offer.

SUNDERLAND'S star midfielder Lee Clark is ready to quit the club - with Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers locked in a pounds 4m chase to land him.

Fans' favourite Clark, still reeling from Sunderland's play-off heartbreak of a week ago, rocked manager Peter Reid by telling him he feared another season in the Nationwide League would shackle his career ambitions.

Yesterday Reid was locked in talks with the player in a bid to persuade him there was a bright future at the Stadium of Light - but he knows he is facing an uphill battle.

Clark has admitted to close friends that he thinks the world of Sunderland and the club's fans, but he feels it's essential he should be playing in the Premiership at this stage of his career.

KENNY DALGLISH is ready to switch his striker search to PSV Eindhoven's Beligian international Luc Nilis.

The Newcastle boss had hoped to clinch a pounds 3.5m deal for Auxerre's French international Stephan Guivarch'h but the club are stalling. He has given them a deadline of mid-day today to complete, and if they don't all bets are off.

Dalglish knows he has to move quickly for Nilis, aged 30, because he is out of contract and Spurs are keen on him.

EVERTON are ready to make a bid for Manchester United defender Denis Irwin.

Goodison boss Howard Kendall sees Irwin as an ideal experienced full back to help the youngsters at Goodison.

And Irwin's loyalty and long service at United means the club would not ask a huge fee for the Republic of Ireland star.

Meanwhile, Brian McClair, given a free transfer by United, is considering a move to Motherwell as player manager.

ENGLAND star David Beckham might not be the only Manchester United player tying the knot.

Norwegian striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be marrying girlfriend Silyna this summer. The Norwegian beauty is studying photography in Manchester and has supplied photos for Solsk- jaer's forthcoming autobiography.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Bates, Steve
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:May 31, 1998
Words:1326
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