Last updated : 24 August 2004 By editor
Newcastle make £20m bid for Rooney

Everton officials have rejected a £20million offer from Premiership rivals Newcastle for teenage striker Wayne Rooney.

An Everton spokesman told the club website tonight: 'I can confirm that we have received a £20 million offer for Wayne Rooney from Newcastle. This bid has been turned down.'

Newcastle United sold Jonathan Woodgate to Real Madrid - to keep him out of the clutches of Premiership rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.

This is what the Newcastle Chronicle can reveal today after the speed of Woodgate's £14.9m switch from Tyneside to Spain just about caught out the whole of football.

But the reason for United's haste was that they knew both Manchester United and Arsenal were sniffing.

Paul Sturrock has left Southampton by mutual consent, becoming the first managerial victim of the season after only two Premiership games.

Rumours suggest that the former Plymouth Argyle boss failed to win over the majority of players in the dressing room during his five and a half month tenure and was on a slippery slope right from the start.

'Following discussions over the weekend, Paul Sturrock will be leaving Southampton Football Club by mutual agreement with immediate effect,' said a statement from chairman Rupert Lowe.

A strike by steel construction workers has raised fresh concerns over whether the £757m Wembley stadium will be built on time, in the latest blow to the country's showcase sports project. A picket line appeared at the north-west London site yesterday after the dismissal of 200 men in a dispute about working hours and breaks.

A spokesman for Multiplex said: "We were advised that the decision followed some independent action taken by the workers, who had made unacceptable additional demands, despite agreeing new employment contracts with Hollandia-Fast Track in July. Hollandia-Fast Track informed us that the workers put them in an untenable position, and that they had no option but to end their employment."

George Brumwell, general secretary of the Ucatt construction workers' union, said: "It's a gigantic clash between two very big firms over contractual issues and the real sufferers are the workers caught in the middle."

The steel workers arrived early yesterday to form a picket outside one of the main entrances to the site. They accused Hollandia-Fast Track of trying to change their conditions of employment without consulting them.

One protester, a 52-year-old from Middlesbrough, said that many of the workers came from the north-east and needed time off at weekends to visit their families. He claimed that this had been allowed until Hollandia took over the contract.

He said: "All we wanted was the same that we had. We're lodging here and we wanted to be able to go home every weekend and see our families. We weren't being unreasonable - all we want to do is work."