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Football: GODFATHER FERGIE PICKS SCOTS BOSS; But he could be English.

Byline: HUGH KEEVINS

SCOTLAND have called on Godfather Sir Alex Ferguson to help pick Craig Brown's Scotland successor.

But Fergie might make the SFA an offer they could refuse - an Englishman.

SFA chief executive David Taylor has admitted the appointment of Brown's replacement will be the most important decision taken by the governing body following the failure to qualify for Euro 2000 and next year's World Cup finals in Japan.

If Ferguson or Andy Roxburgh, the former Scotland manager who will also act as a consultant, suggest Terry Venables or anybody else from south of the border it might spark a national referendum.

Taylor said: "In any business you have to ask your customers what's important to them because it's helpful to know what they think. We would have to take a temperature check so far as the Tartan Army were concerned over the appointment of an Englishman.

"In the end I believe most people want success and aren't bothered about nationality."

The list of recognised advisers to the SFA is almost as big as the group of high-profile Scottish managers who have ruled themselves out of contention for Brown's job.

Fergie, George Graham, Graeme Souness, Gordon Strachan and Alex McLeish have all publicly dropped out of contention, making the appointment of a non-Scot an increasingly likely scenario.

Taylor was quick to deny the job had become a poisoned chalice or Sir Alex's recommendation, if it was accepted, would become alternatively known as "Fergie's boy."

He said: "I would hope that isn't the case because Sir Alex shouldn't shoulder the responsibility any more than I or any other individual should.

"This is the executive committee's appointment and I am their agent.

"We have six serious applicants in front of us and I would have to admit to being surprised by the names which have cropped up.

"Some of them are working in club football which opens up the possibility of compensation having to be paid along with a sizeable salary.

"The executive committee have a ball park figure in mind for the man we want and the wage structure could be bonus related.

"Our priority is to find someone who can get us to the finals of Euro 2004 and who has the charisma to inspire and motivate the players.

"That's why the SFA will give the successful applicant a four or five-year contract so he can have time to develop an exciting style of play."

Taylor refused to be drawn on whether Brown's team had therefore been found guilty of having played so negatively they'd lost the public's imagination into the bargain.

He added: "Craig's record was good. Qualifying for two major tournaments out of four isn't bad and he has intimated he wants to stay on as director of football development.

"I would like to see a Scotland team that plays with fire in its belly and isn't tactically naive.

"The cost of failure to qualify and the cost of hiring a new manager make this a crucial appointment but not the biggest task I've undertaken.

"I had to deal with the suspension of staff over a ticket scandal involving Scotland's Euro 2000 play-off with England. It feels as if I've already been on a roller-coaster ride."

If he thinks it's been bumpy so far then the chief executive should fasten his belt and return his seat to the upright position.

With a 10-man executive committee, an adviser in Manchester and another one in Switzerland, Taylor has a jury of 12 sitting in judgment of the next Scotland manager.

A unanimous verdict would be preferable. A hung jury is the last thing we need under the circumstances.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 20, 2001
Words:609
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