Atkinson holds out for £500,000 salary

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The Independent Online

Bradford City have been told they will have to come up with an enticing salary package if they are to tempt Ron Atkinson out of retirement and into the manager's chair at Valley Parade. Although reports emerged yesterday claiming Atkinson had ruled himself out of the running, the Independent understands that the main stumbling block to his accepting the post is a financial one.

Bradford City have been told they will have to come up with an enticing salary package if they are to tempt Ron Atkinson out of retirement and into the manager's chair at Valley Parade. Although reports emerged yesterday claiming Atkinson had ruled himself out of the running, the Independent understands that the main stumbling block to his accepting the post is a financial one.

Atkinson was yesterday quoted as saying he was enjoying his retirement from football, and that the job "does not interest me anyway". But sources close to him say he was sounded out after Chris Hutchings was sacked. The Bradford chairman, Geoffrey Richmond, will have to find a deal worth over £500,000 for six months' work - and huge bonuses for staying up - to interest Atkinson.

Despite his advancing years, the ITV commentator continues to enjoy a jet-set life style and he was yesterday thought to be in Bahrain.

However, close friends insist he is "thinking over" the offer. The caretaker manager, Stuart McCall, and Neville Southall will take charge of Bradford against Everton today.

The Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, has dismissed reports linking his England striker Kevin Phillips with a £20m move to Leeds United. Phillips, the Premiership's leading goalscorer last season, committed himself to Sunderland signing a new four-year deal earlier in the year.

Leeds have reportedly offered £13m plus Darren Huckerby, who is valued at £7m, for Phillips. But Reid said: "Leeds have an excellent chairman and an excellent manager and I don't think they will be conducting business through a newspaper - and I don't fancy Huckerby. But it's only fish and chip paper tomorrow and it's not a problem or an unsettling factor."

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