Football: Keegan to stay on as manager

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The Independent Online
KEVIN KEEGAN confirmed last night that he will be carrying on as Ray Wilkins' successor at Fulham. Keegan took charge of the first team when Wilkins was sacked as manager just before Fulham's Second Division play- off semi-final against Grimsby.

Fulham missed out on promotion, going down 2-1 on aggregate over the two legs, but Keegan, whose role was that of chief operating officer before Wilkins' departure, believes the time is right for him to be manager at Craven Cottage.

Keegan, who resigned as Newcastle manager in January 1997, said: "I want my destiny in my own hands now. I think it's the right move for Fulham and I think it's the right move for me," he said.

Keegan also announced that Frank Sibley would be staying on as assistant manager with Paul Bracewell becoming player-coach and Chris Coleman taking over as club captain.

Celtic will have to come up with a highly attractive offer if they are to tempt Norway's coach, Egil Olsen, to lead them into the Champions' League next year.

The 56-year-old Olsen has emerged as one of the front-runners for the Parkhead post vacated by Wim Jansen's resignation last week. But Celtic are reported to be only one of 10 European clubs who have approached Olsen's agent to check on his availability. Olsen intends to step down as national coach after leading Norway to their third World Cup under his guidance in France, where they are in the same group as Scotland.

Olsen has also been linked with the vacancy at Sheffield Wednesday - but Ron Atkinson, who was dismissed by the Hillsborough club a week ago, yesterday tipped the Football Association's technical director, Howard Wilkinson, to succeed him in the job.

"If you ask me who will get the job, my own bet by a distance, would be Howard Wilkinson," Atkinson said. He feels that the South Yorkshire club's chairman Dave Richards, a vice-president of the FA and one of the Premier League's representatives on the FA council, is now looking to Wilkinson to return to the club he guided between 1983 and 1988.

Wilkinson was Wednesday's No 1 one target six months ago when David Pleat was sacked and the only stumbling block is the remaining two-and-a-half years of his contract with the FA. But Atkinson now believes Richards would be willing to pay the estimated pounds 250,000 in compensation it would take to prise Wilkinson away from Lancaster Gate.

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