Derby turn to the Bald Eagle

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The Independent Online


While Nottingham Forest were resigning themselves to a further hold- up in the Stan Collymore saga, their near neighbours Derby County last night appointed Jim Smith as manager in succession to Roy McFarland.

Forest, who will receive a British record fee of pounds 8.5m for their England striker, had hoped he would announce a preference for either Everton or Liverpool yesterday. But following talks with Roy Evans, which came 24 hours after his meeting with Joe Royle, Collymore asked for more time.

His agent, Paul Stretford, said: "There's a lot of money involved, and the whole affair is not to be taken lightly. Stan will spend a lot of the summer thinking about it, if he must, because the decision has to be right."

After reports that Liverpool considered the deal a fait accompli, Everton will be further encouraged by Stretford's comments. "Stan and myself were very impressed by what Joe Royle had to say - he's a very charismatic person." Not to be outdone by Royle, who saw the player immediately after returning from Australia, Evans flew in from St Lucia to meet Collymore at a hotel near Heathrow.

Derby's seven-week search for a manager ended when their owner and chairman, Lionel Pickering, appointed Smith to his eighth League post. The 54-year- old "Bald Eagle", ousted at Portsmouth last season, numbers Blackburn, Birmingham, Queen's Park Rangers and Newcastle among his previous employers.

Meanwhile, McFarland is likely to link up with his former Derby and England team-mate, Colin Todd, in a new managerial partnership at Bolton.

Charlton have relieved Steve Gritt of his duties as joint manager, leaving Alan Curbishley in sole charge. David Pleat, the new Sheffield Wednesday manager, has offered the job of player-coach to Chris Waddle, who will give his answer after a holiday.