Football: About turn for Spackman?

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The Independent Online
NIGEL SPACKMAN may be about to return to Sheffield United as manager - only a few days after quitting.

Spackman departed on Tuesday but, after the resignation of the chairman, Mike McDonald, yesterday and a restructuring of the club at boardroom level, which will see the chief executive, Charles Green, move away from football affairs, Spackman has emerged as a prime candidate from four contenders.

"There is a possibility that Nigel may be able to assist us in team management," Kevin McCabe, a Blades director, said. "Board members recognise with hindsight that maybe things could have been handled differently over the last week or so."

"We are in discussions at the moment with possible appointees for the position of team manager and that does include Nigel Spackman. We've been speaking to him from Tuesday onwards. There has not been a total breakdown of communication with him."

Another man linked with the Bramall Lane vacancy, Lou Macari, wants to link up with Spackman in a managerial team. The former Celtic and Stoke manager is one of the four men on the shortlist.

If nothing is settled today, the coaches Steve Thompson and Russell Slade may stay in charge for tomorrow's FA Cup quarter-final at Coventry. The Scarborough manager, Mick Wadsworth, is also reported to be in contention.

The Southampton chairman, Rupert Lowe, has denied rumours suggesting Matthew Le Tissier is to join Manchester United in a pounds 2m deal. "It's total nonsense," he said. "There is nothing in this whatsoever."

The Southampton striker Kevin Davies will be out of action for another six weeks. He has suffered a setback in training following an ankle injury.

Everton, without the suspended Duncan Ferguson for the next two matches, have had an attempt to sign the West Bromwich Albion striker Bob Taylor on loan turned down by the Midlands side.

The European Union has asked the World Cup organisers in France to open up a special ticket line to overseas fans. The existing telephone line was set up only to take ticket reservations from fans with an address in France.

The EU and the French Organising Committee held talks yesterday in the wake of EU charges that the France 98 ticket allocation discriminated against foreigners. England, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium have demanded a fairer share-out. The EU has accused the FOC of breaching its principles of free and fair competition.

The EU Commissioner, Karel van Miert, said the three months remaining were not sufficient for all the necessary changes in the ticket allocation, but he hoped organisers would try to do their best to make as many changes as possible.

This weekend French fans will have a chance to secure tickets for the two World Cup semi-final ties for a fraction of the normal price - and from an unusual source. Francaise de Jeux, France's national lottery company, has said that lottery players will have the chance to win 20 semi-final tickets.