Football: Brown would hand his Scotland job to Dalglish

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The Independent Online
He is not exactly launching the cry: "King Kenny of Scotland" but such is the esteem in which Craig Brown holds him that he would raise no objection if he was asked to hand over his national team job to Kenny Dalglish.

If that attitude is not surprising enough, it is all the more startling to learn that Dalglish would not be Brown's No 1 choice as Scotland manager. That would be Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, who briefly managed the national side in the mid-Eighties.

Brown, who succeeded Andy Roxburgh in September 1993 and steered Scotland to the Euro 96 finals, made the startling admissions in an interview with Sybil Ruscoe on her Ruscoe on Five show on BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday afternoon.

"I've been given the job and I'm trying to do it to the best of my ability," Brown said. "But if the international committee [of the Scottish Football Association] feel it is more appropriate to have Kenny in charge, that's fine. If they want to bring in Kenny, I hope he would say to me 'stay on and manage the under-21s'.

"Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish are always being mentioned in connection with this job and Alex is the best available Scottish manager - his record confirms that."

Scotland have only lost two of the last 14 internationals under Brown, a record he is justifiably proud of, but he is not taking anything for granted. "One bad result and the Scottish FA might bring back Kenny," he said.

The Professional Footballers' Association has suspended plans to ballot members on a call for strike action until further talks on its share of television money have been held with Football League officials on Monday. PFA and League officials held a five-hour meeting in Manchester yesterday in an attempt to end a stalemate provoked by the League's decision to scrap a traditional payment that gave the union a guaranteed 10 per cent of TV coverage revenue.

League officials, who signed a lucrative deal for the coverage of Nationwide League games with BSkyB, planned to make a discretionary payment to the union instead.

The union argued that the traditional payment was ploughed back into the game and should not be reduced without consultation, while League officials claimed the PFA had built up substantial funds and challenged the union to prove the 10 per cent payment was needed.

The PFA's assistant chief executive, Mick McGuire, said after yesterday's meeting because there was another meeting scheduled, "we've agreed to suspend balloting our members as a goodwill gesture".

Chris Hull, a Football League spokesman, said the League "wouldn't have agreed to enter into further talks if they [the PFA] had gone ahead with their plans to ballot members".

The threat of strike action was discussed at a meeting of First Division clubs held at Birmingham City's St Andrews ground yesterday. First Division chairmen agreed to consider calling a general meeting, involving all 72 League clubs, in an effort to agree a United way forward.

n Chelsea's Terry Phelan and Liverpool's Mark Kennedy have pulled out of the Republic of Ireland's squad for the World Cup qualifying match in Liechtenstein next Saturday. Both are under treatment for injuries.