Football: Clark takes on the task of reviving City

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The Independent Online
Frank Clark, who only 11 days ago gave up the struggle to arrest Nottingham Forest's slide into the Premiership relegation zone, last night took on another maintainous task when he accepted the managership of Manchester City after Phil Neal resigned.

In a statement last night announcing Clark's appointment, City's secretary, David Halford, said: "By mutual agreement Phil Neal has tended his resignation and the board of directors would like to thank him for his efforts in the difficult and unforeseen circumstances."

Neal was pitched into the job on a caretaker basis when Steve Coppell resigned on 8 November. City had taken six weeks to find a replacement for Alan Ball, but Coppell lasted only 33 days before abandoning the battle.

Neal was not able to halt the team's decline, securing only two victories in the last 10 games. After City's 2-0 defeat at Barnsley on Saturday, which left them 21st in the Nationwide League First Division, Neal said: "I could not give a damn about Phil Neal. I am concerned for Manchester City and its loyal passionate followers and for the players and their families and what they are going through.

"They are going through a relegation battle for the second year in succession. If it's not going to be me in charge somebody else needs to come in and get to know the players and take stock in order to arrest the situation by investing in the future."

Those words echoed the sentiments of Clark on leaving Forest. Forest having gone 16 Premier League games without winning, Clark felt a new man at the helm offered the only hope and resigned following a 4-2 defeat at Liverpool. His first game in charge of City will be at Birmingham on the New Year's Day.

Kevin Keegan, the manager of Newcastle United, and Howard Wilkinson, the former Leeds manager, have been approached by Nigeria, who are seeking a high-profile European coach following the resignation of Jo Bonfrere in October.

Hartlepool United have confirmed Mick Tait as their manager until the end of the season. He has guided the team to five victories in eight League games since becoming caretaker manager in November following the departure of Keith Houchen.

Milan, eight points adrift of the leaders Juventus, will pay each player a bonus of pounds 40,000 if the team finish second in Serie A, which this season secures a place in the Champions' League.

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