Football: Coppell pulls out of the reckoning: The Succession / The former Crystal Palace manager is the favourite to replace Taylor but does not want the job. Clive White reports

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The Independent Online
THEY are not exactly falling over one another to fill the most prestigious post in the English game in the wake of the national side's World Cup elimination and at this rate the present incumbent, Graham Taylor, could end up keeping his job as manager.

Steve Coppell was installed, somewhat surprisingly, as 5-2 favourite yesterday by the bookmakers presumably on the basis that he was simply available. But clearly the job will have to be substantially redefined before even an out-of-work manager like Coppell will consider it.

'The job has changed from when I was a player - the demands are now a lot different,' said the former Crystal Palace manager, who was capped 42 times for England as a player with Manchester United. 'You have to be a media person which wasn't my strongest suit. It's a hard job and I don't envy whoever gets it.

'In football you never say never and, in the future, it could well be something I'd want to do. But for the forseeable future I've no wish to be England manager.'

The fact that Coppell's reluctance to step forward is shared by other leading would-be candidates such as Kevin Keegan, Howard Wilkinson and Gerry Francis makes it all the more likely that whoever does succeed Taylor, if in fact he is asked to stand down, will not be asked to work within quite the same constraints.

The Football Association's chief executive, Graham Kelly, is determined to introduce a two or three- tier system of management along German lines, even though Franz Beckenbauer recently said that its importance in his country's success had been exaggerated. 'There is something to be said for a two-tier structure where you have the manager and the heir apparent coming up in the wings,' Kelly said. 'And maybe you have the father figure on hand as well, the previous manager to lend his experience.'

Taylor himself backs such an idea though Kelly sounded more as though he had Taylor's predecessor, Bobby Robson, in mind when he said: 'There's very few people who have the international playing experience, the international managing experience. That's very precious and we should not cast it aside.'

These changes are cosmetic compared to the major surgery required by the game in England if it is to be successful again at international level. A reduction in the size of the Premiership is of paramount importance if standards are to be improved but getting the clubs to agree to it is quite another matter.

A fundamental change in how the game is perceived in the country, placing the accent on technique rather strength and speed is probably too much to ask.

No decisions will be taken until the International Committee meets on 30 November and even then Kelly does not envisage any snap judgements. (England's next game is not until 9 March at Wembley when Denmark are the visitors).

The question is: how much faith does one have in a body, chaired by Manchester City's Peter Swales, arriving at the right choice this time?

----------------------------------------------------------------- The 12 Wise Men of the FA International Committee ----------------------------------------------------------------- A Clark (aged 73). . . . . . . . . . . . .Whitley Bay FC. J E Davey (65). . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sussex FA. H D Ellis (69). . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chairman, Aston Villa. F Hannah (69). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Manchester FA. R W Kiddell (57) . . . . . . . . . . . . .Norfolk FA. W G McKeag (65). . . . . . . . . . . . . .President, Football League. L Smart (78). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Swindon Town. I H Stott (59). . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chairman and Chief Executive, Oldham Athletic. P J Swales (59). . . . . . . . . . . . . .Chairman, Manchester City. J C Thomas (82). . . . . . . . . . . . . .Durham FA. N White (58). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director, Liverpool. J F Wiseman (76). . . . . . . . . . . . . Chairman, Birmingham City. -----------------------------------------------------------------

'MISERY, MISERY, WHAT'S GOING TO BECOME OF ME?'

They can smell the blood of an Englishman and in this case the Englishman's name is Taylor. On relations with the press (March 1991).

Why do you want to put me out of a job? Why are you full of such bile and bitterness? To a football writer (March 1991).

Bloody hell. I'll have to stop that. On being told of the 13-pass build- up to a goal against the Soviet Union (May 1991).

I expect to win. Let me do the worrying - that's what I'm paid for. You get your feet up in front of the telly, get a few beers in and have a good time. Before 0-0 draw with Denmark in the European Championship (June 1992).

I get criticised for whatever I say and whatever I do. There is no respect or dignity. No status to the job. We are trying to change and progress within a system that allows for eff-all. I get crucified. After 0-0 draw with France in Sweden (June 1992).

Swedes 2, Turnips 1. Sun headline after defeat by Sweden eliminated England (June 1992).

Oh misery, misery, what's going to become of me? Taylor quotes Buddy Holly after England relinquished a two-goal lead against the Dutch at Wembley (May 1993).

It was so nearly my finest hour, but life is made up of so-nearlies. After the 2-2 draw against the Dutch (May 1993).

When Napoleon was asked what he wanted from his generals, he said 'luck'. I don't think Napoleon would have wanted me. After the

2-0 defeat in the Netherlands (October 1993).

It has to be the worst moment of my life. On Wednesday night.

Bye bye Taylor. Chant by England fans in Bologna.

(Photographs omitted)

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