Football: Everton cast admiring eyes in Coppell's direction

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The Independent Online
THE Football Association had better look sharpish if they want to appoint Steve Coppell as England manager. The Everton chairman, Dr David Marsh, with a vacancy of his own to fill following Howard Kendall's resignation, made no secret yesterday of his admiration for the former Crystal Palace manager.

Speaking on BBC's Northwest Tonight, Dr Marsh said: 'I think Steve Coppell is an intelligent past player who has been partly successful in the last season, but he did pretty well overall. He's available obviously . . . yes, he would spring to mind. He's a graduate of the university here and he's a Merseysider.'

That said, the smart money is on Everton appointing no one until the club's financial future has been resolved, which could mean Jimmy Gabriel continuing in his caretaker role until the end of the season. In which case Dr Marsh could be no more than a stop-gap himself.

Even more puzzling than the managerial and management teasers at Goodison are the stories surrounding the future of Paul Gascoigne, about whom the Leeds manager, Howard Wilkinson, said he had expressed an interest after being sounded out by an agent. No sooner said than Leslie Silver, his chairman, denied any interest, disclaiming remarks to the contrary which were attributed to him in a newspaper, followed, too, by denials from Lazio that the player was to be sold.

All this came after an announcement at the weekend by Gino Santin, a London-based Italian restaurateur, that he had been asked by Lazio to find a new club for Gascoigne in England.

The significance of Santin's role in the transfer of Gascoigne from Spurs to Lazio has always been stringently denied by the Italians and yesterday he was told in no uncertain terms to mind his own business. 'If Santin is going on record that he is representing any sale of Paul Gascoigne he would be better off looking after his business, which is running a restaurant, than making incorrect pronouncements,' Enrico Bendoni, the Lazio general manager, said. 'Paul Gascoigne is not going to be sold by Lazio at any price. He is simply not for sale.'

All of which was good news for Gazza, who seems determined not to become the latest in a long line of British failures in that country. Gascoigne, who returns to the Lazio side after two months on the sidelines for the match against Juventus on Sunday, said: 'I am positive that if they did want to sell me, then I would be the first to know. I have found them to be a straight club.'

One club who did give permission for one of their employees to be approached was Southend United, who did an about-turn and told Birmingham City that they could talk to their manager, Barry Fry, with a view to a switch to the St Andrews' hot seat.

Vic Jobson, the Southend chairman, only relented after Fry had forced his hand by contacting the League Managers' Association. David Sullivan, the Birmingham owner, said: 'Once I sit Barry down in a room I won't let him go until he is our manager.'

John Maddock has followed the lead of his chairman, Peter Swales, by resigning from his post at Manchester City. Maddock was appointed general manager just three months ago and was responsible for sacking Peter Reid as manager and selecting Brian Horton as his successor. 'I have been labelled public enemy No 2 and it would be wrong of me to remain when a new chairman takes over,' he said.

The Scottish international, Ally McCoist, who recently returned to the Rangers side following a six- month absence with a broken leg, is to have a hernia operation today and will be out for six weeks.