Football: Everton focus on Bayer coach

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Christoph Daum, a leading German coach, has emerged as a surprise candidate to become the new manager of Everton. Daum has helped Bayer Leverkusen contest the Bundesliga title race with Bayern Munich and German sources revealed that he has been in contact with Peter Johnson, the Everton chairman.

Daum is regarded as one of Germany's finest coaches and has previously won the championship with Stuttgart and, significantly, he is on good terms with Jurgen Klinsmann, the world class striker who is unsettled at Bayern Munich.

Johnson is keen to recruit Klinsmann and the possibility of Daum arriving to work with him is gathering credibility. Johnson is expected to meet Klinsmann today. Everton are interested in offering him a lucrative contract to move to Merseyside, even though there is no indication who would be managing Everton next season.

Daum has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Fabio Capello at Real Madrid along with Jupp Heynckes, who is at Tenerife. Everton will have to move quickly if they want to to secure his services .

Johnson was at one stage also refusing to rule out the possibility of the Barcelona coach, Bobby Robson, taking charge. However, Robson has tied himself to the Nou Camp for the remaining year of his contract, and a subsequent Everton statement accepted this. A Goodison spokesman said: "Mr Robson has informed us he is not available. He has decided he is staying at Barcelona to see out the final year of his contract."

Johnson said: "Bobby is one of four men we are interested in. We cannot say or do anything until he is released from his contract by Barcelona."

Hereford's relegation into the GM Vauxhall Conference has been confirmed after the League's bottom side were briefly given hope of a reprieve.

The Football League are expected to discuss recommendations to invite 16 Conference clubs into a regionalised Third Division, which could have included Hereford. But a League spokesman said yesterday that nothing would be decided in time for the coming season.

Hereford's fate was sealed on Saturday, when they could only draw 1-1 with Brighton. They will be replaced in the Third Division by Macclesfield, the Conference winners.