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The Independent Online
FOOTBALL managers by necessity have to be ready to make ruthless decisions about the future of their players, often having to steel themselves to deliver news liable to reduce a hopeful apprentice to tears.

But how many of them can be coldly objective when it comes to their own sons?

Is it merely coincidence that Andy Todd, so highly regarded at Bolton, is manager Colin Todd's boy? Or that Gordon Strachan, making a name for himself in charge of Coventry, has not one but two junior Strachans on his books at Highfield Road? Or that Kenny Dalglish, amid all his troubles at Newcastle, still found time to sign his son Paul from Liverpool.

The head of the Strachan household can point to a Scotland under-19 call- up as supporting evidence for his faith in 19-year-old Gavin, whose younger brother has been taken on as a junior.

Other fathers, however, have displayed blind spots, not least the Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson.

His son, Darren, spent four years as an Old Trafford professional before it became clear he was not quite the talent dad once hoped he might be. He was sold in the end for just pounds 250,000 to Wolves where, as a 26-year- old midfielder of no more than average First Division ability, he has remained for the last four years.