Football: Gray begins managerial talks at Everton

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The Independent Online
Andy Gray was in talks with the Everton chairman, Peter Johnson, last night about becoming manager at Goodison in a back-room line-up which may also feature Howard Kendall.

Gray has already told Johnson he wants to bring in Richard Money as his assistant manager. Money, a former Liverpool player and now a coach at Manchester City, worked with Gray at Aston Villa.

Gray, currently a Sky Television pundit, said yesterday: "This is the only job I would ever think of leaving television for. Everton people know how much I love the club. It is still massive, I know that better than anyone. This is a job I want, because Everton is in my heart and soul. I think the supporters know I've got the blue blood in my veins."

Kendall, the Sheffield United manager who won two championships, the FA Cup and European Cup-Winners' Cup with Everton during his first spell in charge in the 1980s, is Johnson's choice to be director of football, but Sheffield United announced yesterday that they have not granted Everton permission to speak with their manager.

With Mike McDonald, the Blades chairman, out of the country on business, the chief executive, Charles Green, and the secretary, David Capper, away on holiday and Kendall himself in Spain, United insist the managerial position at Bramall Lane remains unchanged and that it will do so until the board discusses Everton's approach.

Freddie Pye, the deputy chairman, said: "We're aware of Everton's interest in Howard Kendall. Nothing will be done until the board sits down and thoroughly discusses the situation. This inquiry is no different to many other approaches that have been made over recent months for the services of Mr Kendall, who is on a long-term contract."

Kenny Dalglish, the Newcastle manager, stepped into the hunt for Paul Ince yesterday with an offer to top any bid for the England midfield player.

Following Ince's comments in the Italian media that he planned to come home from Italy, Internazionale officials will have talks with the player during their tour of Thailand to attempt to make him stay.

However, unless the terms are as high as the reported pounds 60,000 a week that president Massimo Moratti hinted at, Ince, who still has a year left on his contract, will push for a return to England, with Liverpool being current favourites for his signature. Inter are to make him a two-year offer this week.

The Premiership newcomers Barnsley have smashed their club transfer record by paying pounds 1.5m to Partizan Belgrade to complete the signing of Macedonian international Georgi Hristov.

The 21-year-old striker has made 14 international appearances, scoring on his debut as well as the winner in the 3-2 victory over the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup Group Eight qualifier earlier this year.

Steve McMahon, the Swindon manager, has offered his former Liverpool team-mate Ian Rush a two-year contract. Rush, 35, has been given a free transfer from Leeds.

Mark Lawrenson, the former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender, is set to join the BBC's football team next season as a pundit on Match of the Day. His new television role will also see him reporting on Football Focus, and he will continue to be an expert summariser for Radio 5 Live. Next year he will be in the BBC line-up for the World Cup finals.