Coventry City. . .1
MANCHESTER CITY'S search for a new manager after Thursday's sacking of Peter Reid was concluded last night barely 36 hours after it began when Brian Horton appeared at a press conference at Maine Road.
Although Horton, 43, has achieved promotion in both his previous manager's jobs, at Hull City and Oxford United, he takes over with few obvious qualifications compared with some of the names touted yesterday, but was described last night as 'the professional's professional.' He is acknowledged as having kept Oxford in the First Division last season against the odds.
His appointment was revealed almost 24 hours ahead of schedule, City having hoped to delay the announcement until 5 o'clock this afternoon, but Horton became the subject of growing rumour in the hour before last night's match against Coventry and John Maddock, City's general manager, decided to introduce Horton to the media after the match along with his assistant, former Luton winger, David Moss.
Maddock, appointed by City nine days ago, but whose decision it was, apparently, to dismiss Reid, said that the club had gone for Horton because they wanted to tackle the City crisis with 'quick, clinical action.'
'There were a lot of attractive names who applied to the club, by phone and along the soccer grapevine, but we did not want to be involved in protracted negotiations with anyone,' Maddock said. 'I've known Brian for 20 years, watching his progress as a player for Port Vale, Luton and Hull. He is a professional's professional and in my opinion the best man for the job.'
Horton, who will sign a three-year contract over the weekend, said that 'it all happened very quickly. I was told only on Thursday morning that there had been an approach for me.'
Asked whether his background equipped him to make a success of his new position, he said: 'Everyone has to start somewhere. I've been a manager for nine years. To do what we did in difficult circumstances at Oxford was a major achievement.'
Last night, unaware of the developments, City supporters' chants in the match called for the removal of the chairman, Peter Swales. Their anger seemed likely to be at least diluted last night when City went ahead with a goal by Mike Sheron after 35 minutes but a mistake by Steve McMahon allowed Roy Wegerle to preserve Coventry's unbeaten record four minutes from time and leave the Manchester club with only two points from five games.
Manchester City (4-4-2): Coton; Flitcroft, Curle, Vonk, Phelan; White, McMahon, Groenendijk, Holden; Quinn, Sheron. Subs not used: Quigley, D Brightwell, Dibble (gk).
Coventry City (3-5-2): Gould; Atherton, Rennie, Busst; Booty (Jenkinson, 84), McGrath, Boland, P Williams, Ndlovu; J Williams, Wegerle. Subs not used: Sheridan, Ogrizovic (gk).
Referee: P Don (Middlesex).