Football: Jansen takes on Celtic challenge

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The Independent Online
Wim Jansen was revealed yesterday as the man who has taken on the poisoned chalice of the Scottish game, taking over as Celtic's head coach on a three-year contract.

At least he will start the daunting task of producing a side to challenge Rangers' dominance in familiar surroundings. He will link up with his new charges today, one day into their three-match tour of his native Netherlands.

The appointment of 53-year-old Jansen brings to an end Celtic's search for a new figurehead after the dismissal of manager Tommy Burns 10 weeks ago.

Jansen, flanked by Celtic's managing director, Fergus McCann, and their general manager, Jock Brown, when his appointment was announced yesterday, has been out of football for six months after being in charge of the Japanese League side, San Frecce. He made his name as a coach at the Rotterdam club, Feyenoord.

Jansen acknowledged that he faces a big challenge, but it is one he relishes. "Celtic has always had a special place in my memories," he said. "They were involved in the greatest day of my career - the 1970 European Cup final against Feyenoord - and I want to bring Celtic back to the highest level. I am delighted to be joining such a famous club."

Jansen won 65 caps and played alongside the Dutch legend, Johan Cruyff.

Sheffield United, frustrated in their pursuit of Bruce Rioch by Queen's Park Rangers' refusal to allow them to talk to their assistant manager, met Joe Royle for secret talks yesterday about becoming their new manager and completing a swap with Howard Kendall. The former Everton manager impressed United officials at an interview and maybe given the post in the next 48 hours.

Royle would link up again with his old Everton No 2 Willie Donachie if he asked to replace Kendall.

Chris Waddle is in talks with Burnley about becoming their new player- manager. The former England winger and his agent met the Second Division club last night and he could pip Wrexham's Brian Flynn for the job.

Fabrizio Ravanelli is facing disciplinary action from Middlesbrough after failing to report back for training at the Riverside Stadium yesterday. The Italian striker, who is expected to leave Teesside before next season kicks off, has already said he will not play for Boro following their relegation from the Premiership.

His escape route could take him to Goodison Park. Everton's new manager, Howard Kendall, has told Bryan Robson to take his pick of players in exchange for Fabrizio Ravanelli. Kendall is willing to give Middlesbrough one, or even two, of his squad for the Italian striker.

Sasa Curcic, the Aston Villa midfielder, was another foreign import to fail to report back for pre-season training. The Yugoslav international will face the wrath of his manager, Brian Little, after being stranded in Spain with an expired visa.