Football: Jordan favourite to be Brady's successor: Celtic begin search for a new manager following Irishman's resignation after two years and four months without a trophy

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The Independent Online
JOE JORDAN yesterday emerged as the favourite to step up and take over as Celtic manager from Liam Brady, who resigned on Wednesday night following his side's 2-1 defeat at the hands of St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. Celtic are now ninth in the Premier Division.

Brady's resignation was immediately accepted by Kevin Kelly, the club chairman, and an announcement was made yesterday morning, with Jordan, who had been acting as Brady's assistant, being asked to take over the football side of the business until a new manager can be appointed.

Brady explained his decision, saying: 'After recent results and performances, I have decided to resign. A tremendous pressure surrounds the club at present - the management staff, players, board and supporters alike. It is my responsibility as manager that this should not affect the players. I have not been able to do this. For this reason I have taken the decision to stand down.'

Kelly added: 'Liam always conducted himself with great dignity as Celtic manager. He did the honourable thing by resigning.' The board of directors will consider 'as a matter of urgency' the question of a permanent appointment.

Brady's departure will come as little surprise to followers of the club who have witnessed two years and four months under Brady's charge without a trophy. He is only the second manager in the club's history to have had a fruitless tenure, the other being Jimmy McStay who was in charge during the war.

Speculation about a successor will involve Jordan himself, who looks the favourite, and the former players, Tommy Burns, now manager of Kilmarnock, and Lou Macari, the manager of Stoke City.

However, the timing of Brady's departure, just before tonight's AGM, ensures no decision will be reached until after tomorrow, but it seems likely the board will turn to a man with relevant managerial experience. Brady was a newcomer to that aspect of the game when he was appointed in June 1991.

Few argued with Brady's view that Celtic should win at least one major honour a season, but it was a standpoint which put him under increased pressure, and in the search for trophies, he spent more than pounds 6m on players who largely failed to fulfil expectations.

Tony Cascarino, bought for pounds 1.1m from Aston Villa, could not score the goals he had been bought for, just four in 30 appearances. But the most damaging signing for Brady was that of Stuart Slater, a club-record signing from West Ham, costing pounds 1.5m.

At the time Brady said: 'He is the type of player to put bums on seats, then get them off seats.' Brady effectively staked his reputation on Slater and although there is undoubtedly more to the striker's game than the scoring of goals, he was another who failed to rise to the challenge of playing for one of the Glasgow giants. Slater's transfer to Ipswich possibly hastened the departure of his former manager.

After four barren years, the Celtic board will have to think long and hard about a successor. With unhappy shareholders looking to wrest control of the club from them, it is one decision they cannot afford to get wrong.

The club has existed in the shadow of Rangers since the arrival of Graeme Souness at Ibrox in 1986. David Hay and Billy McNeill had both become victims of the Rangers revolution as Celtic increasingly struggled to compete in the success stakes.

The appointment of Brady, the first manager not to have played for the club, was viewed with surprise at the time.

Fergus McCann, the Canadian millionaire who is behind an pounds 18m takeover bid, said: 'Perhaps the board should accept their responsibility for the current situation and do the honourable thing. Perhaps changes should be made at the top. Some of the directors should look at themselves for a change.' McCann will be at the AGM tonight, representing other shareholders.

McFarland's task,

Non-League football,

Coca-Cola Cup draw, page 38

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