Football: Kidd takes command at Blackburn

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BRIAN KIDD is the new manager of Blackburn Rovers on a stunning pounds 750,000 a year contract - and with pounds 40m to spend - after having his ambitions thwarted by Manchester United.

Alex Ferguson's No 2 only walked out to sign for Blackburn until 2002 when United last night failed to give him a written guarantee that he would one day be the No 1 at Old Trafford. One of the main reasons Kidd was lost to United was that the takeover move by Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB means no long-term assurances could be given to him.

United fans will be seething that one of their favourite sons has slipped away despite initial; claims by their chief executive, Martin Edwards, he would only go "over my dead body".

Kidd met Rovers officials yesterday to discuss terms on a deal that sees his salary rise over four times from its current basic level of pounds 180,000 a year before bonuses at United.

Jack Walker, Blackburn Rovers' owner, has also pledged him a remarkable transfer fund and promised him that he will have the final say on who he wants to bring in from at home or abroad.

Kidd can also appoint his own staff at Blackburn and his old friend, the Manchester City coach, Willie Donachie, is tipped to be his right hand man.

Kidd spoke to the Old Trafford hierarchy before giving Blackburn his answer as he was desperate for them to make him stay. As a friend said last night: "Brian is not just leaping at the money. He would have stayed if they had said he could be boss down the line."

However United insiders revealed that Kidd could not be given any guarantee in the middle of Murdoch's controversial take-over. Even Ferguson's new contract talks are on hold until that is resolved.

Kidd turned down approaches from Manchester City and Everton in the past, but the club's failure to promise him the job or give him a rise made him insecure. Now he has reluctantly left to take his second crack at management. His first was a brief spell at Preston in 1986.

Ferguson is fuming about Kidd's departure, the way his No 2 has been treated and the timing of the Blackburn move. He has lost his right hand man before United's decisive Champions' League match against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, the club's biggest game for years.

There are no obvious successors within Old Trafford to step into the post. The old boys Brian McClair and Steve Bruce will be linked with the job but neither has Kidd's coaching knowledge. Gordon Strachan, Mark McGhee and Alex McLeish also have appeal, while Preston's David Moyes is admired within the club and is in the Kidd mould.

The vacancy is difficult to fill. Fergie has relied heavily on Kidd in the past couple of years with the coach taking great responsibility while the manager delegates more work to him. The pair have differed on some issues but here is no suggestion of a rift. The only problem is with the uncertainty at boardroom level.

Kidd will face a testing time tempting players to join Blackburn at the foot of the Premier League, but Walker's millions will help. Sources close to Kidd say he will try to sign four or five players quickly and there could be some surprise departures.

Kidd would love to raid Old Trafford but knows the chances of buying from there are slim. He has a good knowledge of foreign talent and the cash to spend. Blackburn are in the black despite Roy Hodgson's spending spree this season. Kidd could also raise more funds by letting players leave.

Sam Chisholm yesterday resigned as a director of Tottenham Hotspur's club and plc boards because of a conflict of interests involving the FA Premier League.

He has been appointed as consultant to the Premier League to advise on future television contracts and League rules state that no employee of, nor consultant to, the Premier League can be a director of a Premier League club.

Chisholm joined Spurs before the start of this season because of his experience of media issues, particularly in television. He was formerly a senior figure at BSkyB. His appointment by the League had already prompted questions from Manchester United's chief executive, Martin Edwards.

Kidd in front line, page 29


1949: Born 29 May in Collyhurst, Manchester, into a family of Manchester United supporters.

1963: Signs schoolboy forms with United.

1964: Becomes an apprentice at United.

1966: Turns professional at Old Trafford.

1967: Makes League debut in 3-1 defeat at Everton in August. The following month he scores his first League goal in 3-1 victory at West Ham.

1968: Marks his 19th birthday by scoring in United's 4-1 extra-time triumph over Benfica in the European Cup final at Wembley.

1974: Leaves Old Trafford to join Arsenal after making 264 appearances for United and scoring 70 goals.

1976: Moves from Highbury to join Manchester City in July.

1979: Leaves Maine Road to sign for Everton in March.

1980: Joins Bolton and then goes to play in the United States for four years.

1984: Returns to England to become manager of Barrow.

1985: Appointed Lou Macari's assistant at Swindon before he becomes No 2 at Preston North End.

1986: Manages Preston for three months between January and March.

1988: Alex Ferguson brings him back to Manchester United as junior coach and director of the club's school of excellence in May.

1990: Becomes United's youth development officer and helps nurture the club's current crop of young stars.

1991: Steps up to become Ferguson's assistant following Archie Knox's decision to join Walter Smith at Rangers.

1995: United refuse Manchester City permission to speak to him about their vacant manager's job in June.

1998: United rebuff Everton's attempts to lure him back to Goodison in the summer and he is rewarded with a new four-year contract. Blackburn target him as their new manager, following the departure of Roy Hodgson.