Football: Nicholl in charge at Walsall: Former Southampton manager ends exile

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The Independent Online
THREE years after being sacked as the manager of Southampton, Chris Nicholl returned to management yesterday when Third Division Walsall named him as the successor to Kenny Hibbitt, writes Clive White. His 12- month contract begins with a Coca-Cola Cup second round game against West Ham tonight.

The one-time Northern Ireland international watched his new charges beating Fulham last Saturday and commented: 'I was encouraged by what I saw, but it is not a particularly good time to judge players when they are 5-1 up at home. There is certainly potential so I'm not likely to bring anyone in at the moment.'

South Africa have become the second country to bid for the 2006 World Cup finals. Germany formally announced their interest in June last year. 'South Africa is a very interesting candidate,' Guido Tognoni, a Fifa spokesman, said. 'It is good to see that many people are already thinking 12 years ahead.'

South Africa were readmitted to Fifa in 1992 after years of sporting isolation due to its apartheid policies.

Invitations for bids for the 2002 World Cup finals are currently being prepared. So far Japan and South Korea have put forward tenders, Fifa will make its decision in 1996. France has already been chosen to host the next World Cup in 1998.

Lionel Pickering, the owner of Derby County, is planning to call an extraordinary general meeting in an attempt to take over as chairman from Brian Fearn.

Pickering, who has invested pounds 12m in the club, is also refusing to let Paul Kitson join Newcastle for what he considers is a cut- price pounds 2.25m. Fearn, along with three other directors, have agreed to the deal, while Pickering, and another board member, have rejected it.

The Leeds winger, David White, will be out of action for a minimum of three weeks with a heel injury.

Wolves and Arsenal are to play a pre-season match next year in memory of Billy Wright. The game will probably be in aid of two causes: cancer research and the former Wolves Players' Association, of which Wright was chairman.