Football: Saints' attention focuses on Webb

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The Independent Online
SOUTHAMPTON have turned to David Webb, one of their former players and the current manager of Brentford, to fill the vacancy caused by Ian Branfoot's resignation. Although the Second Division club last night refused them permission to talk to Webb they left the door open for him to leave.

The Brentford chairman, Martin Lange, who is in America on business, said: 'I have not given Southampton permission but have left the matter in David's hands. I will do everything in my power to keep him.'

Webb will talk to Lange on the telephone and in advance of that was reluctant to say too much. However, he ventured that Southampton were one of only three or four jobs that would attract most managers 'because of their solid background'. He added: 'They are not normally inclined to sack people. And they have a history of appointing managers who have played or been employed there.'

Southampton, who were given the go-ahead by Exeter to interview Alan Ball, see Webb as the kind of strong personality who could work alongside Lawrie McMenemy, who is tipped for the role of general manager. The 47-year- old played 75 times for the Saints, helping them to promotion to the First Division in 1966 before moving to Chelsea.

After managerial spells at Torquay, Bournemouth and Southend he returned to Stamford Bridge for the final 13 games of last season to replace Ian Porterfield, but failed to win a long-term contract. That has not put him off the big league 'because nothing puts me off football'. He said: 'This (Brentford) is a cracking club and a smashing chairman.'

The Southampton caretaker managers, Lew Chatterley and John Mortimore, will again be in charge for tonight's FA Cup replay at Port Vale. McMenemy has indicated he would not remain at the club if he was not given the senior manager's role.

Tottenham have made a second approach to Liverpool for Ronny Rosenthal, who has been priced at pounds 500,000.

The Rangers midfielder, Ian Ferguson has been banned for an additional three games by the Scottish Football Association, after a red card for spitting in a game against Dundee United last month.

Dirk Devriese, a Belgian player who broke an opponent's eye socket with his elbow when playing for RWD Molenbeek in 1991, was given a two-month suspended jail sentence yesterday.