Football: Souness volunteers for Blackburn post

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The Independent Online
GRAEME SOUNESS last night staked his claim for the vacant managerial post at Blackburn Rovers.

Brian Kidd's departure from Ewood Park on Wednesday has already prompted speculation that Souness could be just the man to appeal to Blackburn's owner, Jack Walker. And the former Liverpool, Southampton and Rangers manager, who left Benfica in controversial circumstances earlier this year, says he views affluent Blackburn, struggling in the First Division, as a challenge to relish.

"Any job I'm offered I will think hard about, but the Blackburn post is an attractive one," Souness said. "It's a job which would be attractive to me and a lot of other people as well. A lot of people will be chasing it. I've had no contact with Blackburn. I feel sorry for what has happened to Brian Kidd, but that's the nature of the modern game."

There was also speculation yesterday that Joe Kinnear, the former Wimbledon manager, was on the short-list to replace Kidd.

Brian McClair followed Kidd out of Blackburn yesterday after he was sacked from his post as first-team coach.

Harry Kewell, the Leeds United midfielder, has been given permission by his club to join the Socceroos for one of their two friendlies against Brazil's Under-23 side this month. David O'Leary, the Leeds manager, had resisted the idea of letting Kewell return home over the Premiership's 10-day break during which Euro 2000 play-off games are played, insisting his player needed to rest. But Fifa, football's world governing body, brokered a compromise which allows him to play in the first match on 14 November.

Internazionale, meanwhile, are upset about Brazil's decision to call up Ronaldo for the match rather than play him in the full-international friendly against Spain the day before. The Italian club have filed an appeal to Fifa.

Stan Collymore has rejected the chance to return to Nottingham Forest on loan.

Forest boss David Platt had wanted to sign the troubled Aston Villa star on three- month loan with a view to a permanent move to the City Ground. But Collymore, who shot to prominence with Forest in the early 1990s, has decided to stay at Villa even though he knows he has little future at the club.

A disappointed Platt said: "I had a good meeting with Stan at lunchtime but his agent phoned me at around six-o-clock to tell me that he had decided to turn down the opportunity to join us."

Villa are reported to have turned down a bid of around pounds 1m from Derby for their midfielder Mark Draper.

Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough manager, has dismissed reports that their midfielder Keith O'Neill suffered a broken jaw in a nightclub incident on Saturday. Robson, however, said that the 23-year-old was unhurt in a minor incident.

"These things happen when you have youngsters together," Robson said. "It's the first incident of this kind since I came here five and a half years ago. There was a problem. It has been sorted out and, as far as I'm concerned, it was all a storm in a teacup."

Sheffield Wednesday supporters have formed an independent pressure group in an attempt to change the personnel on the Hillsborough board. The Wednesday Independent Supporters' Association say new blood is needed to avoid "the annual soap opera of relegation struggles".

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