Football: Taylor lauded by FA chiefs

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM TAYLOR, the England manager, delivered a forthright and at times self-critical 'post-mortem' speech on the European Championship finals to the Football Association's top brass at the weekend - and, in stark contrast to his experiences in Sweden, won a warm round of applause.

After addressing the 92 FA councillors at the summer meeting alongside Lake Windermere, Taylor said: 'For me it was like a club manager going before his chairman and board of directors, so I was happy to do it. I don't want to go into details about what I said, but it seemed to be well received.'

Taylor was asked to speak to the meeting of the full council - an invitation that is by no means standard procedure - by Sir Bert Millichip, the FA chairman.

'Graham spoke his mind while accepting that he had made mistakes and should shoulder the responsbility,' Millichip said. 'But he added that no one was more disappointed than him with the way things went in Sweden and no one more determined to make matters improve.'

Glen Kirton, previously the FA's head of external affairs, was appointed at the meeting as tournament director for the 1996 European Championship finals, which will be staged in England. 'We will be starting work right away to promote and plan the championship, and make sure that there is a real sense of excitement and anticipation by the time they begin,' he said.

On a less positive note, Kirton hinted that the FA's School of Excellence at Lilleshall might not have a secure future. Established in 1984, the school has not yet contributed any players to the national team, although - as Kirton admitted - it has provided League clubs with a small but steady flow of talent.

'We need to examine the way the school is performing and whether we are gaining value for money from our investment,' Kirton said. 'It's jumping the gun to say the school will be closed - a decision will not be made until the end of the year.'

Terry Yorath, like Taylor, can continue with his preparations for the 1994 World Cup after agreeing to sign an 18-month extension to his contract as manager of Wales. Yorath had asked for a four-year deal that would have lasted until the 1996 European Championship, but the Football Association of Wales was unwilling to play ball.

'It's true I'm not exactly happy with the contract they have drawn up, but that's clearly the best they are going to offer and I'll accept it,' Yorath said.

Mark Robins, the 21-year-old Manchester United striker, is talking terms with the German club Dynamo Dresden. The only former East German club in the top division of the Bundesliga, Dresden have agreed a fee of pounds 800,000 for Robins.

Middlesbrough's Premier League purchasing spree is set to continue with Tommy Wright, the Leicester striker, expected to sign for the Ayresome Park club today.