Football: Yorath's future with Wales put in jeopardy: Moves to tempt Venables put on hold

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The Independent Online
TERRY YORATH was fighting to save his job as the manager of Wales last night as, after a day of confusing discussions, he signalled his willingness to accept a smaller wage increase than he had originally demanded. As a result, his departure announced earlier in the day was no longer so certain, while the list of possible replacements - headed by Terry Venables - was put on hold.

Alun Evans, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, had declared at lunchtime that the terms Yorath had set out to continue after 31 December, when his existing contract expires, were unacceptable and that they would have to part company, following the Welsh failure to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Then, after another meeting with Evans, Yorath claimed he had been misunderstood, and that he had fully expected his employers to come back with a counter-offer.

'I asked for nearly a third of my wages again on top of what they were before, but I did so with the idea of them coming back to me with another offer,' Yorath, who has been in charge for five years, said. 'But that was not the case. They had it in their heads that what I said was non-negotiable. I am prepared to compromise if they do the same. I want to carry on in the job because we have a fantastic team spirit within the squad, but it really depends if they want me to be the manager.'

Unsurprisingly, considering he is at the bottom of the wage table for international managers, Yorath was seeking a sizeable improvement on his annual salary of pounds 45,000, which is roughly what the average First Division manager can expect to earn. The FAW finance committee had offered him a new two-year deal on the same terms, but with the guarantee of a pounds 30,000 bonus should Wales qualify for the 1996 European Championships.

Yorath, 43, said he wanted it paid up front, giving him a salary of pounds 60,000, which would still leave him as the poor relation set against the pounds 130,000 which is believed to have been Graham Taylor's remuneration with England last year.

After their meeting, Evans continued talks with members of his executive. Venables, the man in demand if the vacancy arises, would be a far more expensive package than Yorath.

Another contender is the Norwich City manager, Mike Walker, who was born in Colwyn Bay and was capped by Wales at Under-23 level. He too would want more than pounds 45,000 and in any case his club chairman, Robert Chase, said yesterday they were working to convince Walker his future should remain at Carrow Road.

Fifa, the world governing body, announced last night that three points will be awarded for a win in the opening rounds of next year's World Cup finals in the United States. The draw for the finals takes place in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Barry Fry, the new Birmingham City manager, hopes to make his first signings today, buying the striker, Dave Regis, from Stoke for a fee to be agreed, and taking two men on loan: the Stoke midfielder, Kenny Lowe, and Tottenham's former England midfielder, Andy Gray.