Eriksson says Notts County role is greatest ever challenge
Wednesday 22 July 2009
Sven-Goran Eriksson has set his sights on taking Notts County all the way to the Barclays Premier League after signing a five-year contract at Meadow Lane.
The former England boss was unveiled as director of football at the Coca-Cola League Two side today.
But the Swede, who guided England to two World Cup quarter-finals in 2002 and 2006, does not want to hang around in the bottom tier for long.
Eriksson said: "I always said I wanted to come back to the Premier League. I chose a little bit of a difficult way to do it I think. It will take a few years, but I think we will do it.
"I think it's the biggest football challenge of my life, trying to take Notts County back to the Premier League, but that's the target. The challenge is perhaps the most difficult football job I've had so far. But I am looking forward to it."
Eriksson, who confirmed he will be moving to Nottingham, revealed he was at first unsure about joining County.
He said: "When my agent asked me if I would be interested in Notts County I said I am not sure about that, but after listening to the people and seeing the project that they had I said 'yes'."
Eriksson, whose key responsibilities include building scouting network and setting up overseas links, will work alongside current coach Ian McParland.
He told today's press conference at Meadow Lane: "We have together to try to find good players if we want to leave League Two. We have to have good football players. Without good football players you can't reach the League One or the Championship."
Despite being taken over by a Middle Eastern group, Munto Finance, Eriksson said the club would continue to be sensible with their money.
The Swede added: "When this news (of his appointment) came out my phone was hot all the time. People all over the place are asking how much we can pay for players.
"You can't pay Premier League salaries to players in League Two. We all know that we have to be sensible.
"Players and a training ground are the key. If we don't have players and a training ground life is very difficult for the manager, almost impossible I would say."
Eriksson attempted to deflect questions he had joined the unfancied League Two club for financial reasons, explaining he was relishing the challenge of turning them into a top-flight club.
Asked why County fans should believe he would stay at the club for the duration of his five-year deal, the Swede said: "I signed a contract first of all. Secondly, if it was for the money I could have easily gone elsewhere for much, much more money.
"I'm not here for money, I am here for the challenge.
"I'm not here for the weather, or if the city is nice or not. If that was the case then I could have gone to Italy. I'm here for the big challenge and that's the truth."
He added: "Overall I'm here to deal with football matters and to build the club and to try and reach the Premier League.
"We are starting from almost the bottom and we will try to take it the whole way. Hopefully we will do it one day."
Eriksson admitted he knew little of the players in the bottom tier of the Football League, but said his high-profile status and expertise would help lure players.
"I have discussed players with him (McParland) and obviously I don't know the players. I don't know League Two at all," he admitted
"But yes I know players, I know agents. Already they have started phoning me from 4.30 this morning. I have had to switch my phone off.
"If we expect to reach the Premier League then we have to have an organisation that reflects a Premier League club."
Eriksson said he hoped his coaching career was not over.
"I hope not, I want to be in football for many, many years still but you never know," he said.
"I'm still hungry, I still love it. This job is something a little bit new for me but why not try it?"
McParland admitted Eriksson's arrival took him by surprise.
"When Peter (Trembling, County's executive chairman) told me I said 'it's not April is it?'. I had to pinch myself a little bit," said the Scot.
"We had a little chat. It's fantastic. He has a lot of knowledge of the game, he's been at top clubs around the world and managed England - though I won't hold that against him!
"But I'm sure he will bring a lot to the football club and we'll bounce things off each other."
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