Sven Goran Eriksson has an appetite to manage in England again, despite his dismissal at Leicester City which brought an abrupt end to his third club job here in as many years.
Eriksson's first column for The Independent was well received last week and he said yesterday that he hopes to "be back on these pages", having been encouraged by the positive response to it. The terms of the 63-year-old's severance at Leicester prevent him from an immediate discussion of the events of the past 36 hours and Eriksson did not feel it made sense to explore other issues. "I have more or less an agreement with the club that I can't speak at the moment," Eriksson said. "I hope that everything will be resolved so I can speak. I appreciate the response very much. I hope to come back to these pages."
The Swede's dismissal, which came in an early-evening meeting with the club's Thai owners on Monday, was not at all expected as late as lunchtime that day, when Eriksson scheduled a 7pm call to discuss his second Independent column. By that time, he had been dismissed. With Martin O'Neill installed as comfortable favourite for a return to the club, Eriksson was yesterday taking stock of his options and though his dismissal with the side two points from the Championship playoffs has clearly stung him, his appetite for English club football is understood to remain.
Manchester City coach David Platt, who played for Eriksson with Roberto Mancini at Sampdoria and in the past has articulated most eloquently why players so enjoy performing for him, said he expected Eriksson to have a choice of options. "Sven will go out with dignity, like he has always gone out with dignity," Platt said. "I've got a couple of mates who are involved in management and coaching in the Championship as well. Two or three wins and they're sat in the playoffs, two or three losses and they're in the relegation area. But the Championship has been like that all the time. If [Leicester] want to make that decision, it's down to them. He'll accept it and move on, but he will have many requests to go and manage in the next 48 hours because you can't take away what he's done on his CV."
The expectation from within the game was that Eriksson would have had at least another month at Leicester, where the 3-0 home defeat to Millwall which sealed his fate had actually looked like it would be a Foxes walkover in the first 10 minutes.
Though he has been slated as the favourite to succeed Steve Kean at Blackburn Rovers, the Scot's position is firmer than the Ewood Park fans' protests suggest and it is understood that Blackburn's owners, the Venky family, are ready to extend his contract in an affirmation of faith. There are no immediate English club options available to the Swede and, while Eriksson's two Thai owners, Thaksin Shinawatra at Manchester City and the Raksriaksorn family, have done his pulling power with English chairmen no favours, he can point to success under both regimes. He took City to the highest finish in their Premier League history (ninth) and his 50-game record at the King Power Stadium, where he took over a side in the relegation zone 12 months ago, reads: won 22, drawn 13 and lost 15.
In a statement issued through the League Managers Association yesterday, Eriksson said: "I am disappointed to be leaving Leicester City Football Club. It was always my aim to lead the club into the Premier League and I am very sorry that I won't be able to do that. I have always thought, and still believe now, that the club will be promoted this season.
"The current squad is capable and ready to achieve promotion, but football is a results industry and unfortunately we couldn't quite get things right enough of the time."