It's not about money, says Sven as he aims for miracle

Eriksson accepts deal for £40,000 a week to lead Notts County into Premier League

The Former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson today begins work on an extraordinary plan to take Notts County from the basement level of the Football League to the Premier League after his appointment as the club's new director of football was confirmed yesterday.

The Swede, who has previously managed Manchester City in the top flight and lost his job as Mexico's national coach in April, has signed a five-year contract, reportedly worth about £2m per year, to oversee the ambitions of the League Two club, who finished 19th in their division last season. Tord Grip, his assistant while he was England coach, will work alongside him at Meadow Lane, although the current manager Ian McParland will remain in charge of the team.

The appointment follows a club takeover completed a week ago by Munto Finance, a consortium backed with Middle Eastern money, who believes they can take County to the Championship within five years and to the Premier League soon afterwards. Such dreamy ambitions are rarely realised, yet Eriksson has signed up to theirs. Generous bonuses are promised should those objectives be achieved.

Eriksson, who until recently was thought to be the principal contender to become Portsmouth's manager, is no stranger to big contracts and advantageous early pay-offs. He was paid £2m when he left the Mexico job, following a £1.7m settlement when he parted company with Manchester City and £3.75m in compensation when he stepped down from his England role in 2006.

So, as he took his seat alongside the executive chairman, Peter Trembling, and McParland, to be introduced as County's director of football, there was one question that begged to be asked: "What was it, Sven, that first attracted you to sign a £10m contract to work in the basement division of English league football?"

Not the money, he insisted. "If it was for the money I could have easily gone elsewhere for much, much more," he said. "I'm not here for money, I am here for the challenge of starting almost from the bottom.

"I'm not here for the weather, I'm not concerned whether 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.

"I think it's the biggest football challenge of my life, trying to take Notts County to the Premier League, but that's the target. The challenge is perhaps the most difficult football job I've had so far. When my agent, Athole Still, asked me if I would be interested in Notts County I said, 'I am not sure about that', but after seeing the project I said yes. It was quick, it was done within two weeks.

"I always said I wanted to come back to the Premier League. I chose a difficult way to do it I think. It will take a few years, but I think we will do it."

Eriksson, according to Trembling, is "perfectly suited" to the role the consortium identified for him, even though his CV includes little or no experience of some of the jobs supposedly in his remit.

These include taking charge of training facilities, developing the youth academy, setting up a scouting network, overseeing transfer negotiations, monitoring the health, fitness and well-being of players as well as developing the treatment room, establishing overseas links with other clubs and forging community football links.

Indeed, McParland believes he has achieved much of Eriksson's brief already in his 20 months as manager. "When I came in there was one team – no reserves, no Under-16s," he said. "Players were driving to training in their kit, then taking it home with them to wash. I said I would take the job on condition that you let me build the club. I said, 'Let me start up the school of excellence again, let me get a youth team up and running, let me get a proper medical side, a proper infrastructure.'

"I have built that already, and on a limited budget. It does not need a massive overhaul, just someone to build on what I have put in place."

Eriksson's role, boiled down, seems primarily to be to identify and build a training ground, which they do not have, and to bring in players, even though, by his own admission, he knows little about this level of football. It is at least a more specific function than Grip's, who said: "I will be putting my focus into a little bit of everything."

Eriksson added: "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.

"I have discussed players with him [McParland] and obviously I don't know the players. I don't know League Two at all. But internationally I know a lot of agents, managers – they have already started phoning me from half of Europe."

At the end of his five-year contract Eriksson will be 66, which probably explains why the bookmaker William Hill is offering 20-1 for him to see out his contract – and 1-150 that he does not.

Eye for silver: How Sven came to be at Notts County

Notts County were in administration and faced expulsion from the Football League as recently as 2003. How is it they are now flush with cash?

Because the club has just been bought by Munto Finance, who paid a reported £10m to the previous owners, a supporters' trust, and see the club as having Premier League potential.

Who are Munto Finance?

Munto Finance is an acquisition vehicle set up for the purpose of buying Notts County. It is owned by the Qadbak Investment Fund, a Swiss-based consortium comprising mainly investors based in the Middle East. These are said to include Abdullah bin Saeed al-Thani, a multi-millionaire Qatari tycoon who is vice-president of the Dubai-based Al Thani Investment. Peter Willett, a representative of Al Thani Investment, has joined the board at Notts County.

Why are they investing in Notts County?

According to Peter Trembling, the club's new chief executive, the investors are "passionate about football" and see the potential in Notts County's "brand, heritage and history" as the world's oldest league club, as well as seeing the club's Meadow Lane ground, close to the River Trent, as an attractive development proposition for restaurant, banqueting and conference facilities.

How much can Notts County expect to see of Eriksson for his £40,000 a week?

Quite a lot, beginning with County's pre-season friendly against neighbours Nottingham Forest on Saturday. "I will be based in Nottingham," Eriksson said. "You cannot live in London or Sweden and work in Nottingham. I just hope there are not too many paparazzi around, although I expect there will be."

Globe trotter: Sven's travels

Sweden Early success with Degerfors earned Sven position at Gothenburg, where he won the treble.

Portugal Led Benfica to successive titles before later returning.

Italy Quiet spells with Roma, Fiorentina and Sampdoria preceded fruitful three years with Lazio.

England Led national side to three quarter-finals between 2000-06. Returned for year at Manchester City.

Mexico Nine poor months in charge before sacking in April.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
Sport
SPORT
News
people
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Biggins as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan
theatreHow do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick