Crozier outlines credentials for England post

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Wanted: A top-class coach who has experience of international football in its widest context, who can communicate with players and take the England team on for the next five years. English nationality not required but ability to speak English "helpful". Coaching qualifications preferred but not essential. Must accept restrictions on support staff. Salary £1-2m.

Wanted: A top-class coach who has experience of international football in its widest context, who can communicate with players and take the England team on for the next five years. English nationality not required but ability to speak English "helpful". Coaching qualifications preferred but not essential. Must accept restrictions on support staff. Salary £1-2m.

That is the CV required of the next England coach by the Football Association, who yesterday began the search for Kevin Keegan's successor in earnest when they appointed a seven-man advisory panel [see box] to find him. The deadline for the appointment is Christmas, although depending on the successful candidate's position, he may not be in the dug-out until later.

The FA's chief executive, Adam Crozier, who chose and will chair the panel, said the FA had to learn from "the mistakes of the past" and "would not be bounced" into a quick decision. This is an implicit criticism of the way Keegan was rushed into the job and it is significant that Geoff Thompson, the FA's chairman and the man behind that appointment, is not on the advisory panel. Nor are Doug Ellis and Ken Bates. Both powerful members of the FA's executive and international committees, they have chequered records of management appointments at, respectively, Aston Villa and Chelsea.

The panel does include two club chairman whose past success at recruitment means they will face a conflict of interests. The astuteness of Peter Ridsdale, the chairman of Leeds, and David Dein, the key figure on the Arsenal board, is illustrated by the work of Arsÿne Wenger and David O'Leary. However, with both men likely to come under consideration, the chairmen will inevitably be torn between what is best for their clubs, where they have a financial interest, and the country. "In football people wear lots of different hats at the same time," Crozier said. "You get used to that. Peter and David have good judgement and I am keen to have them on the group." Howard Wilkinson has an even more personal conflict. As the current caretaker he is himself a candidate. However, as he will have to work closely with the new man in his capacity as the FA's technical director he is an obvious choice for the panel.

Crozier will make the final decision, and he admitted his credibility rested on its success, but he is unlikely to go against the broad opinion of the group. Since he will make any approach in person he was able to knock down the claims by many newspapers of inside knowledge. "We have not spoken to anyone, we have no short list at present, we have no plans to speak to anyone this week in England or abroad," he said, adding in specific reference to one story, "Arsÿne Wenger has not been approached." He added: "To all those who have 'turned us down', with all due respect I was not aware you had been offered the job." In a further message to the refuseniks he said: "The job of the national team coach is one of the top jobs in world football. There are some excellent players in England and some fantastic kids coming through. There are huge pressures that go with the job but it is a massive opportunity for the right leader to take this forward."

Expanding on the FA's requirements he said it did not have to be a former or current international coach but someone with top-class European or world-wide experience. Whoever came in would not, like Glenn Hoddle and Keegan, be allowed to surround himself with "cronies" but asked to work with someone who could be groomed as a successor. The irony of this is that Peter Taylor, now widely seen as a potential England coach-after-next, was derided as "Glenn Hoddle's mate" when the former coach plucked him from the obscurity of non-League Dover Athletic to coach the under-21s.

Crozier said the FA were determined not to be swayed by public and media opinion. As Keegan's appointment illustrated this is not easy but its importance was emphasised when the readers of one tabloid demonstrated their mature judgement by voting a donkey into fourth place in a phone poll. "I wouldn't put my mortgage on the donkey," Crozier noted drily.

This correspondent suggests the panel should consider Craig Brown. He has eight years' experience as an international coach during which time his tactical know-how and organisation has drawn decent results from a very average Scottish squad. He knows the English game thoroughly - indeed, most of his best players, Don Hutchison, Matt Elliott and Neil Sullivan, are English - and, if not charismatic, is personable and articulate.

The time may also be right as his relationship with the Scottish media has never recovered from their vituperative reaction to the home play-off defeat by England, the second leg of which highlighted not just his tactical superiority over Keegan but also his motivational qualities.

KINGMAKERS: THE SEVEN-MAN PANEL CHARGED WITH CHOOSING THE NEXT MANAGER

ADAM CROZIER

Football Association's chief executive. The former chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi was called in earlier this year to sharpen FA's image and streamline its structure. The Scot has made a good impression so far, but this presents his biggest test.

PETER RIDSDALE

Chairman and life-long fan of Leeds United. Media-conscious, he impressed with his handling of the aftermath of the deaths of two Leeds fans in Istanbul last season.

DAVID DEIN

Arsenal vice-chairman. Influential within Uefa, potential future FA chairman. The man who found Arsÿne Wenger for Arsenal, and who will fight to keep him there.

DAVID RICHARDS

Chairman of the Premier League and, until he was deposed earlier this year, also of Sheffield Wednesday. Not conspicuously successful with his managerial appointments at club level.

NOEL WHITE

Committee man who worked his way up to influence via Altrincham and Liverpool, where he is a director. The man who forced out Terry Venables.

HOWARD WILKINSON

An outside candidate himself, the FA's technical director and current caretaker manager is the last Englishman to have guided a team to the league title, when he was manager of Leeds United, in 1992. Also managed Notts County and Sheffield Wednesday.

DAVID DAVIES

FA's executive director. Former BBC television journalist who has risen from the post of press officer to be key modernising influence. Fortunate to survive the fiasco of Glenn Hoddle's World Cup Diary, which he ghosted.

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