The Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside has become the first member of the Football Association board publicly to endorse Harry Redknapp for the England manager's job, as the governing body reaches the point of the season where it must make a decision.
Gartside, one of the 14 members of the FA board, described Redknapp as having the potential to be an "outstanding England manager", the first time any of those on the board have spoken out about the process. The appointment is being controlled by the FA's Club England board of four, led by FA chairman David Bernstein, but will have to be approved by the FA main board.
In an interview with the BBC reporter Rob Bonnet due to be broadcast on BBC World Extra Time this weekend, Gartside described Redknapp as a "good motivator with a winning mentality". It is the closest thing to an endorsement that any senior member of the FA has given to the Tottenham Hotspur manager since Fabio Capello quit the England manager's job on 8 February.
The Club England board have refused to be drawn on their preferred candidate but have insisted throughout the process that they would be able to tie up a deal quickly for their chosen man before the start of the European Championships in June. The FA general secretary Alex Horne said last week that the Club England board were, in terms of the selection procedure, where they planned to be at this point of the process.
Horne had said previously that the FA would make their approach for their preferred candidate at the "back end of the season". While their have been various interpretations of exactly what he meant by that timeframe there can be little doubt that the FA is approaching it soon.
The Club England set-up is relatively new to the FA and this is the first time it has been charged with appointing a new manager. Bernstein, Horne, director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and Adrian Bevington have been given a degree of autonomy by the main board but they will have to report back for them for approval over the chosen candidate and the salary package.
When Capello was appointed in 2007 by former FA chief executive Brian Barwick, he asked for board members to endorse the Italian's £6m annual salary via telephone, a move which did not go down well with all the board. This time the FA would wish for a less frantic endgame to their appointment process.
The FA board was recently expanded to 14 to include the two independents, Heather Rabbatts and Roger Devlin. There are elected representatives from the Premier League, including David Gill, the Manchester United chief executive, as well as others from the Football League and the amateur game.Reuse content