John Toshack stood down as Wales manager reluctantly yesterday after telling his bosses he was willing to continue in the post. The official line is that the 61-year-old has had his employment with the Football Association of Wales terminated by mutual consent but Toshack wanted to remain in the job for the next two Euro 2012 qualification matches before reviewing the situation.
His position had been the subject of considerable speculation since Wales were beaten in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier by Montenegro last Friday. Reports appeared over the weekend claiming that Toshack was poised to resign, a situation that annoyed the manager. He did have a meeting with the FAW on Monday but by then he knew his position was untenable. Toshack wanted to carry on, at least until after next month's games against Bulgaria and Switzerland, if only to shoulder the blame for any more failures.
He revealed yesterday he had agreed with the FAW earlier this year to review his position after those games anyway. "It might not sound a very positive thing to say – but if results were to go against Wales I would have preferred that to happen with me still in charge," he said. "I think that would have been better for everybody. If we hadn't got them the scapegoat would have been quite easy, I would have accepted that. I was prepared to carry on for these next two matches until the situation was reviewed."
Toshack came to the conclusion that he and the FAW should take stock of their situation after next month's games following defeat for a weakened side in Croatia in May. Wales travelled to Osijek for that game at the end of last season with a threadbare squad after 15 players were ruled out for a variety of reasons. Toshack said: "I did say to the president after the game that I thought after the first three matches of this group we would review everything."
Wales do not play again after October until their home match with Group G favourites England in March. "If any decision needed to be made it could have been made in that five-month gap," added Toshack, who oversaw 21 wins in 53 internationals.
Toshack was downbeat after Friday's 1-0 loss in Podgorica but claimed quitting never crossed his mind. He continued to work as normal and travelled to Bulgaria on Tuesday to watch Wales' next opponents. It is only since returning and meeting FAW officials that a decision has been made. "I wouldn't have gone to Sofia if I was thinking along the lines of finishing," he said. "But we have come to the agreement that it may be better for everyone concerned if a change was made now."
An early favourite to succeed Toshack, Kenny Jacket, the Millwall manager, yesterday ruled himself out of the running for the job.
* Carlos Queiroz was sacked as Portugal coach by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) last night in the wake of his six-month ban for insulting drugs testers before the World Cup. "Given recent events, the FPF directors decided unanimously to settle Carlos Queiroz's contract with immediate effect," said the FPF president, Gilberto Madail.
Who will replace Toshack?
Brian Flynn (Odds: 5-2)
The Wales Under-21 manager is the front-runner for the job, and is well respected by the Welsh FA – he nearly took the Under-21s to the European Championships last year.
Chris Coleman (7-2)
Came close to getting the job six years ago. The 40-year-old had a good spell at Fulham – leading the west London side to a respectable ninth place in 2004, and is available immediately after being sacked by Coventry in May.
Ryan Giggs (12-1)
Would be a very popular choice for the fans – but it is hard to imagine Sir Alex Ferguson allowing his midfielder to take the job while still a key member of the Manchester United squad.
Dean Saunders (12-1)
Another former Welsh international, the Wrexham manager was John Toshack's assistant, and has also been a coach at Blackburn and Newcastle, furthering his management credentials.
Alan Curbishley (14-1)
Has been out of management since acrimonious departure from West Ham United in September 2008 but he may fancy a return to the game and has said before that he would like to coach at international level.