The Football Association wants to announce Sven Goran Eriksson's successor as England manager before the World Cup finals begin but first the new man will have to promise the governing body's chief executive, Brian Barwick, that there will be no more negotiating with new employers behind the FA's back.
The search begins in earnest next Thursday when Barwick lays out the selection procedure to the FA board, with a view to getting his new manager in place, he confirmed yesterday, before the World Cup finals. " Seriously, properly, professionally, with good judgement and a bit of style," was how Barwick described his vision for the process but when it comes to making pledges, it will be the prospective new manager who will be told not to embarrass the FA.
Eriksson survived his two infamous meetings with Chelsea officials, in 2003 and again the following year, as well as the claim by Sir Alex Ferguson that he had shaken on the Manchester United job in 2001 with then chief executive, Peter Kenyon the next man will not be so lucky. Barwick was not in the mood to discuss his exact demands, but he said the status of the England manager's job would be made very clear to the next incumbent.
"First and foremost, whoever gets the job will get a remarkable job with a fantastic set of players and he's taking over a team that is probably the most avidly watched in the world with the exception of Brazil possibly," Barwick said. "When England play, the country comes to a halt. One of the things I will be underlining is the scale, magnitude and fantastic opportunity.
"We have the opportunity to appoint him before the World Cup and the upside is that he can watch the side that he will inherit in August. There will be a sense of semi-distant ownership and that may be an advantage, although I don't think there's a chance of being involved in Sven's inner sanctum unless they are already there."
Barwick is in Switzerland ahead of today's qualifying draw for Euro 2008 which will be preceded by press conferences with almost all the coaches from the Continent's leading sides Portugal's Luiz Felipe Scolari, Germany's Jürgen Klinsmann and the Netherlands' Marco van Basten among them except Eriksson. The Swede is here to advise on the FA's fixture planning but for the first time he has to face the ignominy of being yesterday's man.
In contrast, Barwick approached his first inquisition determined to give nothing away, even the details of what he described as his own " Identikit" of the next England manager, lest the man in question be identified. However, he did not rule out the fact that the next manager may be English and claimed "absolutely" that there were a number of Englishmen who could do the job.
"We will be in the business of appointing who we believe will be the right man to take care of one of the finest international teams in the world, " Barwick said.
But while Guus Hiddink and Martin O'Neill await a first phone call they should know that the final decision will not rest completely with Barwick and there is likely to be input from Noel White, the Liverpool director and chairman of the international committee, and also Geoff Thompson, the FA chairman.
"Whether the final decision will be mine, I'm of the view that I will be very central to the appointment but I will look to the experience around me," he said.
"I'm a great believer in drawing on knowledge. It's not daunting, it's a responsibility but what a fantastic responsibility. To think that I will be around when Wembley opens, the job has some huge challenges. Not least I have a 14-year-old who has given me five names already including me! I think I'm 9,000-1."Reuse content