Premier clubs win approval for Roeder job

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The Newcastle United chairman, Freddy Shepherd, applauded a decision of "compassion" yesterday as the Premier League gave the green light for the appointment of their caretaker manager, Glenn Roeder, on a permanent basis, despite his not holding the relevant qualifications.

Last week the Premier League told Newcastle that because Roeder did not hold the Uefa Pro Licence required to coach at the highest level, they would need the permission of fellow top-flight clubs to allow him to take overall charge. That granted, the Magpies expect to make an announcement on Monday.

"Should we wish to appoint Glenn Roeder as our next manager it is nice to know we have the support of fellow clubs," Shepherd said. "And I'd like to thank them and the Premier League for their understanding. It's very simple, it's compassion. He had a life-threatening injury when he had just started the course," he added, referring to the brain tumour Roeder suffered when in charge at West Ham in 2003. "At Newcastle we don't expect mercy on the field but we certainly expect it off the field. It could be them next time. The other chairmen have supported Newcastle and we thank them."

Roeder, a former club captain, steered the club from 15th to seventh place in the Premier League after stepping in as caretaker following the sacking of Graeme Souness in February. He has since turned the Magpies' season around, earning 32 points from 15 League games, and Sunday's 1-0 defeat of the champions, Chelsea, assured their qualification for the Intertoto Cup.

Shepherd also hit back at the lack of sympathy shown in some quarters for the 50-year-old Roeder's special case. The League Managers' Association yesterday criticised Newcastle for trying to circumnavigate the rules, saying that the appointment "sends out the message qualifications are not important and players looking for a future in the game as a coach or a manager do not have to concern themselves with obtaining these qualifications."

Shepherd responded by saying: "Glenn himself was a member of the LMA while at West Ham, and is about to begin the Pro Licence course again, so I find it both disappointing and surprising they should take such a stance." Roeder will begin his studies next month and should be qualified by this time next year.