Strachan opens Pompey talks

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The Independent Online

The Shortlist to become the new manager of Portsmouth has been reduced to four - although, of those, only Gordon Strachan has been interviewed so far.

The Shortlist to become the new manager of Portsmouth has been reduced to four - although, of those, only Gordon Strachan has been interviewed so far.

It is thought he is less likely to want to take up the position after he was told at a meeting on Thursday that he would have to share transfer dealings with executive director, Velimir Zajec. The Croat is currently in charge of the first team and remains the most likely candidate to succeed Harry Redknapp or remain as caretaker for the rest of the season.

As yet Strachan has not formally ruled himself out although Portsmouth are also keen to interview two other people before making an announcement, hopefully at the beginning of next week. "We are continuing to talk to Gordon," the Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric said. "He is positive and we just have to keep talking and make sure the right decision is reached. It is very important." The Portsmouth director Terry Brady is leading the negotiations and spoke again with the former Southampton manager yesterday.

Mandaric added: "If he comes in, he will have to work closely with Velimir Zajec. I trust Velimir and his football knowledge. The manager will pick the team, and he will buy and sell players in consultation with Velimir Zajec. It will be a partnership. It's important we get this straight before we appoint anyone. If Gordon Strachan says he's not quite sure, we might wait until the end of the season to make an appointment. Everything is under control."

Matters have been complicated by the fact the two other men they want to approach are currently in employment and need to gain the agreement of their clubs. A further snag is that Mandaric has been unwell and has been unable to fully take part in the interviews.

Elsewhere, the Government has given its clearest indication yet that it will introduce an independent regulator to oversee football, by law, if the Premier League presses too aggressively to take over the running of the game.

The statement was made by Lord Davies of Oldham, the Government's spokesperson for culture, media and sport, in a debate in the House of Lords. Lord McNally, leader of the Liberal Democrat peers, had referred to the recent remarks by the Newcastle United chairman, Freddy Shepherd, who dismissed the importance of smaller clubs, and said, "The time will come when the Premier League is running the whole show."

"If there were any threat of a coup d'état by the Premiership," Lord McNally said, "that would cause the pressure for statutory regulation to become irresistible. People like Mr Shepherd should know that."

Lord Davies replied for the Government that as things stand football "does not need" a statutory regulator, but could introduce one in the "dire crisis" represented by a Premiership takeover.

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