Hodgson set for release to Inter

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The Independent Online

As it turned out, Roy Hodgson, rather than Terry Venables, was the Englishman whom Internazionale sought as their new coach and the man who has all but steered Switzerland to the finals of the European Championship confirmed yesterday that he planned to accept the Italian club's lucrative offer.

That, however, will depend upon the Swiss expressing their gratitude for the success the south Londoner has heaped upon them in three and a half years by releasing him from his contract which is not due to expire until after next summer's finals in England. The understanding is that they will do just that.

Speaking in the wake of his team's 3-0 victory over Hungary that all but sealed their qualification, the 48-year-old former Bristol City manager said: "I can't turn down an offer from a club of Inter's calibre. That kind of gift doesn't fall into a trainer's lap every week."

Hodgson, who has been the subject of overtures from the English Football Association in their search for a new technical director, will meet Swiss federation officials today.

Swiss fans are hoping that Hodgson, who as a player found his level at non-League with Maidstone, will be allowed to combine club and country duties. Hodgson, who has reportedly been offered a salary of pounds 600,000 a year by Inter, said: "I would be enchanted if that possibility arose."

Helenio Herrera, who coached Inter in their glory days in the Sixties, however, believes Hodgson is the wrong man for the job. "I have never known any really talented English coaches," he said.

Blackburn are hoping to have the signing of the Dundee United and Scotland midfielder Billy McKinlay for pounds 1.75m completed in time for him to play against Southampton tomorrow. They were also yesterday "tying up the loose ends" on the Norwegian Lars Bohinen's pounds 700,000 transfer from Nottingham Forest.

Everton's jailed striker Duncan Ferguson, not due to be released until the new year, could miss virtually the rest of the season if he is further ordered to complete a 12-match ban imposed by the Scottish Football Asssociation over the head-butting incident which led to his imprisonment.

The ban was put on hold until after the result of the court proceedings, and a Scottish FA spokesman said yesterday that Ferguson's appeal would be heard by a three-man tribunal on a date to be set. Everton are hoping that if their striker's appeal fails, the ban will run concurrently with the prison sentence.

The Football League has made a desperate plea for a change in National Lottery rules after research revealed clubs have lost pounds 3m since its introduction because of losses from scratch card schemes and pools contributions.