Newcastle begin search for manager

Rugby Union
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The Independent Online
Newcastle Gosforth should officially become Newcastle RFC Ltd with the signing of contracts today and the bigger business of finding a manager to recruit a professional team of potential champions to the Second Division club may also be completed within a week.

The Newcastle United FC board and Newcastle Gosforth's board of management agreed final details yesterday. The board of the new company will comprise three from the football club and two from the rugby club.

At the weekend Sir John Hall, the United chairman, met Bath officials who were in the North-east, in particular sounding out their views on the Rugby Football Union's transfer restrictions. In the longer run, however, Newcastle could be interested in using some of Sir John's millions to sign some of Bath's leading players and the trembling North-east grapevine already has the England breakaway Ben Clarke as a target. "I am totally taken aback by that one," David Campbell, Newcastle's chairman of rugby, said.

As for the managerial position, one candidate was interviewed in London last Friday but an alternative is now being targeted. Roger Uttley, Rob Andrew, Ian McGeechan, Alex Evans are among those who have had a mention - though not by Campbell, who has the responsibility for the appointment.

"We talked to someone and we weren't happy," he said. "We have somebody else in mind but we have to talk to him and whether we go for a player- manager or a guy who has just finished playing remains a debatable issue. I had a fax from New Zealand from an ex-All Black who is coaching in a big way down there and is interested in coming to Newcastle."

n Ireland have decided that only members of the international squad, and not provincial and club players, will receive money for playing this season.