The Hoddle Sacking: The Pitch: Reid is choice of City headhunters

Sunderland manager has the necessary respect within game says specialist recruitment firm. By Nick Harris
PETER REID, the manager of First Division Sunderland, should be at the top of the Football Association's list of candidates to replace Glenn Hoddle as the England coach, according to a specialist with a City headhunting firm.

The FA's main priority, said Terry Rickaby, a management consultant with Firth Ross Martin, should be to appoint a man who commands respect within the English game. "I'd forcefully advise the FA to go around English managers and canvass opinion," he said. "They're the people who know the game and you need to get the entire establishment behind the new management."

Rickaby added that the manager should, above all, be able to achieve results and maintain players' motivation and confidence. "This time they need to try to identify someone with a successful track record," Rickaby said. He added that Hoddle's problems with the media have not helped him, and said any successor must be able to deal with similar pressures.

Asked for candidates who might fit the bill, Rickaby said he would advise the FA to look for a young, up and coming manager, not necessarily in the Premier League.

"I'd suggest Peter Reid. He has the respect, he played for his country and is he proud to have worn his country's shirt." Of non-English managers, Rickaby added, Alex Ferguson was the most obvious candidate. "He has a great case and has been a great servant to the English game. It's one job that might whet his appetite."

Advertising agencies approached by The Independent came up with a variety of ways of attracting candidates for the job. J Walter Thompson's advert said: "Applicants with a tendency to overburden the pre-match period with talk of the other side need not apply." The recruitment pitch added: "You will also be required to forge a strong working relationship with the big man upstairs, whoever he may be. (Since Mr Kelly stood down).

"Must be prepared to work amidst the inevitable disruption caused by the dismantling of Wembley's pearly gates.

"The new coach should also desist in the practice of informing players they are required for squad training by opening phone calls with the words `Please join the congregation at Bisham Abbey.'"

The advert finishes with the warnings "Do not regard this as a job for (this) life" and "Must be able to work Sundays."

Mark Wnek, of Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, said the FA should look for someone with a balanced personality. "It's Hoddle's unceasing search for a personality that's been getting him into trouble," he said.

Saatchi and Saatchi, who produced the advert on the right, played on the subject - reincarnation - that landed Hoddle in his most serious trouble to date.

Donald MacLeod of Korn Ferry, another City headhunting firm, said: "Clearly the biggest pitfall [for an England manager] is that that person is always in the public eye." Whether an overseas manager would be appropriate for the job - even in the current global climate of the game - would be entirely for the FA to decide, MacLeod said, but he added: "I think I would first want to scour the English field [of candidates]."

Whoever ends up as the next coach should be less naive in dealing with the media and avoid talking about non-football subjects, Max Clifford, the PR expert, said yesterday. Had Hoddle been a client of his, Clifford said, he would have been told never to talk to journalists about subjects such as reincarnation. "If only Hoddle was as skilful at explaining himself as he was with his feet, he wouldn't have had these problems," he said. He added that Hoddle had not only made the mistake of airing his opinions, but his follow-up damage limitation exercise had been poorly executed. "He didn't limit the damage," Clifford said. "If anything he made it worse."

The next England coach, it seems, needs to have a first-class pedigree in management, be popular with the public, be able to lead the team to major triumphs, have a good rapport with the media and be relaxed (but work well under pressure). The new man's nationality is less important. As long as he's English, presumably.