Waddle tipped for Wednesday role

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The Independent Online
Chris Waddle last night looked set to follow his fellow former England internationals Hoddle, Robson, Wilkins et al into management as the new Sheffield Wednesday chief in succession to another of his contemporaries, Trevor Francis, who departed on Saturday.

The smart money is on him doing so in tandem with Arthur Cox, his old mentor from Newcastle days, even though many may feel that an inexperienced player-manager is not what the club needs after its ultimately unhappy association with another of that ilk. There may be misgivings, too, about the appointment of Cox, now back at St James' Park with Kevin Keegan after a failed attempt - not for want of funds - to awake another famous old club, Derby County.

Waddle was giving nothing away yesterday. "I won't comment on my situation," he told the Sheffield radio station, Hallam FM. "But it is a sad day when anyone loses their job."

While Francis began his second day as a member of the burgeoning former managers' club, a colleague who has been 17 months on the sidelines, Graeme Souness, was in Istanbul talking to Galatasaray.

The former Liverpool and Rangers manager was negotiating a one-year contract that would end a sojourn that began when Souness's three-year reign at Anfield ended in January, 1994. Galatasaray, third in the Turkish league behind champions Besiktas, won 7-3 away to Zeytinburnuspor yesterday.

Francis, who led Sheffield Wednesday out at Wembley twice in a season only two years ago, found himself out of work on FA Cup final day when Dave Richards, the chairman, ended months of speculation about Francis's position by announcing that his contract was being terminated one year early.

Francis may yet cling on to the managerial merry-go-round. Manchester City, who last week dispensed with the services of Brian Horton, want their new manager to possess a pedigree as befits a club of their stature. However, question marks remain over Francis's man-management capabilities after problems on that score at Queen's Park Rangers and at Wednesday.

The Southampton goalkeeper, Bruce Grobbelaar, is almost certain to miss Zimbabwe's next African Nations' Cup qualifier on 4 June. The game is scheduled to be played in Zaire, where there has been an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

An emotional Paul Gascoigne, who looks set to leave Lazio for any number of British clubs, yesterday told the Italian media: "I don't know if I'll play in Italy, Scotland, England or with the national team next year. I don't know if I'll play again."