Watson, 35, is celebrating his testimonial year at Everton this season and he could earn himself a glowing one as a potential manager once he retires by turning round the side's fortunes. "I think I can get the best out of the lads and I'm confident we'll stay up," he said. "I've got the respect from the players. That's something that's been built up over years and it's a major plus. You've got to have that."
It was something that, apparently, Royle had lost. Watson, who was capped 12 times by England, has become a popular fixture at the heart of the Everton defence since his move from Norwich, playing 362 games for the club.
Joe Kinnear, who is rumoured to have attracted the attention of Celtic, Spurs and Everton, said yesterday he intends to remain as Wimbledon's manager. "I have got a roll-on contract and my ambition is to do 10 years. I have done seven and to reach that I will have to do three more," he said. "Until my chairman or directors tell me any different I am here. The way to do things in football is to go through your chairman."
Celtic have rejected claims that Tommy Burns, their manager, had resigned. It is understood Burns will stay until the end of the season.
Fergus McCann, the club's chief executive, has refused to be drawn on whether Burns will be offered a new contract in the summer. "The club's progress and future football strategy and objectives will be reviewed and if any changes in personnel are to be made they will occur after the end of the season."
Burns added: "I have no intention of quitting. I would not see the logic in it and refuse to get involved in the hysteria that is being whipped up by people, who refuse to let the truth stand in the way of a sensational story."
West Bromwich Albion are being sued by their former manager, Alan Buckley, following his dismissal in January. Buckley has been unable to reach financial agreement with Albion over the remainder of his contract, which was due to run until 1999, and he is suing for unfair dismissal. He has applied to an industrial tribunal for his case to be heard.
Buckley will not comment on the claim, but John Barnwell, chairman of the League Managers' Association, said: "West Brom's solicitors are adamant they will not raise their offer. This leaves Alan Buckley with no alternative but to sue."
Hull City are facing a winding up order over a pounds 200,000 debt to the Inland Revenue. The Third Division club will plead their case in London's High Court on 9 April. Christopher Needler, now a majority shareholder, is confident of securing an adjournment because of the impending sale of the club's Boothferry Park stadium. He is speaking to two supermarket chains who are potential buyers.