Saints keep Strachan as Leeds sink to new low

Ian Parkes
Saturday 29 November 2003 01:00

Gordon Strachan said yesterday that he would not walk out at Southampton. His decision can only add to the misery of his former club, Leeds United, who had wanted him to take charge at Elland Road, although it now looks as if they do not even have the funds to bring in a new manager.

After more than two weeks of negotiations in the wake of Peter Reid's sacking at Elland Road 18 days ago, the Scot has finally made it clear that he will stay with the south coast club.

Strachan insists that his relationship with the Saints chairman, Rupert Lowe, is exceptional. He also maintains that he has no complaint to make about what he is earning or what he has to spend.

Strachan had long been touted as Reid's replacement, but with Leeds announcing this week that they are on the brink of administration, the former Leeds captain has made his decision. Although it has yet to be decided when he will sign a new contract at Southampton - as his present one expires in the summer - at least it is clear that he has decided to stay.

"There is no problem with money or transfer funds or the relationship with the chairman, which is as good as any in the League," he said yesterday.

"I am very happy with the way the club is run and the policies here. People keep saying I want more money, but wages have never ever been discussed. You might find that strange but that is the case.

"Contracts are not just about money - there is more to life than that. Whatever anyone else thinks, that is not a problem. Transfer funds are not an issue. I am more than happy with what I have got. I fully endorse everything that has gone on here and the way we have got people in and the way we look after wages. So I just want to set the record straight and say I will not walk out on this club to sign for another."

Lowe said: "Gordon is doing a great job. He has a great squad and a great spirit in the camp. It is important everyone understands there is no issue with our relationship or contracts or transfer funds.

"We are a well managed club who have reached the FA Cup final, have a new stadium, season-ticket sales are up and we have the best fans in the League. The club is in great shape and we must not let ourselves be distracted by speculation about another club's problems."

Lowe is correct in that respect. Leeds are ensconced at the bottom of the Premiership, while Saints are in 10th place with 16 points from 11 games.

Leeds' problems stem from the fact they have been unable to restructure their debts with their two major creditors. They owe almost £60m to American investors, and £21m to a Guernsey-based finance company. It is now obvious that they do not have any finances in place to lure Strachan - or anybody else - to Elland Road.

They are already paying close to £7m in severance payments to former managers David O'Leary, Terry Venables and Peter Reid, the trio being paid for the remainder of contracts that they signed during their time at Elland Road.

Eddie Gray, in caretaker charge, now seems likely to stay in charge for the time being, although he must be wondering just what kind of squad he will have left by the end of the January transfer window.

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