The Guardian’s Michael Walker and Paul Kelso claim that Newcastle might play a role in removing Martin O’Neal from consideration for the England job…by hiring him as Graham Souness’ replacement.
The FA has not given up but there has been no contact of any form with the former Celtic manager and the sub-committee charged with the task of appointing the next England manager – led by the FA chief executive Brian Barwick – does not meet with the full board to discuss any progress until February 27.
By then Newcastle hope they will have conducted full negotiations with O’Neill, though the club are making no comment until there is news on the health of his wife Geraldine. That is expected soon and, if positive, then as a free agent O’Neill would be available to talk to anyone interested in his services. He is understood to be willing to speak to Newcastle and the FA over the two vacancies but regards the situation as hypothetical until he receives an approach.
At the FA there is a feeling of suspicion about the timing of reports linking Newcastle with O’Neill and there is also the view that, if he wants to be the next manager of England, then he will be prepared to wait for the FA to come.
The Telegraph’s Mark Ogden quotes Charlton’s Alan Curbishley proposing the FA do their part to end frenzied speculation about Sven’s successor by putting the whole thing off until after the Premiership season is over.
Speaking after his side’s 3-2 defeat against Stuart Pearce’s Manchester City Curbishley said: “There is a need for clarification because we all have jobs to do. Every day, somebody else has something to say about it, so perhaps it should be clarified in that, whoever they are looking at or whoever has a chance, they are going to do it after May 7 and that is it.
“That way, there will be no ‘Curb-watch’ or ‘Pearce-watch’ or a fictitious horse race with all of our heads stuck on the ends of horses. There is enough time do it between May 7 and when the World Cup starts on June 9.”