Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hoddle Eyeing United Hotseat

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hoddle Eyeing United Hotseat

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Rushworth

The race to succeed Sir Bobby Robson as Newcastle United manager took a dramatic twist last night when Glenn Hoddle contacted the club expressing interest in the St James's Park vacancy.

And The Journal understands Freddie Shepherd is prepared to add the former England manager to his shortlist as the number of available British coaches diminishes by the day.

United's chairman has stayed true to his word and carefully considered several leading contenders before fixing on the man he feels is best suited to succeeding Robson. However, Hoddle's emergence as a serious alternative has provided Shepherd with further food for thought ( and prompted the Magpies' chief to hold fire in his quest to appoint the club's new manager.

In the wake of last night's unexpected development, and following further speculation linking Newcastle with Steve Bruce and David O'Leary last night, Shepherd revealed: "We have not approached another club requesting permission to talk to their manager."

Hoddle was well aware such an approach was imminent and made his move with hours to spare. And although a British boss remains Newcastle's priority, former Bayern Munich manager Ottmar Hitzfeld has convinced club officials he is the only viable foreign alternative.

Shepherd, meanwhile, had worked around the clock to ensure he was fully prepared for the inevitable opposition to Newcastle's expected move for a contracted manager this weekend.

In addition, Chief Operating Officer Russell Cushing undertook exhaustive research to ensure his chairman was adequately briefed about the consequent compensation issues United could be forced to resolve.

Hoddle, however, is currently unemployed and his easy availability clearly appeals. With Birmingham City officials insisting Bruce is an unrealistic target and sources close to Newcastle suggesting O'Leary does not yet enjoy the full support of the Magpies' board, Blackburn boss Graeme Souness also found himself under fresh scrutiny last night. …

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