Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sven Link to Hammers Is a Joke, Says Agent

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sven Link to Hammers Is a Joke, Says Agent

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON'S agent today dismissed talk of him managing West Ham as a complete joke.

The former England coach was seen dining in Tel Aviv with Eli Papouchado, the Israeli property magnate who is one of the backers of Kia Joorabchian's potential takeover at Upton Park, prompting reports that Eriksson was being lined up to replace Alan Pardew.

But Eriksson's agent, Athole Still, said: "I saw the headline 'Sven for West Ham' and I found it laughable - how a reporter can say he had a secret meeting in a well-known restaurant in Tel Aviv with Eli Papouchado and Pini Zahavi. You don't have secret meetings in public restaurants.

"I want to get the whole Tel Aviv thing out of the way. He's known Papouchado for years; he's met him many times in London as the guy is a football nut. It was a personal invitation for Sven to go down there. West Ham was never mentioned at any time in the three days he was there [in Israel]."

Eriksson is a genuine target for managing China's or America's national sides and Still added in an interview on Talksport radio: "I would say that he is very close to being back in football. Certainly from the start of January.

There are a couple of possibilities that I think will crystallise at the beginning of the year. But it is highly unlikely that it will be in the UK."

Still claims the Swede was "very, very badly hurt," by criticisms that he is a money-grabber adding: "I'll tell you something else - he absolutely feels that if Wayne Rooney hadn't been sent THE Queen failed a late fitness test and will be missing at Arsenal today.

The royal family's star performer was due to officially open the Gunners' new multimillion pound Emirates Stadium, but doctors ruled her unfit with a muscle strain in her back.

Prince Philip will come on as a late substitute to head the official engagement to meet Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry. …

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