Belfast Telegraph

I was better than legend Bingham, claims Sanchez

By Stuart McKinley

Lawrie Sanchez amazingly laid claim to being a more successful Northern Ireland manager than the legendary Billy Bingham at the same time as declaring that now isn’t the right time for him to return to the job.

And he also revealed that he has sent a letter to former boss Nigel Worthington, apologising for criticism aimed in his direction during an interview after Northern Ireland’s 4-1 defeat in Estonia back in September.

Sanchez — who was Northern Ireland boss from 2004 to 2007 — insisted that statistically he had a better record than Bingham, who led the country to two World Cup finals during the glory era of the 1980s, as well as winning two Home Championship titles.

During his tenure Sanchez achieved memorable wins at home to England and Spain, but he passed up the chance to take Northern Ireland to a first European Championship when he walked out during the Euro 2008 campaign in order to take charge of Fulham, where he lasted only six months.

Sanchez does want another crack at the international job and while he was considered by the Irish FA as a possible successor to Worthington (pictured) he won’t be appointed this time.

Although his name was on the IFA’s six-man shortlist before they whittled down the number of candidates to three, Sanchez ruled himself out of the running on Monday by issuing a formal statement through his current club Barnet, indicating he had not applied for the job.

He blamed misreporting of the interview about the performance of Worthington for making it inappropriate for him to return.

“It caused me a lot of embarrassment and I'm sure it caused Nigel a lot of embarrassment as well and on the back of that, some ill-informed comments came from managers and players,” Sanchez told BBC Sport — who had conducted the original interview.

“The fuss caused by that interview has made it inappropriate for me to apply at this time. I've since written to Nigel apologising for any embarrassment caused.

“I'd like to return to Northern Ireland. Whether people like it or not, I'm the most successful manager since the days of Billy Bingham and statistically actually better, but at the current time, with the fuss caused by that interview, it wasn't the appropriate time.”

Gerry Armstrong and Dave Jones were also on the six-man list but, like Sanchez, neither has been granted an interview.

“I feel that I have as good a chance as anybody, but I haven't heard anything else, so as yet nothing's moving,” said Armstrong.

“I actually spoke to Dave Jones, funnily enough, a few days ago and Dave told me the same thing.

“He hasn't heard anything from the Irish FA either.”

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