Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland fans split on Sanchez taking up Fulham post

By Emily Moulton

With Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez set to fulfil his lifelong dream of managing a Premiership side, the Belfast Telegraph took to the streets of Belfast to find out if fans think he will stay or go.

James Lewsley from Lisburn, who admits to being more of a Man United fan, does not think Sanchez will go at the end of the season and believes he should not have taken the post at Fulham.

"I don't think it is appropriate," said. "I think he will stay at Northern Ireland, he has had some great results. I also don't think he can do both jobs. I don't think the team should let him go. He put them on the map again."

Ballysillan man William Mercer is not so sure that Sanchez will stay, but does not bear any grudges towards the Northern Ireland manager for wanting to fulfil his dream.

"I am hoping that he will stay, but I am doubtful that he will," he said. "If he gets any results with Fulham he would have achieved his dream of managing a Premiership team and you can't blame the man for wanting to do that. So yes I think he should have accepted the role.

"I also think he will be able to do both jobs. His new employer might be a bit more relaxed with him if its only going to be for six months, but if he gets results then it will be a big loss for Northern Ireland."

Belfast man Brian Tufts thinks Sanchez will head to Fulham at the end of the season.

"I think he will go there full-time," he said. "But he probably should have waited until Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2008."

Glen Yates, from Ballysillan, thinks Sanchez will be able to cope with doing both jobs given Northern Ireland's qualifying matches are not until August and Fulham's season ends in May. But the life-long fan does not think the coach will stay here.

"Obviously I would prefer that he stay on as Northern Ireland manager, but I think he will go. I think we have lost him," he said.

"But fair play to him. He has got a career to think of. Managing Northern Ireland was a good career move and a step towards a Premiership side. The IFA will have to now think about a new coach, but before that we need a new national stadium."

Fanatical Northern Ireland supporter Gary Marnow, from east Belfast, is also very doubtful the man that led the green and white army to victory over England will stay and is concerned for his beloved team's future.

"Northern Ireland has been doing so well recently and Sanchez is a big cause of that," he said.

"My concern is that there is no-one next in line to replace him. There is no-one that will have the same affect Sanchez has on the team straight away. I also don't think he will be able to do both jobs. Something will happen where he will be needed in two places at once and a Premiership team will not let him go."

Liverpool fan Rachael Watson, from Carrickfergus, said she also thought Sanchez would go.

"I guess it all depends on the money," she said. "I would hope that he would stay. I don't really follow Northern Ireland, but I have to say that he has been a good asset for Northern Ireland. And I definitely don't think he can do both jobs."

Belfast Telegraph


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