Belfast Telegraph

Republic manager: Sanchez in talks

Ex-NI boss risking anger of fans with job interview

By Steven Beacom

Former Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez today risked the wrath of the Green and White Army by throwing his hat into the ring for the vacant Republic of Ireland job.

Sanchez - sacked last month by Fulham - is set to have an interview with the three-man Football Association of Ireland (FAI) panel, which was appointed to search for a successor to former manager Steve Staunton, who was dismissed last year.

That panel is made up of ex-Republic international player Ray Houghton, former Arsenal manager Don Howe and the current Republic under-21 manager, Don Givens.

Sanchez is regarded as an outsider, with former England coach Terry Venables still the favourite, but he is expected to perform well at interview, just as he did when going for the Northern Ireland job in 2004.

The majority of Northern Ireland fans, however, would be disappointed if Sanchez, who previously managed Sligo Rovers and Wycombe, linked up with their southern rivals.

Gary McAllister, spokesman for the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs, said: "A lot of our supporters will be disappointed by this news. When Lawrie left the Northern Ireland managerial position, he said it was because he wanted to go into club football.

"It seems there has been a bit of a U-turn on that.

"Obviously all the supporters are grateful for what Lawrie achieved as Northern Ireland manager, but there would be disappointment with the fans, not just because this is the Republic. The supporters would feel the same way if it was any international post."

FAI have struggled to make a new appointment, so it is believed that Sanchez would be a quick solution to an embarrassing problem.

With Northern Ireland, Sanchez became a huge hero with the fans restoring national pride in the team, beating England, Spain and Sweden in the process.

Belfast Telegraph


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