Football: Houllier not Newcastle bound, insists French federation chief
FFF president dismissed reports linking their technical director Gerard Houllier with the vacant Newcastle manager's job
PARIS, January 15, 2008 - French football federation (FFF) president
Jean-Pierre Escalettes on Tuesday dismissed reports linking their technical
director Gerard Houllier with the vacant Newcastle manager's job.
The 60-year-old Houllier has emerged as the new favourite to fill the
vacant manager's position at Tyneside.
The odds on the Frenchman succeeding Sam Allardyce were slashed after the
former Liverpool manager's representatives confirmed they had been contacted
about possibly filling the vacancy.
But Escalettes told AFP that he had spoken to Houllier and been reassured
that he remained commited to his current job.
"I talked to Gerard by telephone - he is on business for us in the United
States at the moment - and he told me 'every time an English club is in
difficulty my name comes up'. Gerard's word is enough for me. He is at the DTN
(technical director) and works for us," said Escalettes.
"Gerard had an extraordinary image in England, I'm flattered to hear his
name all over the place, I tell myself we made the right choice, everyone
wants to have him."
Houllier is seen as having the perfect profile to form a managerial team
with former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer at the struggling
English Premier League club.
However, no sooner had Houllier's name become the latest to go into the no
column than another Frenchman, Didier Deschamps, was linked with the job
regarded as the 'poisoned chalice' of English football.
The former French World Cup and Euro winning skipper is available after
leaving Juventus at the end of last season having coahced the 'old lady' back
to Serie A.
Deschamps, who had a spell playing in the Premiership with Chelsea and then
as a managerial rookie took unheralded French Championship outfit Monaco to
the 2004 Champions League final, was linked with the job by esteemed magazine
"Didier Deschamps, as far as it goes at the moment (Tuesday) is in line for
the job," it said on its website.
Shearer, 37, has no experience of coaching but that has not stopped him
being repeatedly linked with the job, with reports suggesting he could serve
an apprenticeship under either Houllier or Kevin Keegan.
Shearer has repeatedly refused to comment on the situation at Newcastle
but, having just returned from a holiday in Barbados, he did confirm on
Tuesday that he would like to be Newcastle manager "one day."
Houllier has taken over as favourite to be the next manager from Mark
Hughes, the Blackburn boss who appeared to be in pole position after Harry
Redknapp ruled out a move to St James' Park at the weekend.