x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Curbishley lobbies for Villa job

It is understood that the former Charlton Athletic and West Ham United manager has instructed third parties to set up preliminary discussions.

Alan Curbishley has declared his interest in becoming Aston Villa's new manager. It is understood that Curbishley, the former Charlton Athletic and West Ham United manager, has instructed third parties to set up preliminary discussions with Villa which he hope will progress to advanced negotiations. Villa started their search for Martin O'Neill's replacement this week and Kevin MacDonald, the hugely respected caretaker boss, has become a key figure in the selection process. While high-profile foreign names such as Jurgen Klinsmann, Ronald Koeman, Slaven Bilic and Gerard Houllier have been linked with the vacancy, MacDonald has recommended to Randy Lerner, the Villa owner, that the club should opt for a manager steeped in the English game and with significant managerial experience.

With Mark Hughes, the apparent No 1 target for Lerner, unlikely to walk out on Fulham, Curbishley has the best CV of any of the leading candidates, his track record outweighing the claims of Gareth Southgate, the former Middlesbrough manager, and Alan Pardew, who was sacked in by League Two club Southampton last weekend. After more than 15 years at the helm at Charlton, Curbishley moved to West Ham, the club where he started his playing career, and saved them from relegation four seasons ago. But despite a solid subsequent season he was sacked by an impatient board.

Curbishley, who was a candidate to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson as England manager in 2006, then successfully sued West Ham over his dismissal. The two-year litigation battle meant he had to shun several job offers. Sources close to Curbishley say he is eager to get back into club management and is keen to manage Villa. Curbishley has an affinity with the club, having played for them in the early 1980s

His ability to work within a structured regime and a tight budget, will appeal to Lerner, who felt that transfer fees and wages had started to spiral under O'Neill. sports@thenational.ae