Shamik Das

Sunday, April 01, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Blair lined up as England's saviour

England boss Steve McClaren    Prime Minister Tony Blair

• PM to take over in July • McClaren 'outraged' by axing

Tony Blair will be appointed as the new manager of the England football team this summer, as soon as Gordon Brown takes over as Prime Minister.

The news, which has been kept under wraps ever since Mr Blair decided to swap Downing Street for Soho Square last September, leaked out this morning when a series of confidential e-mails were sent in error to this reporter.

The FA's present incumbent Steve McClaren was said to be "bloody well outraged" by the news, which came as a "complete surprise" to the man - the only man - who believes England will comfortably qualify for next summer's European Championships with him at the helm.

It is understood that the FA are desperate for the PM to take over as soon as possible, in time for the crucial qualifier away to Estonia in early June, with England's dismal run of form prompting them to make their move sooner than expected.

However, if Mr Blair remains Prime Minister until his preferred exit date of late summer, the FA will ask McClaren's assistant Terry Venables to take charge for the match in Tallin, but one thing's for sure - McClaren's tenure as England boss looks to be well and truly over.

Neither the Prime Minister nor the Football Association were available for comment today, Sunday, April the first.


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