Saint Clive?

Last updated : 02 September 2004 By Woodward for Saints?
Sir Clive Woodward is to resign as manager of the England rugby team, according to rumours which have featured in every newspaper and on most sports shows over the last couple of days. With his friendship with chairman Rupert Lowe, and his appearance at three of our last four home games, it's perhaps natural that people have begun to speculate about Sir Clive being handed a role with Southampton.

Exactly what role he would be given is a topic of debate; will Lowe put his neck on the line so soon after showing Sturrock the door, and hand Sir Clive a job which makes Steve Wigley feel under threat bare weeks after taking charge? With Steve given the title of 'head coach', and with speculation regarding ex-Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier taking the reins as director of football, there's certainly room for an experienced pro to come into the club alongside Wigley in the management team - but traditionally these roles have been filled by 'football people' who run the club day to day and let the head coach concentrate on team affairs.

Passion for the game aside, Sir Clive is by no means an experienced football man. Nor is he the sort of person who would be expected to be given immediate charge of the club finances and transfer budget, coming straight from a national management job in another sport. Admittedly, Houllier's transfer record at Liverpool makes Ed the duck seem a more attractive prospect than the dour Frenchman being given the reins and the key to the club's bank vault, but surely if Woodward is to be given a role it will - initially at least - be on the coaching side of the club rather than the administrative.

My bet would be for Woodward to take a consultancy/coaching role at the club, with Steve Wigley's departure/demotion being scheduled for the end of the season - if he makes it that far. Rupert Lowe has said that Woodward's contract with the RFU ends next year, and this would fit nicely into a plan to slot Woodward in under an experienced ex-pro such as Bobby Robson.

Interesting times indeed.