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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 08:00 GMT 09:00 UK
What the papers say
Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Friday's morning papers.

Amid the welter of reaction to Thursday's public appearances by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the News Letter carries the front page headline: "Please stay".

However, the appeal is not to the prime minister but to Lawrie Sanchez.

In a leader, the paper doesn't elaborate on whatever the problems are between the Northern Ireland manager and the IFA, but it urges the football officials to do everything in their power to overcome them.

But whether they succeed or fail, it says "the Sanchez who humbled the mighty Spain has given us some incredible memories".

The Mirror says it's time for Mr Sanchez to let us know exactly what's going on.

And the Belfast Telegraph calls it all "a messy situation".

It carries a column by David Healy in which he urges his boss not to give up his job.

But a story on the back page reckons there's no way back. It says Sanchez "is now preparing for life after Northern Ireland".

Elsewhere the feverish political events of the past few days are analysed and dissected in great detail.

The Daily Telegraph has a cartoon in which 2007 diaries are on sale - but with no specific dates in them.

The paper's headline talks of Mr Blair "clinging to the wreckage" and says his enemies on the back benches are in a "smug mood".

There's no need to finish him off. The damage is done
Labour backbencher

One is quoted as saying: "There's no need to finish him off. The damage is done."

The Guardian writes of a "sullen and potentially unstable truce" between Messrs Blair and Brown.

And the Times says the two men have to show that there's "some chemistry between them which isn't highly explosive".

The Sun hopes they can work together and it sticks to its forecast that Mr Blair will quit at the end of May.

And after that? The Independent's political editor wonders what exactly the "inscrutable" Gordon Brown would do if he became prime minister.

"It's the biggest unknown in British politics," he says.

But the Guardian says his advisors are looking at all sorts of areas - like Iraq, law and order and climate change - and it predicts big surprises.

The Dublin papers are taken up with a rather more imminent departure - the shock resignation of Mary Harney as leader of the Progressive Democrats.

So what does all this mean for the government coalition?

According to the Irish Times, the party's trying very hard to find one single candidate to replace her.

And the Irish Independent says they've "been warned by Bertie Ahern that he'll look elsewhere if they don't stick to the coalition agreement and see out the full term of government to midsummer next year".


The Irish News has been talking to the family of Megan McAlorum whose body was found on a hillside in west Belfast two years ago.

A 19-year-old Belfast man was convicted of her murder in May.

The paper reports that the family have decided to release the graphic autopsy details of how Megan died.

They hope that the clinical account of the massive injuries she suffered will put pressure on the authorities to keep her killer behind bars for life.

The Daily Express reports that Remembrance Day parades have become the target of what it calls "health and safety killjoys".

It says many ceremonies may have to be cancelled because organisers are being told they have to carry out risk assessments, buy insurance and organise stewards in fluorescent jackets.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph has a story about the new head teacher of a school in Cheltenham.

His name is Shaun Fenton and what makes him unusual is that he's the son of Alvin Stardust.

In fact his sister's godfather is Cliff Richard.

Mr Fenton gives his philosophy for the school: "I'm a bit old fashioned, he says. I want the pupils to have good manners, be well dressed and go out into the world and make it a better place."

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