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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
The Scolari saga
By Simon Austin

David Dein and Luiz Felipe Scolari
Dein was pivotal in the selection of Scolari
Luiz Felipe Scolari may have ruled himself out of the England job, but how did he become prime contender in the first place?

The shock announcement marks the latest chapter in an ever-changing story.

When the Football Association announced on 24 January that coach Sven-Goran Eriksson would be stepping down after the World Cup, Sam Allardyce was the early favourite to replace him, with Alan Curbishley, Steve McClaren and Martin O'Neill close behind.

Scolari was a 20-1 outsider.

The Brazilian's odds slipped even further on 9 February, when Premier League chairman Dave Richards, one member of the three-man selection panel, announced: "It's time for a British manager."

Yet on 27 April, FA chief executive Brian Barwick was in Lisbon trying to persuade Scolari to become England's new manager.

So what happened in between?

The major factor seems to be a change in the composition of the selection panel.

On 2 February, Richards, Barwick and Noel White, head of the FA's international committee, were chosen to find the new manager, with Trevor Brooking, the FA's director of football development, acting as an advisor.

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein was notable by his absence. After all, the FA director had been instrumental in securing Eriksson's services in 2000.

The reason for the omission was not entirely clear.

Harry Harris, chief football writer for the Express newspaper, says the FA board wanted to consider Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for the England job and thought there could be a conflict of interests if Dein were involved in the selection process.

Express chief football writer Harry Harris
McClaren was not anyone's first choice - he was their compromise choice
Harry Harris
Express chief football writer

And there have been suggestions that Dein's influence at the FA had waned after he reportedly drove through Eriksson's contract extension and 4m salary.

Whatever the reasons, Dein had been added to the selection panel by the time the FA board met on 27 February.

Harris says Dein convinced the board Wenger had given undertakings he would not take the England job.

Former England manager Graham Taylor questioned Dein's right to be on the panel in an interview with BBC Sport.

"Could he be objective if asked about the credentials of his current club manager?" asked Taylor.

"Now, maybe it is that Dein has asked Wenger and he doesn't want to do it. But if that's the case, why not say so publicly?"

Dein's preferred choice as England manager is believed to have always been Scolari.

The duo had had dealings "two or three years ago", in Dein's capacity as Arsenal vice-chairman, according to Scolari.

And earlier this week the Brazilian told BBC Sport, "he is my friend only".

Yet Dein was still out-numbered by the members on the panel who wanted a British manager.

Richards was outspoken in this desire and White and Brooking are believed to have agreed that England should not have another foreign manager.

Yet Richards was seriously undermined during the period of the selection process.

Barwick was reportedly infuriated when Richards told the media he wanted a British boss.

And the former Sheffield Wednesday chairman was forced to write to FA chairman Geoff Thompson denying Sunday newspaper allegations.

On 16 April, the Sunday Times newspaper reported that Middlesbrough were so sure McClaren would become England's new manager that they were looking for his successor.

Harris admits that at this stage McClaren was "nailed on" for the job.

But on 21 April, he exclusively reported that the selection panel had decided Scolari should be Eriksson's successor.

"Dein convinced the other members of the panel that they could not compromise," Harris told BBC Sport.

Brian Barwick
Barwick travelled to Lisbon to woo Scolari

"McClaren was not anyone's first choice - he was their compromise choice.

"Barwick wanted O'Neill, Brooking wanted Curbishley, Richards favoured Allardyce, White's first choice was Pearce and Dein wanted Scolari.

"At this point Barwick agreed he would go for Scolari if he was the best man for the job and the tide had turned."

On 24 April, Harris revealed that Scolari was set to become the first Brazilian coach in English football.

Barwick travelled to Lisbon on 27 April to begin negotiations with the Portugal coach and the rest of the selection panel updated the FA board.

The FA is currently conducting an investigation to try to find out how Harris got his scoop.

"No-one will ever find out how I got the story, because only I and the Express sports editor know," Harris said.

And now fresh questions will be asked as the saga continues.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: Confusion surrounds Scolari refusal


Interview: Portugese FA chief Dr Gilberto Madail



SEE ALSO
England job not for me - Scolari
28 Apr 06 |  Internationals
FA offers England job to Scolari
26 Apr 06 |  Internationals
FA trio to find next England boss
02 Feb 06 |  Internationals
England 'set for British manager'
10 Feb 06 |  Internationals
FA to begin hunt for England boss
24 Jan 06 |  Football
Eriksson to quit after World Cup
23 Jan 06 |  Football


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