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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 18:12 GMT
Sauzee is popular choice
Sauzee poses with some fans at Easter Road
Franck Sauzee is adored by the Hibernian supporters
If Franck Sauzee brings the same qualities to management that he had as a player, then Hibs are on to a good thing argues BBC Sport Online's Colin Moffat.

The appointment of Franck Sauzee as the new manager of Hibernian may be something of a gamble, given the Frenchman's lack of coaching experience, but the decision is sure to be a popular one with the Easter Road fans.

Stunned at the rapid departure of former manager Alex McLeish to Ibrox, the hearts of Hibees will be gladdened by Friday's news.

36-year-old Sauzee arrived in Edinburgh in 1999 at the twilight of a glittering career and his influence and passion for football have already had a huge bearing at Hibernian.

Made club captain by McLeish, Sauzee was a key member of the team that finished third in the SPL and reached the Scottish Cup final last season.

A move from midfield to a sweeper's role, helped to accommodate Sauzee's ageing legs and added a new steel to the defence, while his reading of the game coupled with a dazzling range of passing and expertise from set-pieces helped Hibs reach heights they hadn't experienced since the early 1970s.

While his skills with the ball had fans purring with delight, it is his obvious desire to win and the relish with which he undertook his captain's duties that have ensured him of a place in the Hibs hall of fame.

Sauzee's influence on his team-mates was illustrated last season when a dramatic slump in form coincided with his absence through injury and Hibs have again struggled without him in their ranks so far this term.

Capped 39-times for France, Sauzee can boast an incredible C.V, including a 1993 Champions League winners medal with Marseille and three French championship wins with the same club.

He began his career as a teenager with Sochaux and has also turned out for Monaco, Strasbourg and Montpellier, while injury cut short a stint in Serie A with Atalanta.

Donald Park was in charge at Ibrox
Donald Park was in charge at Ibrox
Donald Park will make up the new management team at Easter Road and, if the results go Hibs way, then he may be forgiven for being a former Hearts player.

Park has been working on youth development with the club and is one of the most respected coaches in the country.

And, while he is unlikely to ever stop being reminded that he was part of the Hearts side that were famously demolished 7-0 at Tynecastle in the 1972 Edinburgh derby, he has already overseen the advancement made by Kenny Miller, Tom McManus, Ian Murray and Garry O'Connor.

Park, who elected to stay at Easter Road when offered the post of assistant at Dunfermline two years ago, was in charge of the first team at Ibrox on Wednesday.

He emerged with credit after a battling 1-1 draw, but was quick to say he wasn't after the job.

Hibs fans will be hoping Park can emerge as a reluctant hero and that their love affair with Sauzee continues to blossom.

With Sauzee announcing his retirement from playing, the first task is to find or sculpt a player who can fill the recently hung-up boots of the classy Frenchman.

BBC Scotland's Chick Young
"Hibs have made the only appointment they could have made"
New Hibernian manager Frank Sauzee
"I will do my best for Hibernian"
See also:

13 Dec 01 |  Hibernian
Hibs to form shortlist
12 Dec 01 |  Hibernian
Rangers held by Hibs
12 Dec 01 |  Hibernian
Sauzee is Hibs favourite
11 Dec 01 |  Rangers
Rangers unveil McLeish
12 Dec 01 |  Football
McLeish's rise to power
11 Dec 01 |  Scotland
Alex McLeish Factfile
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