Sven set for biggest football challenge

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has described his new job as director of football at England's oldest Football League club Notts County as his toughest test yet. "It's the biggest football challenge in my life," the 61-year-old Swede told a news conference in the Midlands city of Nottingham on Wednesday.

"I always said I wanted to come back to the Premier League because it's the best league in the world. I've chosen a difficult way to do it, it will take some years but I'm sure we will do it," he added.

"It's great to be here again. The weather is the same as usual," he joked as he was unveiled to the media.

League Two County confirmed late on Tuesday that Eriksson had joined the club on a five-year deal with immediate effect along with his former England assistant Tord Grip, who takes on the role of general adviser.

Eriksson will be responsible for all aspects of developing the club on the pitch, including training facilities, youth development and transfer negotiations.

"I haven't seen it yet but the club desperately needs a proper training ground," he said.

Club chairman Peter Trembling was quick to add how crucial improved facilities would be if County are to mount a challenge for honours, having won the FA Cup way back in 1894.

"We've missed out on some of the talents of this region for too many years now and part of Sven's role is to work with the current football staff in identifying the best talent," he said.


Eriksson was paid a huge salary as England manager from 2001 to 2006, the highlight of which was reaching the quarter-finals of two World Cups and one European Championship, but he said on Wednesday financial reasons were not a factor in joining County.

"I'm not here for the money, I am here for the challenge," he said, adding he will live in Nottingham.

"When my agent first asked me if I would be interested in Notts County I said I wasn't sure about that.

"But after listening to Peter and seeing the project I became interested and here I am."

The Swede's appointment underlines the ambition of County's new owners, the Middle East group Munto Finance, who in Eriksson have hired a man who won the league title with Lazio in 2000 before becoming England's first foreign national team coach.

County, formed in 1862 and founder members of the League in 1888, have not been in the top flight of English football since 1992. They finished a lowly 19th in League Two last season.

Despite their long history, the Meadow Lane club have lived in the shadow of more illustrious city neighbours Nottingham Forest, the former European Cup winners.

Eriksson returns to English club football after a season-long stint with Manchester City that began brightly but ended in 2008 with an 8-1 defeat against Middlesbrough.

Following his departure from City, Eriksson was named as Mexico coach but was sacked in April after a 3-1 defeat by Honduras in a World Cup qualifier.