City target Hughes after Sven sacking

Last updated : 02 June 2008 By Ben Collins

Of course, the decision wasn't mutual - Eriksson was forced out by clueless City owner Thaksin Shinawatra - but at least the popular Blues boss is no longer in limbo.

It was painful seeing pictures of him in Thailand and Hong Kong over the last couple of weeks, when he had been forced to lead an inexperienced City side on the post-season Asian tour.

Every time he was put in front of the cameras and the press it was clear he didn't want to be there and knew his days were numbers. Given his sterling service to the club in his one year in charge, he deserved better.

I think most City fans were hoping the news we had been awarded a place in next season's UEFA Cup might result in a change of heart by Shinawatra and that Sven would remain in charge next season.

But it now seems Shinawatra was merely delaying the inevitable until a convenient time to break the news.

While Eriksson is now in Mexico for talks about becoming their new national team coach, City begin their search for Sven's successor.

Jose Mourinho is obviously out of the equation after returning to management as Inter Milan coach but the Blues have been granted permission to speak to Blackburn boss Mark Hughes.

The former United and Chelsea striker has already been linked with the vacant Chelsea job having led Blackburn into Europe twice in three-and-a-half years at Ewood Park and is ready for a new challenge.

"Mark has made it clear to the board he would like the opportunity to talk to Manchester City," read a Blackburn statement.

"In view of this, the board have decided reluctantly to give permission subject to terms and conditions acceptable to Blackburn Rovers being agreed with Manchester City in advance."

One wonders what our friends over at Old Trafford make of that given Hughes is seemingly in their sights to replace Fergie when he finally decides to retire.

With Hughes in demand, Blackburn can probably name their price, leaving City well out of pocket on top of Eriksson's pay-off, to which he's fully justified I might add.

But that's the price Shinawatra has to pay if he wants to axe our most successful coach in decades. The phrase, 'if it ain't broken' comes to mind!

Still, the fact City are targeting an up-and-coming British manager rather than some high-profile foreign coach just beause of his name is a more positive sign for the future of the club.

Hughes will be doing well to achieve the same success as quickly as Sven, but should he deliver, I'd soon forget he's a United legend.