Sven-Goran Eriksson among names bidding to replace Merrick at Newcastle

Former Premier League boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has put his name forward for the vacant Newcastle Jets role following Ernie Merrick's dismissal on Monday.

Newcastle chief executive Lawrie McKinna confirmed Eriksson, who managed Manchester City and Leicester City in England's top division, and guided England at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, is among the candidates who have expressed their interest in taking the reins at the struggling Hunter Valley outfit. 

Eriksson, 71, was most recently coach of the Philippines national team following tenures in China with Guangzhou R&F, Shanghai SIPG and Shenzhen.

McKinna revealed applications to succeed the Scotsman came flooding in as early as during the second half of Newcastle's heavy 4-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory on Sunday, Merrick's final match in charge of the side he took to the Hyundai A-League Grand Final in 2017/18.

"After the third goal on Sunday night we had six CVs come through which I think is quite rude," McKinna said.

"We've been looking all over. Today and yesterday the emails started to come through, phone calls started to come through.

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Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson, pictured here with Wayne Rooney, guided England to two FIFA World Cups (2002, 2006)

"There's a lot of interest out there for any A-League job and some of the names...I got one of the ex-English manager, I got Sven-Goran Eriksson's CV get sent through yesterday.

"So there's going to be interest from all over but there's no defined [coach] - we want somebody who can come in and fit into the Newcastle culture and get results."

McKinna did not reveal the names of other potential candidates but denied Socceroos great Harry Kewell had expressed interest when asked by a journalist in Tuesday's media conference.

Kewell has been out of work following his sacking from League Two club Notts County in November 2018.

McKinna said the club would start interviewing potential candidates from next week and it is desired that Newcastle have the new man installed for January 24's meeting with high-flying Wellington Phoenix. 

In the interim, Westfield W-League coach Craig Deans and Hyundai A-League assistant coach Quiang Li have will be in charge for Friday's clash with Sydney FC, while McKinna also said Daniel McBreen, who holds a community officer role in Jets HQ and coaches the club's youth side, 'would be around' to assist.

Ernie Merrick
Ernie Merrick was fired by Newcastle on Monday after a horror run of form

When it came to deciding Merrick's fate, McKinna admitted that it was him who pulled the trigger, with Jets chairman Martin Lee giving his seal of approval.

Ultimately, the decision stemmed from belief that Newcastle are still in with a chance of making the Finals Series this season and, moreover, that competing for a spot in the top six is the bare minimum requirement for the Jets.

"We know the Newcastle public want to be in the finals," McKinna said.

"I was reminded that two years ago we were in the Grand Final, and then we finished eighth out of 10 last year. 

"This year we're bottom of the league halfway through.

"It's not easy to tell your mate that he hasn't got a job anymore. But it was a decision I thought was for the betterment of the club moving forward."

Merrick, 66, is the Hyundai A-League's longest serving manager and joined the club at the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign.

He endured a tough start to the campaign with injury misfortune robbing him of ex-Norwich City star Wes Hoolahan with a serious ankle ligament injury, while in recent weeks Panamanian international striker Abdiel Arroyo and defensive leader Nigel Boogaard have been key absentees.

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However, a horror run of form in December, including heavy losses to Melbourne City (4-0), Perth Glory (6-2) and Sunday's 4-0 defeat at the hands of Victory proved fatal.

Following Newcastle's collapse to Victory, Merrick felt he had been left with a 'budget squad', hampered by those key injuries, and the departure of Joey Champness to chase a rapping career in pre-season.

McKinna refused such suggestions and indicated the next Jets coach would be given funds to bring in 'a player or two younger players' in the January transfer window.

“There’s been money there available all pre-season. Since Joe Champness left and Wes Hoolahan got injured, there’s been money available, and players have been offered to Ernie to sign.

“And he didn’t want them," McKinna said.

Lawrie McKinna; Ernie Merrick
'It's not easy to tell your mate that he hasn't got a job anymore'
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