Former England and Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson joined English Division Two club Notts County as director of soccer, the club confirmed yesterday.
The League Two (fourth division) club said the 61-year-old Swede would be joined by his long-term assistant Tord Grip, who will assume the role of general adviser.
The world’s oldest professional soccer club were recently taken over by a Middle Eastern consortium and had been in talks with Eriksson about taking up a senior position with the club.
He will look after the club’s youth academy as well as player development, transfer negotiations and building overseas links.
The Munto Finance Ltd group, reportedly backed by Dubai tycoon Abdullah Bin Saeed al Thani, made Eriksson their top target after being turned down by Glenn Hoddle.
Eriksson was approached last week and is believed to have agreed a contract worth around £2 million (US$3.3 million) a year after discussions with new County chairman Peter Trembling on Tuesday.
County’s current manager Ian McParland will remain in charge of coaching the team for the moment, but former England midfielder David Platt, who played under Eriksson at Sampdoria, has already been linked with the role.
County, founded in 1862, had an average gate of just 4,445 last season. They spent 534 days in administration between 2002 and 2003 and finished 19th in League Two last term.
But the club’s new owners hope Eriksson can take them up two divisions into the Championship within five years.
Eriksson has worked with some of world soccer’s biggest names, including David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, but now he will have to get the best out of less famous players like Graeme Lee, Ben Davies and Luke Rodgers.
His last match in English soccer was Manchester City’s 8-1 defeat at Middlesbrough in May last year and he will return to competitive action in England for County’s opening League Two match at home to Bradford on Aug. 8.
The appointment of Eriksson comes as a major surprise as the Swede has been one of the leading managers in soccer over the last two decades.
After achieving the league and cup double in Sweden, Portugal and Italy, he left Lazio to become England’s first foreign manager.
Quarter-final exits in the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 followed, and he had already announced his departure before England’s disappointing 2006 World Cup campaign again ended in the last eight.
His single season as Manchester City manager, 2007-2008, should be seen as a success given a top half of the table finish.