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Oct 31, 2012

Berg set to be named Blackburn boss

Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh is awaiting approval from Indian owners Venky's on the appointment of Henning Berg.

Berg was interviewed and has agreed to the deal in principle to return to Ewood Park and manage the club where he won the first of his three Premier League titles back in 1995.

But the appointment is set to come after an abortive and contentious move for Harry Redknapp in the last 24 hours in the long-winded process of finding Steve Kean's successor.

ESPN sources have been told that Redknapp's agent Paul Stretford held talks with Singh when the former Spurs boss became agitated that he was being publicly declared a candidate and that he was up for interview.

Redknapp was concerned that, if he was wanted, he should be offered the job, not interviewed for it. In addition, Blackburn was not high on his list of clubs for his next move into management, and the club couldn't afford his services.

Redknapp told ESPN that he was playing golf in Dorset when it was disclosed that he was wanted for an interview with Blackburn. After telling ESPN that he would rather be on the course than be interviewed for the role, Redknapp went on television to emphasise the point that they were not the club for him.

The ESPN source said: "Harry Redknapp's representative made contact with Blackburn, and by all accounts the conversation didn't go well."

The source added: "Blackburn have now finally made up their minds and the appointment, though, needs to be approved by Venky's."

Rovers supporters have already expressed their doubts about the credentials of Berg, who has had two unsuccessful spells as a coach with Norwegian clubs Lyn Oslo and Lillestrom.

The fans that campaigned for Kean's removal have been dismayed at the club's moves for untried managers such as Tottenham coach Tim Sherwood and Fulham assistant Billy McKinlay.

The recruitment process took another unexpected turn when Rovers were linked with a move for former Argentina coach Diego Maradona. While the ESPN source has questioned the validity of that story, it appears that Singh did talk to Maradona's advisors, if only to gauge his interest.

Former Queens Park Rangers manager Paulo Sousa, currently at Hungarian club Videoton, and Southampton boss Nigel Adkins have been mentioned as stand-by candidates in the event of the move for Berg falling through.

But it will be the list of managers who either turned down Blackburn or were mentioned in dispatches, rather than the man who is eventually appointed, which will linger long in the memory.

Bernt Schuster, Giovanni Trapattoni, Mick McCarthy, Gianfranco Zola, Alan Shearer, Jurgen Klinsman and Maradona were all reported as targets following Kean's departure, while Redknapp, Sherwood, Glenn Hoddle and Molde's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were among those who turned them down flat.

Former Blackburn midfielder Garry Flitcroft was also being considered. Raddy Antic and Javier Clemente both applied. Sven-Goran Eriksson was named as a candidate, as were former Barcelona and Chelsea full-back Albert Ferrer and ex-Lazio coach David Ballardini.

Some of those names applied, some were sounded out through third parties, while others were beyond the possibility of ever joining Blackburn.

At least Berg has Blackburn connections, having had two spells as a player from 1993-97 and 2000-03, before returning to his homeland to begin his coaching career.

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