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By ESPN Staff
Nov 21, 2007

Lippi the latest to turn down Birmingham job

Italy's World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi has rejected the chance to replace Steve Bruce as manager of Birmingham City.

Blues co-owner David Sullivan confirmed Blues had spoken with Lippi who enjoyed great success at club level with Juventus before leading Italy to football's ultimate prize in 2006.

Sullivan has been true to his word after claiming City would attempt to bring in 'a top foreign coach' and not many have greater credentials than Lippi who is currently taking a break from the game.

Sullivan told the Birmingham Mail: 'We made an approach and Lippi turned it down. This is not a stunt. It's genuine.

'He is available at the moment and we are looking at bringing in a manager of his stature and calibre, if at all possible. He was one of the first we went to but unfortunately nothing materialised.

'Of course, you get knock-backs. That's football. But if you do not try you will never know. It was the same with Martin Jol. It made sense for us to approach him.

'We are juggling other balls in the air at the moment and we will see which ones land. I want to stress to our supporters that we are working very, very hard to bring in the right man.

'Until you get to meet them and speak to them, you can never be quite sure. But it won't be for a lack of trying, believe me. We are determined to find a manager who would create a bit of a stir and excite people.'

Sullivan is determined to bring in a new manager within the next 10 days with Bruce's number two Eric Black acting as caretaker for Saturday's game with Portsmouth.

And he also admitted that Black 'had a chance' of becoming Bruce's successor.

Sullivan said: 'We will resolve the issue of a new manager within 10 days. Eric Black has taken temporary charge and that might only be for one game.

'The agreement is that he will stay up to three weeks if necessary as we can't have the club ripped apart by Steve taking everyone with him.

'It is a very difficult situation for Eric. We understand he has a massive allegiance to Steve and we also respect that he is staying behind and will do a professional job for us.

'Has he got a chance of becoming manager? Yes, he has. We will just have to wait and see what develops.'