Magilton to decide on Oxford offer

JIM Magilton will today decide on an offer to become player-coach at Oxford United.But the EADT understands Magilton may not want to join the club while it is undergoing an upheaval off the pitch and will reject the offer.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton will today decide on an offer to become player-coach at Oxford United.

But the EADT understands Magilton may not want to join the club while it is undergoing an upheaval off the pitch and will reject the offer.

The Blues club captain was offered the chance to join the struggling League Two side under Jim Smith, who was being lined up to replace Brian Talbot, who was sacked on Tuesday afternoon amid the turmoil of political unrest at the Kassam Stadium.


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Although Jim Smith was left out in the cold after a boardroom battle, the Irishman is still wanted by Oxford, who have appointed youth team manager Darren Patterson, an apprentice when Magilton played at the old Manor Ground, as boss until the end of the 2006/7 season.

Blues boss Joe Royle last night confirmed that Oxford United wanted to take Magilton, whose contract with Ipswich runs out at the end of the season.

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Royle said: “Oxford have officially contacted us asking to sign Jim Magilton.

“I have told Oxford and Jim that it is entirely up to them what they decide. We owe Jim that and I will accept whatever he decides to do.”

Executive director Bill Smith, the man who sacked Talbot, the eighth manager to go under Firoz Kassam's chairmanship, is still keen for Magilton to join the club he served so loyally as a player under Brian Horton.

Magilton has so far remained silent about the approach but showed he was still committed to Ipswich Town yesterday by taking part in the club's Golf Day.

The power struggle at Oxford climaxed on Tuesday when businessman Nick Merry abandoned plans for a takeover when it became apparent that Kassam was not keen on selling.

Kassam, who moved United from their old ground to the new stadium, had agreed a sale but then added caveats, which were allegedly not acceptable to Merry.

With the talks breaking down Kassam's executives sacked Talbot and installed Patterson on a 15-month contract while offering fans' favourite Magilton the player-coach role. In doing so they out-manoeuvred Merry, who had planned to install Jim Smith and Magilton as the new management team.

Patterson took charge of the U's as caretaker manager for three games 18 months ago but last night's clash with Bristol Rovers was his first game as the full-time boss.

Oxford face a battle to stay in the Football League after a 44-year stay. They have not won a game since January 2.

Former Ipswich Town favourite Talbot's reign as manager saw him win just eight of 35 games.

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