Eastick is offered job as HK manager

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 October, 2011, 12:00am

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Brian Eastick has been offered the job of Hong Kong team manager, and will return to England today to consider his future after being given one week to decide.

The current manager of the England Under-20 team enjoyed brief exposure to Hong Kong soccer yesterday, acting as guest coach for First Division club Sapling - who comprise mainly Hong Kong Under-21 team members - at Kowloon Tsai Park.

Eastick, who came to Hong Kong this week for an interview for the top job, remained tight-lipped about his future, but a source at the Hong Kong Football Association confirmed he had been offered the job, which is worth over HK$2 million a year.

'I enjoyed the session and know more about Hong Kong soccer than four days ago,' said Eastick after a two-hour workout with the youngsters. He refused to comment when asked about his chance of becoming Hong Kong manager.

It is believed the 60-year-old's considerable experience in coaching at national level has convinced a selection panel headed by HKFA chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak to recommend him for the post.

Leung did not give any details regarding the appointment yesterday, insisting that the HKFA also had a number of other candidates on the list for consideration.

But the HKFA source said: 'We are waiting for his decision. This may be his last job and therefore he may need a bit of time to think about it. The association will only consider other people if Eastick turns it down.'

The HFKA is planning to offer a three-year contract to the new team manager, with an option for another three years. The financial resources will come from the government's Project Phoenix, a comprehensive plan to revive Hong Kong soccer.

The project will also give the HKFA financial assistance to recruit a chief executive officer dealing mainly with commercial matters.

Eastick has been coaching for more than 30 years, working at club level with teams such as Queens Park Rangers, Chelsea, Charlton Athletic and Sheffield United.

In 2005 he was appointed assistant to Don Givens as manager of the Republic of Ireland Under-21 team and later became a national coach with the FA and took responsibility for the England Under-18 side.

He stepped up to take charge of the Under-19s and led that team to the final of the 2009 European Championships, before taking over as head coach of the England Under-20 team in this summer's World Cup in Colombia and assisting Stuart Pearce with the Under-21s.

Sapling captain Tsang Chi-hau was full of praise for Eastick after the brief session. 'His style is very English soccer,' the fullback said. 'He told us to create space on one side and then make long balls for the forwards to chase for goals. Although he only trained with us for one brief session, you can tell he is a quality coach.'

Eastick will also watch tonight's Senior Shield first-round match between two leading sides, TSW Pegasus and Kitchee, before his return home, where he will assist Pearce in preparing for upcoming European Under-21 Football Championship qualifiers.