Eric Black

Eric Black was most recently the assistant manager for Southampton under manager Claude Puel.

Previously, he had been handed the manager's job at Coventry City on a permanent basis until the end of the 2004/05 season on January 15th 2004 having been in temporary charge of team affairs following Gary McAllister's request to be released from his managerial duties on December 11th.

McAllister officially resigned from his post in January to spend more time with his wife, who had been taken seriously ill.

Sky Blues chairman Mike McGinnity told the club's official website: "Although we had a number of applications for the post, it was clear from day one Eric was our first and only choice and we're delighted he has accepted our offer.

"We have no doubt Eric has all the right credentials to be an excellent manager for Coventry. He is a top coach and a thoroughly professional individual, who has already helped to achieve a tremendous amount here. We look forward to continuing our work with him."

The club turned to Black to help them through a difficult period of financial uncertainty, and with assistant boss Gary Mills having left Highfield Road to become the new manager at Notts County shortly before McAllister's departure, Archie Knox had already been brought in to help the man who has now been handed the manager's job full time.

Eric certainly knows the former Rangers, Manchester United and Everton coach well from his days working under Knox and Alex Ferguson at Aberdeen in the 1980s, where the Scottish striker helped the Dons to two league titles, four Scottish Cups, a League Cup and Cup Winners Cup.

Having also gained coaching and managerial experience north of the border, as assistant manager at Celtic and as Motherwell's boss for a short time, he described his delight at being offered the Sky Blues managerial job and expressed his intention to carry on the good work achieved by Gary McAllister, who, he said, would still be in charge in an ideal world.

"I'm absolutely delighted, what with the history of the Club and with the illustrious characters in whose footsteps I am following," Black said.

"I've always wanted to manage. I would very much like it if Gary was still here. However his decision to resign is one we all fully respect and understand. The Football Club has to go on. I am delighted to have been given this opportunity and I don't want to let it pass me by."

Having already taken charge of training while McAllister took care of other player-manager responsibilities, Black inherited a great deal of knowledge during his time as a coach at Coventry and feels it will stand him in good stead to take the club forward.

"All I can say is that having been here for the last 18 months it has given me a better grounding of what English football is all about, especially in this division. Hopefully those 18 months will have put me in good stead to take the club forward," he stated.

"I'm a great believer that you learn an awful lot more in adversity than you do in success. I think during my time at Motherwell it was very tight financially, at Celtic things didn't go as well as we had planned at times either so I was learning all the time."

As for the situation at Highfield Road, he added: "There are not many businesses which could have grown like Coventry City has while reducing the wage bill and income by 75%. The Chairman and the Board have done a tremendous job but we now need to kick on and grow the Club again. We are now in a position where we can start to look forward.

"I've accumulated a certain amount of experience here. I've got somebody in who has got as much experience as anybody else in the game in Archie Knox. Everybody has got an enormous amount of respect for him and I am sure we will be a good team.

"I'm happy to relinquish some of the coaching to Archie now, which might freshen things up slightly with another voice and new ideas. I'm delighted he has come along and I won't have any problem with letting Archie take sessions and let him do the things that he does."

Unfortunately, by the start of May 2004, both Black and Knox had been dismissed after Coventry missed out on the play-offs despite a decent return of 40 points from 26 games.

McGinnity said: "We feel inconsistency has been a major issue for the team over recent months and that we need a new face to drive the club forward, particularly considering our move to a new stadium in August 2005.

"However, we would like to thank Eric, Archie and Alan for the contribution they have made to Coventry City and wish them all the best for the future."

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