Terry Butcher, the frontrunner in the race
to take on the head coach’s job at Sydney FC, is in Sydney this week
for some palm-pressing, perhaps a spot of house-hunting, and definitely some
hard-nosed negotiations about taking on the inaugural A-League premiers.

“We have had advanced talks with
Terry and at this point in time we are happy to proceed to the next level, so
he will come out to Sydney this week,” Sydney FC chairman Walter Bugno said yesterday.

Sydney FC CEO Tim Parker has not hidden his confidence that
Butcher will sign on the dotted line very soon.

“I don’t think Terry and his wife would be making
the trip down here just for a holiday. There’s a good chance he’ll be the next
manager of Sydney,” he told BBC Scotland somewhat presumptuously.

But if Butcher
thought leaving Motherwell was going to be easy, he should think again. With
news of this week’s fact-finding mission to Sydney splashed across papers
throughout the UK, Motherwell chairman John Boyle has mounted a public case for
Butcher to stay.

“Motherwell plead with Butcher to turn his back on Sydney
chance,” reads one headline.
“Everyone at the club — the directors, staff, players and the fans want Terry
to stay and we hope that is what he decides,” Boyle says in the article. “Terry
is hugely popular at Fir Park
and has proved to be an excellent manager – so it’s no surprise that we would
like him to stay.”

Butcher’s impressive performance at Motherwell is
what underpins Boyle’s desire to keep him. When he arrived four years ago the
club was facing bankruptcy, but the former England captain saw them through the tough times and had them in
last year’s Scottish League Cup final. Given he stands to quadruple his
salary by joining Sydney FC, there’s a growing acceptance that the decision is not going to go
Motherwell’s way, despite Boyle’s protestations.

“There is no news on when
a decision will be made,” the club website says,
“so at the moment all we can do is hope Terry is put off by the warm climate
and better salary.”