Ex-Newcastle United, Crystal Palace & Fulham striker eyes National League top job

Former Newcastle United flop Shefki Kuqi has thrown his hat in the ring for a vacant managerial post in the National League.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 7:45 am
Updated Thursday, 17th October 2019, 8:45 am
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: James Collins of Aston Villa and Shefki Kuqi of Newcastle United battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on April 10, 2011 Birmingham, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Kuqi, who was Andy Carroll’s shock free transfer replacement in 2011, has reportedly offered his services to AFC Fylde, who operate in the fifth tier of English football.

The 42-year-old has spent the last three years as a manager in his native Finland, but is keen to move back to England, where he spent ten years at the likes of Swansea City, Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town.

Speaking to our sister paper the Blackpool Gazette, Kuqi said: “I’m looking for a job in the UK.

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“I had a couple of years experience as a manager in Finland but I played most of my career in England, which is the next place where I want to coach.

“Obviously as a manager you always want the best and you want to manage at the highest level possible. But I understand the situation and there is a lot of competition in any league from the Championship downwards.

“I know a little bit about AFC Fylde. I know they have an ambitious owner and that’s what I’m looking for with my next job. I want somebody I can work alongside who wants to move forward and wants a higher position. That’s what interests me.”

Kuqi has earned himself a reputation in Finland for helping to stabilise clubs in the grip of financial troubles.

He started his management career by keeping FC Honka in the Premier League before winning the Championship play-offs with PK-25.

Kuqi, who was also capped 62 times by his country, would then join FC Inter Turku six months later, again defying the odds to keep them in the top flight before leaving in 2017.

He added: “In my time as a coach I’ve been quite successful.

“At the end of the day, whatever country you’re in you’re facing the same problems.

“I had a few interviews in England but last-minute things changed, which is understandable.

“I just have to keep believing in myself and hope the right opportunity comes.”

Dave Challinor was sacked at the weekend follow eight years in the post.