Ex-PNE striker’s key Cottagers’ role

PNE old boy Brian McBride is helping find Fulham a new boss
PNE old boy Brian McBride is helping find Fulham a new boss
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Former Preston striker Brian McBride is having a say over who should be Fulham’s next manager.

McBride is on a five-man ‘search committee’ who are to be consulted by Cottagers owner Shahid Khan as he looks for his fourth manager since buying the London club.

The others on the panel – which seems to be more X-Factor than Football League – are midfielder-turned-pundit Danny Murphy, ex-Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn, Fulham’s academy chief Huw Jennings and Nike director and Cottagers fan David Daly.

North End signed McBride on loan in the 2000/01 season from MLS side Columbus Crew.

Lilywhites boss of the time David Moyes added the United States international to a Deepdale forward line which was led by Steve Basham and Jon Macken.

At the time they were new to the First Division – now the Championship – and had lost the services of Brett Angell from the previous season.

McBride’s time with PNE was to be blighted by an injury which ended up threatening his life.

His debut came in a 1-1 home draw with Stockport and in that game he took a hefty knock to the chest.

While McBride played in the next two matches – at home to Coventry and in a 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough – the knock he got on his debut had caused a blood clot to form.

He needed major surgery to remove the clot and also had a rib taken out.

McBride’s return to the Preston side came three months later on December 30 against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane – David Healy made his debut that afternoon after a £1.8m switch from Manchester United.

McBride’s one goal in North End colours was in a 5-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers, Macken (2), Healy and Iain Anderson also on target.

He returned to Columbus Crew in February 2001 in readiness for their season.

PNE made a big-money bid for his services – reported at the time to be around the £1.5m mark – on a permanent basis, one which was rejected by the MLS.

McBride signed for Everton on loan in January 2003, Moyes having taken over there the previous year.

He scored four goals in eight games for the Toffees, then in 2004 joined Fulham.

In his four years at Craven Cottage, McBride became a big favourite, netting 40 goals.

The status he earned in that time led to his services being called upon to help choose the successor to Felix McGath.

Cottagers owner Khan said: “I’ve got the right five men to help us to find the right man for Fulham.

“They each bring something similar, and yet unique, to the search.

“They understand what we want to achieve and they are committed to the process.

“And they very much respect Fulham.

“They know this is a special job for a manager and they want to play a role in making sure that we get this right for everyone who plays for Fulham or loves the club.”

McBride, 42, currently coaches part-time at Chicago Fire – the club he finished his career with – and is also a television pundit.