The fiver | As a optimistic Magic 8 Ball that had too much Lucozade


What has Claude Puel made by Southampton? Apart from the eighth position in the Premier League (a position that got Mauricio Pochettino a job at Tottenham, after a season in the post), a trip to Wembley in the Cup final, Carling against Manchester United (after beating Arsenal and Liverpool before the competition), the wine, the willingness to speak English from the beginning, the patience and the courage to blood youngsters like Jack Stephens, Josh Sims, Sam McQueen, and Harrison Reed, the coaching ability to get the best of the more established professionals like Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond, Maya Yoshida, the cunning to make promising, relatively cheap signings such as Manolo Gabbiadini, Sofiane Boufal, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg? But apart from that, what has former Southampton manager Claude Puel made for them?

Claude Puel a victim of Southampton admirable unreasonable expectations | Paul Doyle

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If only he had been more remarkable. Oh Claude! Why not give us a little more brevity? Why not use any elaborate hats? At least a vest or grow a little facial hair, for Pete’s sake. Why not endear himself to the fans by going absolutely potty, jumping into the crowd – rolling the eyes injected of blood to the back of his head in ecstasy as a optimistic Magic 8 Ball that had a bit too much Lucozade – each time the Saints scored.

“Around the world in Southampton would like to express our gratitude to Claude for his hard work and dedication this year,” read in a timely manner bland statement. “The highlight of the season was a memorable day at Wembley in the [Milk] Cup final, a day in which our fans will always treasure. The search for a new management team. We are confident that we will find the right fit in line with the long-term vision of the club.”

Maybe the Saints board might have had more success and less trigger-happy, in case of not ratifying the sale of the club’s two best players, Sadio Mané and Victor Wanyama, last summer. Perhaps if he had not sent the captain, Jose Fonte, against West Ham in January, or if Virgil van Dijk not to get crocked this month, could have been a little more clean sheets. Just how Southampton are going to the review of Everton – a club that is almost, almost the double of Southampton’s record transfer, in a relegated keeper – never from the mind of one of Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal or Manchester United remains to be seen.

“We know that the top of the division, the players do not like the contact, not as if we were a waste of time, or if you want to play dirty. So that was the way to do it. The football is as well. Football is for the ready” – perhaps the Sport Pacific defender Federico Allende is not so smart, to boast in a radio chat on the use of a needle to injure opponents during the 3-2 Argentine cup upset in Students. “We’re devastated,” sobbed Pacific president, Héctor Moncada. “This incident has tarnished the team’s good work. I will expel him from the club.”

Fromageries, holograms, 360-degree videos – the future of the matchgoing experience, apparently. Oliver Wainwright is to see what is in store for our stadiums.

Jem (Karacan) and the Holograms? Photo: Village


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Ngurah Nanak, Yabes Roni and Miftahul Hamdi get their celebrations. Photo: Reuters

Plain Old John Terry could be on his way to the City of Birmingham. Could. “We’ve made him a good offer,” cheered ‘Arry Redknapp. “He played for me last week in Michael Carrick’s testimony. I had John in the back with Jamie Carragher and I would like that the two of them together all day.”

Nasty Leeds have named former Apoel boss Thomas Christiansen as their head coach.

England chief Gareth Southgate has offered a bleak assessment of his team. “I’m afraid that there is not a magic wand, but we are to recognize where we are short”, whooped.

The pope’s Newc O Rangers to the signature of Jack Ryan says he expected a backlash after his removal from Aberdeen. “I knew that there are that hate maybe, if you say, between Aberdeen and glasgow Rangers,” he sniffed. “But that never affected me a bit in my decision. Really does not interest me, to be honest.”

And again, Jiangsu Suning manager Fabio Capello has placed its hopes in the Chinese Super League. “When I received the Jiangsu province of the offering, its long-term plan caught my attention,” he trousered. “I’m here in the first place to raise our position in the Chinese Super League standings, and while both try to win something in the Chinese FA Cup.”

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Russia of the World Cup planning comes under the spotlight of the fifa Confederations Cup, which gets underway. Shaun Walker assesses the hopes, controversies and concerns in the host country.

Manchester United’s new recruit Victor Lindelof is a good old head on young shoulders, and Jacob Steinberg has some positive things to say about the defender signed from Benfica. Read here.

Your man. Photograph: John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

Southampton has a tendency to want the moon on a stick for their heads, and Claude Puel could not deliver for a club that have admirably unreasonable expectations, recognizes Paul Doyle.

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