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Posts Tagged ‘Stoke City’

Managerial merry-go-round: who’s going where?

Tony Pulis’s departure from Stoke City has created another Premier League vacancy alongside those at Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton and the media juggernaut of speculation has already linked several names with the vacant posts. Whilst it seems fairly certain that Jose Mourinho will be leaving Real Madrid to return to Stamford Bridge – he’s already announced his departure from the Bernabeu and Rafael Benitez has finished his interim spell in charge of the Blues – and that the new man in charge at the Etihad Stadium will be Manuel Pellegrini of Malaga, it is much less clear who will be taking over at Goodison Park and the Britannia Stadium.

Mark Hughes is currently the bookies favourite for the Stoke job and would represent a continuation of sorts as he is seen as having a similar management and playing style to the outgoing Pulis, but Stoke fans would justifiably be worried by his recent managerial record. Others reportedly in the running are Roberto di Matteo, who won the Champions League with Chelsea this time last year, and Gustavo Poyet, who might yet leave Brighton having failed in the Championship Play-off semi finals. Roberto Martinez of Wigan is another in contention, but he is likely to aim for a bigger club and Rafael Benitez, who still lives in the north west, is a possibility, but he may also feel that his CV warrants a higher profile job. Martin O’Neill is another name that has been mentioned more and more frequently in connection with the Stoke vacancy.

Everton have been looking for a replacement for David Moyes for a couple of weeks now and the early favourite was Roberto Martinez, but his win ratio of under 30% would be a major concern for Everton fans worried about the direction their club could head in the post-Moyes era. Yes, he has just won the FA Cup, but Wigan only had to beat two other Premier League teams to do that and, although his teams do have a pleasing playing style, his Premier League record is poor and Wigan deserved to go down this season so he would be a high-risk option for a club like Everton. Vitor Periera, manager of newly crowned Portuguese champions FC Porto has seen his odds shorten in the last few days as speculation mounts that he could be the man for the job and Neil Lennon of Celtic has also been linked with the post, as has Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Norwegian club Molde. An interesting internal option could be handing a managerial debut to Phil Neville, who quit playing for the Toffees at the end of this season and is keen to pursue a managerial career one day. Michael Laudrup and Malky Mackay have also been mentioned in connection with the role.

Exclusive: Sir Geoff Hurst on Dennis Smith and Shawcross

A couple of days ago Aboutaball had the opportunity to meet-up with Sir Geoff Hurst for a chat;you can hear the full podcast here Geoff Hurst Interview podcast. We couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to a Football legend who is still heavily involved in the English game to get his take on World Cup’s past, present and future. In the final post we discuss Stoke, Dennis Smith and Ryan Shawcross.

Geoff played for Stoke from 1972-75, the questions here where posed by Barry Moult.

Dennis Smith played over 400 times for Stoke, scoring 49 goals, he is a true club legend. Should he have played for England?

” I saw Saw him yesterday, my Dennis, if I’m honest not quite. We joked about the amount of times he kicked me he’s surprised I’m still walking! In terms of his attitude he was absolutely amazing, he broke almost every bone in his body. He was a tough uncompromising player, but I’m not sure whether he was mobile enough to play at the top level.”

It’s clear Geoff and Dennis are still good friends and he sounds like the kind of player that’s pretty rare in the modern game.

On the subject of broken legs I asked him about Ryan Shawcross, is he good enough? Does he deserve another chance?

“Yes, why not, we’re looking for players with that kind of character. He’s on the radar. But he’s in a queue, although most of the other have had injury problem’s he’ll have to wait his chance.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy set to snub Premier League for a switch to Hamburg

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is set to reject a return to the Premier League and instead join Bundesliga side Hamburg on a free transfer. The 33 year-old Dutchman has been linked with moves to West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City, but now it appears he is set to move to Germany despite some big-money offers from the English clubs.

van Nistelrooy has failed to win back a place in the Real Madrid side following lengthy injury lay-offs during the last 18 months. The Spanish club have allowed him a free transfer in order for him to be able to try and push for a place in the Dutch national squad for the forthcoming World Cup this summer after reversing his decision to retire from the international scene after Euro 2008.

The star striker has not been short of offers since becoming available, with half the top flight clubs around Europe vying for his signature. And that’s hardly surprising given his goalscoring record. During his club career, his has amassed 326 goals from 514 appearances and has scored 33 times from 64 appearances for the Netherlands.

Despite receiving better financial offers from elsewhere, including a reported offer of £100,000 a week from West Ham United’s new owners, van Nistelrooy is about to put pen to paper on a transfer to Hamburg.

Spanish sports daily Marca, believe that the main reason behind van Nistelrooy’s decision to snub the Premier League is that he doesn’t believe he is at the same physical level as he was when he was at Manchester United. The less physical demands of the Bundesliga may suit him much better.

A deal between the two clubs is believed to have been concluded and van Nistelrooy will travel to Germany over the weekend to finalise personal terms and complete a medical before signing for the Rothosen.

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