Fulham ready to bounce back after learning from last season’s mistakes | Dominic Fifield


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The chaotic recruitment policy pursued before their brief return to the Premier League has been replaced by sensible planning, headed by their manager, Scott ParkerIt was as the conversation ticked inexorably towards the hour that Tony Khan issued the closest thing yet to a rallying cry. The Fulham vice-chairman and director of football operations had been talking with the excellent podcast Fulhamish late last month, addressing the issues which had contributed to a traumatic one‑season stay in the top flight and the sense of anticlimax which had accompanied the club’s slump back into the second tier.

For all his enthusiasm for social media, the audience felt rare, even bold given the club’s lack of activity up to then in the transfer market. Yet, with additions and a key contract renewal pending, Khan’s outlook had been bullishly optimistic for the campaign ahead.

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Phillip Cocu hoping to use web of contacts to attract loan stars to Derby


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• ‘Derby has good relations with a lot of teams,’ says new manager
• Loanees helped club reach Championship play-off final in 2019

Phillip Cocu has said he will not hesitate to call on his wealth of contacts as Derby County look to utilise the loan market that propelled them to last season’s Championship play-off final. The Dutchman, who was unveiled as Frank Lampard’s successor as manager on Friday, acknowledged that relationships with elite clubs could prove pivotal if Derby are to achieve his target of a top-six finish in his first season in England.

Cocu, who has a four-year contract, declined to discuss individual targets but said it would be “difficult” for the club to re-sign Fikayo Tomori or Harry Wilson, though Derby are understood to have made their admiration for the latter clear to Liverpool should the Welshman be made available for loan. Mason Mount, who also Continue reading “Phillip Cocu hoping to use web of contacts to attract loan stars to Derby”

‘They needed the money’: Pontus Jansson explains Leeds exit


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  • Defender has joined Brentford on three-year contract
  • Jansson says language affected relationship with Bielsa

Pontus Jansson has said he was sold to Brentford because Leeds “saw they could make some money” and hinted that his relationship with Marcelo Bielsa was not optimal because of language issues.

The defender joined Brentford late on Monday on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. His performances last season earned him a place in the Championship team of the year and his campaign was notable also for attempts to ignore Bielsa’s call for Leeds to allow Aston Villa to equalise against them.

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Goodbye to the Miracle Man: how Martin O’Neill’s Forest reign crumbled | Daniel Taylor


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Martin O’Neill’s Nottingham Forest exit was down to his poor relationship with key players, and, in some cases, a loss of respect and disciplineIf there is one story that sums up Martin O’Neill’s inability to win over his players at Nottingham Forest it probably goes back to a prosaic game at Ipswich on 16 March when his team had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the worst side in the Championship.

Adlene Guedioura, one of the club’s more experienced players, had been left out and remained on the bench as Forest huffed and puffed through a match that hardened the impression O’Neill’s team were falling short of the play-offs. At the end of the game it was customary for the unused substitutes to go through some warm-down exercises on the pitch with the fitness staff. Except Guedioura refused and, when challenged, he started protesting that the game was Continue reading “Goodbye to the Miracle Man: how Martin O’Neill’s Forest reign crumbled | Daniel Taylor”

Roy Keane leaves Nottingham Forest after five months at club


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  • Keane wants to focus on his own managerial career
  • Departure from City Ground described as amicable

Roy Keane’s brief return to Nottingham Forest is over after he informed Martin O’Neill he wants to leave the club to try to resurrect his own managerial career.

Keane has been working as O’Neill’s assistant since January but the former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland captain has always made it clear his preference would be to start again in management, eight and a half years since his last position at Ipswich Town.

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EFL fixtures: Luton face Middlesbrough and Salford play Stevenage on day one


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• EFL fixtures for the 2019-20 season announced
• Woodgate’s first game in charge of Boro is on 2 AugustJonathan Woodgate’s managerial debut will be the first match of the 2019-20 EFL season. Middlesbrough installed the 39-year-old former England international defender as their manager last week on a three-year contract.

Related: Middlesbrough name Jonathan Woodgate as manager

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Lee Bowyer agrees to stay on as Charlton manager after U-turn


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  • Club had earlier announced breakdown of talks
  • ‘I never wanted to leave,’ insists Bowyer

Lee Bowyer has signed a new one-year contract extension at Charlton Athletic just hours after the club announced talks had broken down over his wage demands and insistence on using an agent over the negotiation process.

The Charlton owner Roland Duchâtelet, who is still attempting to sell a loss-making club, had released a remarkable statement via their official website on Monday afternoon suggesting Bowyer would leave upon the expiry of his deal at the end of this month. They claimed Bowyer “feels he should be paid like many other Championship managers” and added: “That the average Championship club makes a loss of around £15m per year is not something players should care about. The owners are crazy.”

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Lee Bowyer set to leave Charlton after failing to reach contract agreement


This post is by Dominic Fifield from Football | The Guardian


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• Roland Duchâtelet claims offer is more than current deal
• Bowyer led Addicks to Championship in first seasonLee Bowyer is set to leave Charlton at the expiry of his contract this month, having failed to agree terms on an extension at the Valley just weeks after restoring the club to the Championship.

Confirmation of an imminent parting of the ways was made in an extraordinary statement posted on Charlton’s website on Monday, which detailed how the owner, Roland Duchâtelet, felt he could not offer more than a new 12-month deal given his on-going attempts to sell a loss-making club. The Belgian first placed Charlton on the market in 2017, with talks continuing with the Cardiff chairman, Mehmet Dalman, over a potential takeover.

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West Brom appoint Slaven Bilic as manager on two-year contract


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• Former West Ham manager gets job at Championship club
• Club determined to return to Premier League, Bilic saysSlaven Bilic has been named as the manager of West Brom, the Championship club have announced. The former West Ham and Croatia manager has agreed a two-year contract with Albion, who reached the Championship play-off semi-finals last season.

They were led there by Jimmy Shan, who took interim charge after Darren Moore was sacked in March.

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Middlesbrough name Jonathan Woodgate as manager


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Swansea fill managerial vacancy with England Under-17 coach Steve Cooper


This post is by Stuart James from Football | The Guardian


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• Cooper led under-17s to World Cup win in 2017
• Mike Marsh, a former Liverpool coach, expected as No 2

Steve Cooper is to become Swansea’s manager in a bold move by the Championship club. Cooper, who has never been in charge at first-team level and is the England Under-17 coach, impressed the board during a lengthy interview process and is set to be confirmed as Graham Potter’s replacement within 24 hours.

The 39-year-old will be a surprise choice to many, especially given his lack of experience with senior players, but he has a clear playing philosophy that is in tune with “the Swansea way” that Potter reintroduced last season and was so important to the club when they started the process of identifying a new manager.

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Nigel Adkins leaves Hull City, saying ‘futures are not aligned’


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  • Tigers finished 13th in the Championship last season
  • Adkins and club had held month of talks over a deal

Hull City are on the hunt for a new manager after Nigel Adkins decided to turn down their offer of a new contract.

Adkins said in a statement that his and the club’s futures were “not aligned” after a month of talks over extending his deal, which ends on 30 June.

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Marcelo Bielsa to continue as Leeds manager after club extend contract


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• Leeds owner says Bielsa has ‘unfinished business’ with club
• Fans feared Bielsa would leave after failing to win promotionAndrea Radrizzani has outlined his appetite to “have another go” at restoring Leeds to the Premier League after convincing Marcelo Bielsa to remain in charge for another season.

Bielsa, who guided Leeds to third in the Championship, will stay after the Leeds owner activated a 12-month extension to the contract the manager signed last summer.

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Aston Villa v Derby County: Tammy Abraham on what it means to be promoted – video


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Aston Villa are back in the top flight after beating Derby County 2-1 in the Championship play-off final.  Goals either side of half-time saw the midlands club promoted after three years out of the Premier League

Prince William and John Carew hugged one another in the stands while Jack Grealish and his team-mates celebrated wildly in front of the Villa fans. 

After the game, Tammy Abraham spoke about his hunger to score goals and what it means to be back at the top. 

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Emotional Dean Smith optimistic about Aston Villa’s future after Wembley win


This post is by Stuart James at Wembley from Football | The Guardian


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• Smith took over as manager in October
• ‘It feels right Villa are in the Premier League’

A mixture of euphoria and optimism swept through Aston Villa as Dean Smith claimed they are back where they belong after winning promotion to the Premier League, and Nassef Sawiris, the club’s co-owner, said the “sky is the limit” following victory in the Championship play-off final.

Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn scored the goals that gave Villa a 2-1 victory over Derby, on a day when Prince William, who has always supported Villa, was hugging former player John Carew in the stands.

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John McGinn more than proves his worth in Aston Villa promotion | Ben Fisher


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The midfielder, signed for £2.7m from Hibernian, showed against Derby he will not be out of place in the Premier LeagueAbove a baying, swaying sea of claret and blue Jack Grealish, alongside James Chester, lifted the play-off winners’ trophy high in the royal box but it was the Aston Villa captain’s overlooked supporting cast that propelled them to the Premier League.

Chief among these was John McGinn, the Glaswegian who spent the buildup to the final telling everyone there is more to Grealish than junior-size shin pads, flashy haircuts and sunbeds. By the same token that Grealish is not the Jack the lad his manager, Dean Smith, said he envisaged on taking the job in October, McGinn is much more than just a nagging nuisance in midfield. He was a ubiquitous presence – the bargain of the season at £2.7m from Hibernian – and it was fitting Continue reading “John McGinn more than proves his worth in Aston Villa promotion | Ben Fisher”

Aston Villa in Premier League heaven with play-off Wembley win over Derby


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Aston Villa 2-1 Derby County: Championship play-off final – as it happened


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Loan star Harry Wilson wants to repay Frank Lampard for keeping faith | Paul MacInnes


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The Liverpool loanee has had a fine season for Derby and is relishing the chance to steer them past Aston Villa

Harry Wilson has a big final coming up. It will require concentration, organisational skills and trust in those around him. At least until he gets through customs.

“I’m going to go to the Champions League final with my mates,” the 22-year-old says. “I’ve got tickets through the club, I’m taking a couple of my friends and it will be great. I stood in the Anfield Road end for the Barcelona game and the atmosphere was unbelievable. Hopefully Madrid will be just as special. The ideal scenario will be: win Monday, celebrate Tuesday, then fly out to Madrid and watch Liverpool lift the European Cup.”

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Dean Smith mixes personal pain with pride as Aston Villa head to Wembley


This post is by Jacob Steinberg from Football | The Guardian


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The manager who used to sweep the steps of the Holte End has his eyes on a Premier League return as his side face Derby

It was a moment to cut through the hyperbolic noise surrounding the Championship play-off final. All the talk about the richest game in football – £170m on offer to the winners, another year of hard graft for the losers – paled into insignificance as a hush fell over the stuffy media room at Aston Villa’s training ground when Dean Smith offered a glimpse into the pain he deals with away from his professional life.

As a lifelong Villa fan, Smith does not need to be told how much it would mean to lead this storied club back into the Premier League. There is more than money at stake for Villa’s manager. He has come a long way since the days when he would clean the Continue reading “Dean Smith mixes personal pain with pride as Aston Villa head to Wembley”