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Plymouth (Jason Bent) Lose Coach

David C.

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Southampton name Sturrock as new boss

SOUTHAMPTON (AFP) Thursday March 4, 04:48 PM

Southampton have named former Scotland and Dundee United striker Paul Sturrock as their new boss.

The English Premiership club announced on their website that Sturrock was leaving second division leaders Plymouth to take over from fellow Scot Gordon Strachan, who is taking a break from the pressures of football management.

Sturrock, 47, emerged as the front runner after former Saints manager Glenn Hoddle pulled out of the race in the face of opposition from fans and sections of the Southampton board.

The Scot has been a huge success as manager of Plymouth.

When he took over early in the 2000-01 season they were struggling near the bottom of the third division of the football league. He guided them to the third division championship the following season and they are now four points clear at the top of the second division (the third tier of English football).

Sturrock insisted it had not been easy to leave Plymouth, telling the south-west club's website: "It is a sad day. I don't want anyone to think that this is not a gut-wrenching decision for me,

"The challenges of football that have been put in place, the lure of the Premiership, are what all managers dream of."

Meanwhile Southampton chairman Ruper Lowe, who appeared to want to bring back former boss Glenn Hoddle to St Mary's, later told a news conference: "Paul has what I consider to be all the qualities to become one of the rising stars of Premier League management.

"I hope he will fulfil that promise at Southampton. His playing record is one of solid and consistent achievement at both club level with Dundee United and internationally with Scotland.

"To come from the bottom of the Third Division to an automatic promotion place in the Second is no mean feat and to do that on the financial resources that were available to Paul and during a ground redevelopment underlines this.

"On top of the statistics, Paul has also shown the essential qualities that we believe will contribute to driving Southampton Football Club forward: integrity, loyalty and constancy," added Lowe who refused to talk about other contenders for the Saints managership.

Although Sturrock signed a new five-year contract at the start of this season, his deal included a clause deal allowing him to leave in the event of a Premiership club coming in for him.

Sturrock was a one-club player, making 385 league appearances and scoring 109 goals for Dundee United before cutting his teeth as a coach at the club.

After a successful spell as manager of St Johnstone he returned to Dundee United as manager in 1998 only to resign two matches into the 2000-01 season.

He moved to Plymouth shortly afterwards.

Former England coach Hoddle had been top of Lowe's list to succeed Strachan. But lingering bitterness over his decision to walk out on the club to take over at Spurs meant a return was not viable.

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This may not be such a bad thing. Despite the setback for Jason Bent, our man on the scene Rupert, et al, Paul Sturrock has spent a fair amount of time in Canada and I would hope be willing to give our players a shot if that opportunity arose. Those 'shots' will be few and far between however with the anti-Cdn hiring practices in the UK.

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Guest Jeffery S.

I hope the team does not suffer, since even though Jason is injured and not getting time it would be great for him to see Div. 1 football next year.

I must admit that I was not a big Bent fan for a long while, but after seeing him combine with Stalteri vs. Ireland I have concluded that he's improved a lot, his passing game is much better, and he is still young enough to grow against stronger competition. In the end the Argyle players will realize that having him up in EPL means they'll get attention from him and maybe other coaches, enough motivation to stay hot and promote directly this year.

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