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Thursday, Jun 27th

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English Football

Roberto Di Matteo inks new 2-year deal at Chelsea

roberto_di_matteoForty two year old Italian Roberto di Matteo, who famously led Chelsea to their maiden Champions League triumph last month , has been offered a new 2-year deal by the club. The interim boss was the players' and the fans' favourite to take the helm at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea’s spectacular double under the rookie manager's leadership.

An official statement released by Chief executive Ron Gourlay on the club's website stated: 'Roberto's quality was clear for all to see when he galvanised the squad last season and helped the club make history, and the owner and board are very pleased he will be continuing his good work.

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Paul Lambert appointed as new Aston Villa Manager

Aston Villa FC have confirmed the appointment of Paul Lambert as their new manager after the Scot completed his long drawn out departure from Norwich City. Lambert had submitted his resignation at Carrow Road on Thursday, which the club promptly declined. However, Villa persisted with their target and are reported to have paid Norwich a £1m compensation to land Lambert, who will now succeed another Scot, Alex McLeish, at the helm at Villa Park.

A statement on the club website reported, “The board of Aston Villa are delighted to confirm that Paul Lambert has been appointed Villa manager.”

Paul Lambert has been phenomenal in his spell with the Canaries, securing two back-to-back promotions to take Norwich from the third tier of English football to the Premier League where they ended their first season in 12th place. The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder, whose impressive resume includes a Champions League medal with the German club, has been admired for his ability to put together a successful team on a shoestring budget, something Villa owner Randy Lerner is desperate to do.

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Brendan Rodgers lands Liverpool role, promises attacking football

Intelligent, fearless and commanding are the three words to come to mind when one watches 39-year old Brendan Rodgers move into the iconic seat at Anfield as the new Liverpool manager. He is certain to unruffle a few feathers, if the didn't, he wouldn't be who he is. But if first impressions are to be believed, chances are the fans are going to grow to like Rodgers, because he will return them to the glory days, one day.

There are few managers who would walk into a top club and openly declare war on the dreamers of years gone by. Liverpool still believe they are a top club, it is their heritage and not their present which dictates that belief. Rodgers was quick to tell the world what he felt, "It's been almost 20 years since they won the title - being realistic, we might not be ready now, but the process begins today."

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Sir Alex Ferguson not quitting his post anytime soon despite health concerns

sir_alex_fergusonWigan chairman and close friend of Sir Alex Ferguson, Dave Whelan announced last week that the iconic Manchester United manager would draw the curtains on his illustrious career at the end of the next season, following health concerns. However, American broadcaster Charlie Stillitano who is another close ally of the Scot has come forward to rubbish these rumours and claimed that Ferguson would around for a long time to come.

The Red Devils’ boss suffered a severe nosebleed and had to be hospitalized last week as he was in ‘tremendous pain’. Following the incident, Whelan told the media on Friday, “After next season, Sir Alex will call it a day because he had a little scare.” However, Stillitano has claimed that Ferguson is on the road to recovery and the thought of retirement is not on his mind right now.

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What next for Tottenham and Harry?

harry_redknappOne of the most exhilarating Premier League seasons has drawn to a close and it is time for the clubs to introspect on their performances and improve ahead of the next campaign. The league was so well contested that eventually it came down to goal difference to actually separate champions Manchester City and Man United. Relegation battles as well as Champion's League spots were all decided on the last day, with the final Champions League spot being clinched as late as yesterday following the Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

A club that has during the course of this season been praised for its exciting brand of football, Tottenham Hotspur and its fans will have mixed feelings regarding this campaign. They have improved by leaps and bounds, a fact backed by their short-lived title challenge, which while being premature was still encouraging. But missing out on 3rd spot and with it automatic qualification for the Champions League will be a bitter pill to swallow. Third place was theirs to lose and they handed it to their bitter rivals Arsenal after an almighty collapse. Whether that is attributed to the squad being unsettled due to the rumours swirling around about the manager's future or just a thin squad which fell flat at crucial moments, the bottom line is that it is the Europa League and not the Champions League they will participate in next year.

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Kenny Dalglish's Anfield reign comes to an end

Kenny Dalglish's 2nd stint at his beloved Liverpool has come to a sad end after the Scotsman stepped down as manager today. The writing was on the wall after the 61 year old held crisis talks with the owners in America earlier this week and with little or no backing from the Fenway Sports Group the inevitable has occurred. John Henry and Tom Werner were less than enamoured with the club's disastrous showing in the Premier League and Dalglish has paid the ultimate price.

Liverpool finished a lowly 8th place, below their rivals Everton for the first time in seven years and the legendary striker also oversaw the club's worst league run in over 50 years. Although he did end their six year trophy drought by lifting the Carling Cup and took the team to the FA Cup final, where they lost to Chelsea, it was a scant return following a £120 m splurge on new recruits.

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Paul Scholes set to make another sensational comeback

Manchester United's veteran central midfielder Paul Scholes has said he is ready to discuss his national team future with new boss Roy Hodgson, who is set to announce his squad for the Euros. Retired for almost eight years now, Scholes who has already been denied a chance to represent Britain in the London Olympics this year by United boss Ferguson, could find the chance to represent his country of birth in the Euros for possibly the last time too hard to resist. The English Football Hall Of Fame inductee has earned 66 caps for the national team and scored 14 times, his last game being England's Euro 2004 quarter-final loss against Portugal. Roy Hodgson is set to announce his England squad, which travels to Poland and Ukraine, on Wednesday.

Scholes, who seemingly had retired at the end of last season, made a surprising return in January and has since excelled in the midfield role he made his own for two decades. His 4 goals in 20 matches for The Red Devils since coming out of retirement, means he has scored in every Premier League season since 1994-95. Additionally, the control he brings to the centre of the park, has seen him fit seamlessly into a fairly young United setup.

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