Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Saints Sack Sturrock and Blame the Media

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Saints Sack Sturrock and Blame the Media

Article excerpt

Byline: By Duncan Bech

Less than 48 hours after receiving the public backing of his chairman, Southampton manager Paul Sturrock was yesterday told to clear his desk after becoming the first managerial victim of the new Barclays Premiership season.

Sturrock departs St Mary's after just six months in charge with a statement from club chief Rupert Lowe declaring it was a decision reached by mutual consent after media speculation had made the Scotsman's position untenable.

The news represents a swift turnaround from Lowe, who publicly backed his manager on Saturday after watching Saints stage their first comeback win since November 2002 with a brave 3-2 victory against Blackburn.

"We have a policy where the board runs the club, not the media. We have got Paul Sturrock managing the club and that is good enough for us," he said.

Lowe was responding to a week of intense speculation suggesting Sturrock had been given just one more game to make safe his job following the tame 2-0 surrender against Aston Villa in the Premiership opener.

But despite the battling triumph against Rovers ( a performance which has gone some way to dispelling rumours of a dressing room rift ( Saints' board appear to have already run out of patience with the former Plymouth boss.

A statement from club chairman Rupert Lowe said: "Following discussions over the weekend, Paul Sturrock will be leaving Southampton Football Club by mutual agreement with immediate effect.

"Steve Wigley (assistant coach) will assume responsibility for preparation of the first team while the board consider the most appropriate management structure to take the club forward.

"Management in the Premier League is highly pressured and when this pressure is compounded by a constant stream of negative and unfair media coverage, which has taken on a life of its own recently, the position becomes untenable.

"Those people responsible for perpetrating this unsatisfactory situation, often in return for financial reward, should take a long hard look at themselves. …

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