Ralph Krueger is the new chairman of Southampton Football Club, taking up the mantle held by influential Nicola Cortese.
Appointed by owner Katharina Liebherr, Krueger joined the club in February after helping Canada to a gold medal in men’s hockey at the Winter Olympics. He’s a former head coach of the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers and Swiss national team, and a big-time scorer in hockey’s Bundesliga with Dusseldorfer EG.
PST’s own Joe Prince-Wright is slated for an exclusive interview with Krueger later this morning, so keep it tuned here.
Here’s Krueger’s statement on the official Southampton site:
“I am honoured to take on the role of Chairman of Southampton Football Club and the group. I have had the opportunity to meet with a large percentage of the staff at Southampton and it is clear there is a positive soul throughout the Club, both at St Mary’s and the training ground.
“We will build on that soul by creating platforms of open communication both inside with the staff and outside with our fan base.
“Although there is a solid foundation in place, the Club still has tremendous untapped commercial potential. We will continue to nurture ‘The Southampton Way’ by reaching for consistent growth in all departments to ultimately build a culture that allows Southampton to remain healthy and sustainable in the future.”
This should lend some stability to Southampton, where there was much consternation once Cortese resigned in January, leading to speculation that manager Mauricio Pochettino would soon follow.
The 42-year-old Argentine elected to stay in his post and, despite a perceived big role in the Cortese fray, Liebherr is credited with moving quickly to stabilize the organization.
Keep checking back for Krueger’s talk with JPW.
Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly hanging around at Wembley Stadium for another few months.
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Their home game against Manchester City next Monday (Oct. 29) was their last scheduled Premier League encounter at their temporary home, but a report from The Times states that their Nov. 24 game against Chelsea and the Dec. 5 clash with Southampton will both move to Wembley instead of being at their new stadium at White Hart Lane.
Spurs were meant to play the first game in their new 62,000 capacity home on Sept. 15 against Liverpool but issues with the “critical safety systems” saw the grand-opening delayed and it appears the new venue may not open until the festive period at the earliest.
Per the report, Spurs must tell the FA over the next few days if they want to move the games to Wembley and make plans for that to happen.
“The club must tell the FA by Thursday if they want to move the fixtures. They have until early November to inform the governing body if they also want to stage the league game against Burnley at the national stadium on December 15. They have agreed an option to use Wembley until Christmas and are scheduled to host Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers within three days over the holiday period. Tottenham have said that nothing has yet been decided and they have still to inform the FA of their plans.”
With their home UEFA Champions League group stage games in November already confirmed to take place at Wembley, it seems likely that Spurs will continue to take their time and make sure everything is spot on at their new home before moving in. At this point, why rush? January seems like the perfect time to make the move into the new stadium and start afresh in 2019.
The third round of games in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League group stage take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Manchester United host Juventus, Liverpool head to Red Star Belgrade, Man City travel to Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham play at PSV Eindhoven as the four Premier League clubs enter the pivotal double-header matchweeks.
[ MORE: United v Juve headlines UCL Tuesday ]
Below are the score predictions for the UCL games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ajax 2-1 Benfica
AEK Athens 1-3 Bayern Munich
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-2 Manchester City
Hoffenheim 2-1 Lyon
Real Madrid 4-1 Viktoria Plzen
Roma 3-0 CSKA Moscow
Young Boys 1-3 Valencia
Manchester United 2-2 Juventus
Club Brugge 1-3 Monaco
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Atletico Madrid
PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Barcelona 1-2 Inter Milan
Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Napoli
Red Star Belgrade 1-3 Liverpool
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 FC Porto
Galatasaray 1-0 Schalke
Mesut Ozil and Arsenal put on a “sexy” second half display to beat Leicester City 3-1 on Monday, as the Gunners extended their winning streak to 10 games in all competitions and seven in the Premier League.
Ozil, 30, captained Arsenal and put in a silky display as he scored an equalizer right on half time, then orchestrated a thorough dismantling of Leicester’s defense in the second half.
First, his perfect through ball found Hector Bellerin who crossed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make it 2-1, then moments later Ozil’s clever flick sparked a flowing move into life as he then dummied a ball into the box before using the outside of his left foot to audaciously flick it into the path of Aubameyang to wrap up the win.
Arsenal’s playmaker took to social media after the game and gave a pretty accurate assessment of what went on.
“I think we played some sexy football tonight. Proud captain of this team and this club!” Ozil said.
Unai Emery handing Ozil the captains armband seems to be a bit of a masterstroke, with the German star having a tough time off the pitch over the past few months due to his ongoing dispute with the German FA after retiring from the international game following their 2018 World Cup failure.
Ozil had a slow start to the season at Arsenal and was subbed off by Emery regularly but it appears he is know the heartbeat of the Gunners attack once again and he looks hungry to lead the team who are currently on the crest of a wave. Ozil has now scored four times in his last six games for the Gunners and after signing his new contract in the summer the former Real Madrid star looks settled under Emery.
It is still too early in the season to see whether or not Ozil and Arsenal are set to mount a serious title or top four challenge but the early signs under Emery are encouraging.
Yes, defensively they are coughing up plenty of big chances and Leicester could feel aggrieved to not be handed a penalty kick but going forward Arsenal are in fine form and Ozil is the main man behind the “sexy football” which looks sharper, quicker and more dynamic under Emery.
Usain Bolt’s search for a professional contract may go on a bit longer.
According to the Central Coast Mariners, the Australian club he’s been training with, they have extended Bolt a contract, but conceded a deal is “unlikely” “without the financial contribution of an external third-party,”
Reports across Europe state that Bolt is looking for a $3 million contract from any team he signs with, and the Mariners appear unable to meet those demands. “We are looking at ways to do this as the club does not have the luxury to be able to do this in the Hyundai A-League,” the club said in a statement. According to a report by the Guardian, the Australian football governing body has contributed $100,000 from its marketing fund for the contract, but would add no more than that.
Bolt scored twice in a friendly last week, and he’s been training with the club for the past few weeks, but the club announced that while talks are ongoing, Bolt will not travel with the team or attend training “to ensure that there is no distraction to the Hyundai A-League squad in preparing for this weekend’s match versus Melbourne City.”
The A-League side said in the statement that while Bolt is improving, the former sprinter requires further training to become a viable professional player. “Usain has made great progression during his time on the Central Coast and we feel that he will improve further with more individual intensive training and competitive game time.”
However, the club’s head coach wasn’t so complimentary. “Do you think he’ll get in our front three? We’ve got a very good front third,” Mike Mulvey said. Central Coast sports former Leeds United, Fulham, and Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack up front, alongside 26-year-old Australian international Tommy Oar and 24-year-old Connor Pain who has one cap for the international side.
Bolt doesn’t exactly have a ton of time to improve his game, already at 32 years of age and with a full Olympic-medal-winning professional sprinting career on his legs.