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Premier League final-day predictions: Chris Sutton v The National drummer Bryan Devendorf



Sutton's Predictions

It all comes down to the final day for Everton, Leicester and Leeds and their battle to beat the drop. Only one will stay in the Premier League, but who will it be?

“Sunday is going to be fascinating,” said BBC Sport’s football expert Chris Sutton.

“Leicester’s point against Newcastle on Monday could actually be massive. They still need to beat West Ham to have a chance but, if they survive from here, it could turn out to be one of the greatest escapes we’ve ever seen.

“That result means Everton have to beat Bournemouth to be sure of staying up, but even Leeds still have hope because they are playing a Tottenham side that are just so bad.”


Sutton has made predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.

For the last round of games he is taking on Bryan Devendorf, drummer with rock band The National.

The National have just started their world tour, and have dates in the UK this autumn in Leeds, Glasgow and London. Their new album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, was released earlier this month and reached number four in the UK charts.

The National
The National formed in New York in 1999. Bryan (second from left) and his brother Scott (third from left) are one of two pairs of siblings in the band along with twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and frontman Matt Berninger

While his bandmate Aaron Dessner is a big Liverpool fan,external-link Devendorf describes himself as “a neutral who has jumped on the Brighton bandwagon”.

“I really enjoy their style of play and the story of their rise is pretty nice too,” he told BBC Sport. “The ownership seems pretty cool and all that too.

“They are definitely punching above their weight and despite losing Graham Potter at the start of the season they seem to have got even stronger under Roberto de Zerbi.


“Getting into the Europa League is a brilliant achievement, but it is the way they’ve done it that stands out too. Their style is so good to watch.

“Moises Caicedo has been one of the stories of the season but I’ve also been reading about their tactics and recruitment. There are all these young South American players they have got but we’ve not seen yet – there are more on the way!”

Devendorf has not been to a Premier League game yet but, in Major League Soccer, his local team Cincinnati are enjoying a successful season at the top of the Eastern Conference.

“I’ve seen them a few times,” he explained. “They have a new stadium and the club is winning a lot. They have a great goalkeeper and a great striker – Philadelphia are the tactical ‘Moneyball’ team in their league and one of their assistants came to Cinci and brought their approach, and it worked.

“I don’t really follow the United States team much though. I am a bit of a Benedict Arnold [an American-born officer who defected to the British side during the American War of Independence] when it comes to international soccer.


“I have an English grandmother so I will always root for the England squad, even with the World Cup coming to the United States next time.”

When? Result Sutton Bryan
Arsenal v Wolves x-x 2-0 3-0
Aston Villa v Brighton x-x 1-1 1-1
Brentford v Man City x-x 1-2 1-2
Chelsea v Newcastle x-x 0-2 0-2
Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest x-x 2-0 1-0
Everton v Bournemouth x-x 1-0 2-1
Leeds v Tottenham x-x 1-1 0-1
Leicester v West Ham x-x 2-1 1-2
Man Utd v Fulham x-x 2-1 1-0
Southampton v Liverpool x-x 0-2 0-3

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.


All matches kick off at 16:30 BST.


Arsenal v Wolves

Arsenal v Wolves

There is nothing important riding on this game for either side but Arsenal will want to finish off a successful season by putting on a show in front of their own fans.

They lost their way in the title race in the final few weeks but this is chance for them to sign off with a positive performance, and I think that’s exactly what they will do.


Snapshot showing the top of the Premier League: 1st Man City & 2nd Arsenal

It is slightly worrying for Wolves that there are doubts about Julen Lopetegui’s future because he has done such a good job – they were bottom when he took charge in November. Their season turned out OK, but there could be an uncertain summer ahead at Molineux.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Bryan’s prediction: I am a total newbie at predictions and this is a tough one to start with. Arsenal fell short in the title race but they are at home and they will have something to prove in front of their fans. There seems to have been a bit of a kerfuffle at Wolves, with talk of their manager leaving, so Arsenal are definitely going to win this one, it’s just a question of by how many. 3-0

Aston Villa v Brighton

Aston Villa v Brighton

Brighton’s draw with Manchester City on Wednesday has already sealed their place in the Europa League but Aston Villa still have work to do and must match Tottenham’s result at Leeds to secure a Europa Conference League spot.

Snapshot showing 7th to 9th place in the Premier League: 7th Aston Villa, 8th Tottenham & 9th Brentford
Aston Villa, Tottenham and Brentford could all still finish seventh depending on what happens on the final day

Villa beat the Seagulls before the World Cup, just after Unai Emery took charge, but I am not sure they will get the better of Roberto de Zerbi’s side again this time.

De Zerbi made changes against City and left Lewis Dunk on the bench but still got a point against the champions. He will probably shuffle his squad again, but I still don’t see them losing.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Bryan’s prediction: This is quite a tough one for Brighton but I think they will get a point. 1-1

Brentford v Man City

Brentford v Man City

Brentford have had an absolutely brilliant season once again and they could complete the double over Manchester City after beating them at Etihad Stadium in November.

It’s never easy to make another step forward in your second season in the top flight but that’s what the Bees have done.

This is going to be a tricky afternoon for the champions – Brighton gave them a good game in midweek and I am expecting Brentford to do the same.

We know how desperate City boss Pep Guardiola is to win every game because he showed it against the Seagulls, but I just wonder if some of his players will have one eye on next week’s FA Cup final, and be thinking about the Champions League final too.


I am still going with a City win, but it is going to be close.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Bryan’s prediction: City are like a juggernaut – what they are doing is deserved because the coaching from Pep is so good, but it is just total dominance. Brentford are playing really well under Thomas Frank and Bryan Mbeumo is in good form so they will get a goal, but City are just too strong. 1-2

Chelsea v Newcastle

Chelsea v Newcastle

Newcastle could well be in party mode now they are sure of Champions League football so this prediction partly depends on how motivated they are as their job is done.

Snapshot showing 3rd to 6th in the Premier League: 3rd Man Utd, 4th Newcastle, 5th Liverpool & 6th Brighton
Manchester United and Newcastle have secured Champions League spots, while Liverpool and Brighton will both be in next season’s Europa League

Even so, you still have to consider how bad Chelsea are. They have been woeful for the entire campaign and the bottom four teams are the only ones to have won fewer home games than them this season.

There won’t be much for Blues fans to smile about at Stamford Bridge on Sunday either.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-2

Bryan’s prediction: Newcastle against Chelsea is like an apex predator approaching a raw slab of prime rib. 0-2

Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest

Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest

I know Roy Hodgson is getting on a bit but Crystal Palace can’t be in a rush to get rid of him.

He has done a remarkable job since being appointed at the end of March, so who is going to come in and do any better?

Whatever the future holds for Roy, he will want to end this season with a win and Nottingham Forest’s awful away record makes his side heavy favourites, especially with Eberechi Eze in such fine form for the Eagles.

Forest have won only one of their 18 league games on the road so far – at Southampton in January – and have picked up seven points in total.


I don’t see them adding to their tally here, but they are staying up and that is the most important thing.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Bryan’s prediction: Another tough one but Palace are at home and this could be Hodgson’s final game as a manager – yet again. I think they are going to give the old man a win. 1-0

Everton v Bournemouth

Everton v Bournemouth

I actually feel like this is an awkward game for Everton. Their fate is in their own hands and I think they will stay up, but Bournemouth will make things difficult for them.

Snapshot showing the bottom of the Premier League table: 15th Bournemouth, 16th Nottingham Forest, 17th Everton, 18th Leicester, 19th Leeds and 20th Southampton

Everton will play with great intensity but they have a worry over whether Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be fit enough to lead their attack, and they have not been free-scoring anyway.

In contrast, Bournemouth’s position means they can play with more freedom and that makes them dangerous.

Goodison Park will be a very tense place in the final few minutes if this game is as close as I think it will be, because I expect results elsewhere to mean that Everton have to win to stay up.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-0


Bryan’s prediction: Everton had that huge win at Brighton a couple of weeks ago which has helped put them in this situation. They have definitely raised their game under Sean Dyche, even if they are not playing consistently well. They are at home, in front of their fans so they are going to be up for this and I think they will get what they need. I did have them down to win 2-0 at first but I’ve given Bournemouth a goal, because I think there will still be a bit of drama and tension. 2-1

Leeds v Tottenham

Leeds v Tottenham

Leeds boss Sam Allardyce has been driven to despair by how bad his side are at the back and he’s only been in charge for three games.

That’s why I can’t see Leeds winning this game – and I think they are getting relegated.


Tottenham don’t deserve many plaudits either, though. They have played well so rarely this season that I don’t see them getting a win that would give them a chance of seventh place and European football next season.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Bryan’s prediction: Bryce [Dessner, Aaron’s brother] supports Leeds because he likes their American connection. But my son supports Spurs so I’ve been, very casually, following their results for a while through him. Tottenham have been like a Cadillac on cruise control this season, with a string of disappointments. Leeds are so scrappy and ready for a fight, but I just don’t know if they can see this game through. Instead, I think it is going to be one of those days where they put in a lot of effort before there is a kind of heartbreaking Harry Kane header that sends them down. 0-1

Leicester v West Ham

Leicester v West Ham

From my last month of predictions, it feels like I have only got about one right – there have been so many strange results. Take Newcastle’s 0-0 draw against Leicester on Monday for example. We know how bad the Foxes are defensively and I would have bet my house on Newcastle scoring.

The amazing thing about Leicester and Leeds is that they both score lots of goals, more than anyone else in the bottom half of the table. Leicester have scored 49, which is as many as Aston Villa, who are seventh.

But both of them are so poor defensively, which is why they are down there.

Leicester gambled that they could draw at Newcastle, win this game and stay up. I think the first two parts will go according to plan, but sadly the last bit is out of their hands and victory here might not be enough to save them.

West Ham may rotate a few players with the Europa Conference League final in mind, but their away form has been poor anyway. They went from the end of August to the start of April without managing a single league success on the road.


Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Bryan’s prediction: It feels like there is a certain charm about Leicester after their fairytale title win in 2016, but there won’t be a happy ending here. When West Ham play well, they are like a machine. They basically destroyed Leeds last weekend and sadly for Leicester I think they will do the same to them. 1-2

Man Utd v Fulham

Man Utd v Fulham

Fulham gave it a really good go the last time they were at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-finals in March, before things unravelled for them extremely quickly.


I think Marco Silva’s side will make a game of it this time too. United made sure of a Champions League place next season with Thursday’s 4-1 win over Chelsea and I am sure next weekend’s FA Cup final will be on their minds.

Erik ten Hag’s side have limped over the line a bit in the race for the top four, but their home form has been solid and they should have too much for the Cottagers again this time too.

Fulham will finish 10th whatever the result – they have had a brilliant season and I’ve enjoyed watching them. I must admit I thought they would get relegated so I was only slightly out there.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Bryan’s prediction: I am going to go for an underwhelming United performance and a win by a lone goal. 1-0


Southampton v Liverpool

Southampton v Liverpool

Southampton don’t have too many fond memories to look back on this season, especially at home where they have only won twice during the entire campaign.

They will be playing for pride but that won’t be enough against a Liverpool side who have built up a bit of momentum in recent weeks.

It’s been a difficult campaign for Jurgen Klopp’s side too and missing out on the Champions League is a big disappointment for them, but at least they will finish off on a bit of a high note.


I am expecting Mohamed Salah to score and Liverpool to win.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-2

Bryan’s prediction: Southampton are already down but they did not completely crumble against Brighton last week in their first game since being relegated. It could be different against Liverpool, though, because Jurgen Klopp’s side will be hungry to keep their good run going and I can see them scoring a few. 0-3

Chris Sutton and Bryan Devendorf were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Sutton do last time?

From last weekend’s Premier League fixtures, Sutton got four correct results from 10 matches with one exact score, for a total of 70 points.

Although he beat one of his downhill skateboarder guests, Jenny Jungle – who got five correct results with no exact scores for a tally of 50 points – he lost out to Anna Pixner, who got six correct results including one exact score, for a total of 90 points.

There were also two games on Wednesday and Thursday, both rearranged from week 32 because of the FA Cup semi-finals.

With only these fixtures remaining, Chris was leading his guest, Enter Shikari bassist Chris Batten by 70-60.

When? Result Chris Sutton Chris Batten
Brighton v Man City 1-1 1-3 1-2
Man Utd v Chelsea 4-1 1-0 3-0

They were both wrong about Brighton’s draw with Manchester City but picked up 10 points apiece from United’s win, giving Sutton an 80-70 victory.

Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria 230
Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott 150
Keke from 1Xtra 140
Gaz Coombes 120
Ali Bruce-Ball, Modernlove drummer Cian McCluskey, Jack Rowan 110
Liam Fray of The Courteeners, Ronnie Huxford from Those Damn Crows 100
Woolf Women star Anna Pixner 90
Living With Chucky writer and director Kyra Gardner, Editors bassist Russell Leetch 80
Chris Sutton (average after 37 weeks) 71
Enter Shikari bassist Chris Batten, Blanco, Ian Broudie, GK from Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Corey Deshon, Joelah from 1Xtra, Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno, Aaron Moorhead, Phoenix singer Thomas Mars 70
AntsLive, Evil Dead Rise writer and director Lee Cronin, Ross MacDonald from The 1975, Black Honey guitarist Chris Ostler, Ryan Porteous 60
Justin Benson, Woolf Women star Jenny Jungle, Al Greenwood from Sports Team, Dapz on the Map, Chesney Hawkes, Maulo 50
Blake Bowman, Tom from Dry Cleaning 40
Andrew Gower, Jessica McHale, Olivia Chomczuk, Casper van Dien, DMA’S frontman Tommy O’Dell, Oli Shasha from FEET, Stereophonics guitarist Adam Zindani 30
Juice Menace, DJ Schak, Patrick Whelan 20
Trampolene frontman Jack Jones 10
Chris Sutton 2,640
Guests 2,620

How did you get on?

Only 21% of you thought Nottingham Forest would beat Arsenal but 92% of you correctly backed Brighton to beat Southampton. With only 10 fixtures left to predict this season, you are guaranteed to finish ahead of Chris and his guests.

Position Correct results
1. Guest 6/10
=2. Chris 4/10
=2. You 4/10

*Win, draw, loss prediction based on highest % of vote for each match. Anna’s score was used for these tables.

1. You 192/370 (52%)
2. Chris 176/370 (48%)
3. Guests 174/370 (47%)

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Bradley Lowery: Man charged over ‘taunt’ at Sheffield Wednesday match



Dale Houghton, 31, from Rotherham, will appear in court on Monday and faces a football banning order.

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Roma 2-0 Frosinone – Romelu Lukaku helps Jose Mourinho’s struggling side to success



Romelu Lukaku celebrating for Roma
Romelu Lukaku joined Roma on loan from Chelsea earlier this season

Romelu Lukaku helped Roma to their second win of the Serie A season with a goal in a 2-0 victory over Frosinone on Sunday.

The striker, 30, netted a third strike in five league games for Roma after latching on to a clever pass from Paulo Dybala before the break.

Dybala also created Lorenzo Pellegrini’s volleyed second.

“It’s an important win with lots of hard work and efficiency in front of goal,” said Lukaku.

Jose Mourinho’s struggling side moved up to 12th on eight points from seven matches after bouncing back from an embarrassing 4-1 midweek thrashing at Genoa.


Belgian Lukaku, who returned for another spell in Italy on loan from Chelsea, added: “We’re in a difficult situation, but the season is still long. We need to keep playing like that.”

Mourinho said on Saturday he had no fears over his future despite overseeing the worst start of his coaching career.



Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Rui Patrício
  • 23Mancini
  • 4Cristante
  • 5Ndicka
  • 2KarsdorpBooked at 64minsSubstituted forKristensenat 70′minutes
  • 52Bove
  • 16Paredes
  • 37Spinazzola
  • 21DybalaSubstituted forAzmounat 90+1′minutes
  • 7PellegriniSubstituted forAouarat 85′minutes
  • 90Lukaku


  • 11Belotti
  • 17Azmoun
  • 19Çelik
  • 22Aouar
  • 43Kristensen
  • 59Zalewski
  • 60Pagano
  • 61Pisilli
  • 63Boer
  • 67e Costa Cesco
  • 92El Shaarawy
  • 99Svilar


Formation 5-4-1

  • 80Turati
  • 22Oyono
  • 30Monterisi
  • 6RomagnoliSubstituted forBrescianiniat 19′minutes
  • 5Okoli
  • 3Marchizza
  • 18SouléBooked at 81mins
  • 45BarrenecheaBooked at 46minsSubstituted forIbrahimovicat 86′minutes
  • 36MazzitelliSubstituted forBourabiaat 86′minutes
  • 7BáezSubstituted forCasoat 62′minutes
  • 11ÇuniSubstituted forCheddiraat 62′minutes


  • 1Frattali
  • 4Brescianini
  • 8Lulic
  • 10Caso
  • 12Carvalho
  • 16Garritano
  • 17Kvernadze
  • 24Bourabia
  • 26Bidaoui
  • 27Ibrahimovic
  • 31Cerofolini
  • 47Vanelli Lusuardi
  • 70Cheddira

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RB Leipzig 2-2 Bayern Munich: Harry Kane scores eighth Bundesliga goal – highlights



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Monday’s gossip: Phillips, Osimhen, Lamal, Andersen, Fati, Modric, Tapsoba



Kalvin Phillips in action for Manchester City

Arsenal will turn to Manchester City’s 27-year-old England midfielder Kalvin Phillips in January as the Gunners look to strengthen their midfield. (Fichajes – in Spanish)external-link

Chelsea’s heavy spending is set to continue in January with the club targeting Napoli’s 24-year-old Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen and Brentford’s England forward Ivan Toney, 27. (Guardian)external-link

Chelsea are also seeking a £500m loan to fund the signings after spending £1bn over the last three transfer windows. (Sun)external-link

Barcelona’s 16-year-old Spain winger Lamine Yamal is set to sign a new three-year deal with the club, which contains a £1bn release clause. (Fabrizio Romano)external-link


Newcastle are monitoring Crystal Palace’s Denmark defender Joachim Andersen with a view to making a move for the 27-year-old in January. (Football Insider)external-link

Barcelona are open to selling Spain forward Ansu Fati next summer after the 20-year-old finishes his loan spell at Brighton. (Sport – in Spanish)external-link

Lionel Messi has urged Inter Miami to sign Real Madrid’s 38-year-old Croatia midfielder Luka Modric. (Cadena Ser – in Spanish, via Mirror)external-link

Liverpool have agreed a deal in principle with England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold for a new contract, which will see the 24-year-old earn more than £200,000 a week, plus bonuses. (Football Insider)external-link

Barcelona have opened talks with Corinthians for 18-year-old Brazil midfielder Gabriel Moscardo as they look to beat Chelsea to his signing. (Sport via Goal)external-link

Tottenham will look to sign Bayern Leverkusen’s 24-year-old Burkina Faso defender Edmond Tapsoba in January. (Fichajes – in Spanish)external-link


Juventus are hoping to tie down France midfielder Adrien Rabiot, 28, on a new three-year contract after he turned down a reported move to Manchester United in the summer to sign a one-year extension. (Tuttosport)external-link

Highly-rated England youth midfielder Dan Rigge, 17, is set to sign a new long-term deal at West Ham, despite interest from four Premier League clubs and two sides in La Liga. (Fabrizio Romano)external-link

Monday's Mail back page
Monday’s Mail back page

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WSL highlights: Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur in emotional season opener



Watch highlights as Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-1 in their opening WSL match after an emotional week for manager Emma Hayes following the passing of her father.

MATCH REPORT: Fishel’s ‘dream’ debut gives Chelsea winning start

Catch up with all the Women’s Super League action on the Women’s Football Show on iPlayer.

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WSL highlights: Jill Roord and Lauren Hemp score as 10-player Man City beat West Ham



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REPORT: Roord scores as 10-player Man City beat West Ham

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Available to UK users only.

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Premier League: HMRC claim back £124.8m in unpaid tax from clubs



The official Premier League football
Unpaid tax claimed back from Premier League clubs more than doubled from the previous tax year

HMRC investigators claimed back £124.8m in unpaid tax from Premier League clubs in the year to 31 March 2023.

That was up from £58.7m the previous tax year, according to figures compiled by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.

Reclaimed payments included National Insurance on agents’ fees and image rights, plus tax on benefits in kind.

“We will continue to carefully scrutinise arrangements between clubs, players and agents to ensure the correct tax is paid,” said HMRC.

“We work closely with the football industry to educate and deal with tax risk head on.”


Benefits in kind included flights and hotels for Premier League players and families.

Elliott Buss, of UHY Hacker Young, said HMRC was “really cracking down on the football industry”.

He added: “HMRC now have these clubs’ tax affairs in their sights.

“The growing proportion of agents’ fees being paid by clubs is drawing the attention of the taxman to the possibility that not all tax due on these payments is being paid.”

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Steve Cooper’s culture means Nottingham Forest won’t struggle again – Jermaine Jenas analysis



MOTD2 analysis

Nottingham Forest are still a work in progress under Steve Cooper but I’m already convinced they will stay clear of the relegation battle this season.

Last year was all about staying up after they had waited so long to get back into the Premier League and, after a slow start, Forest were never very far from the bottom three.

You could feel the tension in the air because they had taken a massive gamble with the amount of money they spent to try to stay in the top flight – and they only secured their safety with one game to go.

Forest made a lot of signings after winning promotion and, as Chelsea are finding out at the moment, when you bring in that many players all at once, it can be a struggle to get instant results.


The way Forest improved as that campaign went on shows what a good job Cooper did when he was given time to bed everyone in and, crucially, he has continued the building process he started.

Forest added a lot of players to the group again this summer and they have made a much stronger start this season, especially away from home and against teams from the top of the table.

Snapshot of the Premier League table from 8th to 13th: 8th Newcastle, 9th Crystal Palace, 10th Man Utd, 11th Nottingham Forest, 12th Fulham & 13th Brentford

It is early days of course but, from what we have seen so far, they are definitely not one of the three worst teams in the Premier League. Mid-table is a realistic target because the whole bottom half seems weaker this season to me.

Forest have bought some good young players and itfeels like this period is an opportunity for them to really establish their style of play and integrate those new faces.

Cooper is still searching for a few bits and pieces, especially at the top end of the pitch, to guarantee more goals but, in time, I think that part will come too.


Christmas Day with Brian Clough

Forest boss Steve Cooper on MOTD2
Forest boss Steve Cooper joined Jason Mohammad, Jenas and Glenn Murray after the game on MOTD2

I was at the City Ground with MOTD2 for Sunday’s draw with Brentford and it brought back a lot of memories.

Forest was where it all started for me – I was with the club from the age of eight until I was 18 – and it’s mad how little the place has changed since I left for Newcastle more than 20 years ago.

It’s the club where I learned what it takes to be a footballer and going back reminded me of the days when I was trying to make my way in the game.

Where we filmed our links for the show was in front of the spot by the tunnel where I used to clean the first-team players’ boots as a kid, right next to where there used to be a small running track going around the pitch.

When I was 15, I was one of the few apprentices to live locally and the youth team manager Paul Hart brought me in on my own on Christmas Eve to do what was known as the 12-minute run, where you were given that amount of time to run two miles doing laps of that track.

Straight after I finished, Hart said to me, ‘Well done, you worked hard – see you tomorrow’. I was like, ‘You what?’ I didn’t realise he was testing me and trying to build my character.


When I got in on Christmas morning, it was just me and the kitman and there was a big pile of boots waiting for me, but I soon got a bit of a surprise.

I was stood there cleaning them on my own when the legendary Brian Clough turned up out of nowhere and came over and started talking to me.

He started off by saying ‘you’ve got a lot of work to do’ but he wasn’t just talking about the muddy boots. He had heard I was next in line to come through from the youth team and wanted to speak to me.

Forest fans always play their part

Nottingham Forest fans
Forest are unbeaten at the City Ground this season, with one win and two draws from their three home Premier League games so far

Standing there again took me right back to when I got Cloughie’s words of wisdom – and I loved it. I don’t get back here as much as I’d like to but the City Ground still feels like home.

I still know a lot of the stewards and security staff, so a lot of the faces I saw on Sunday were the same.

The fans haven’t changed either. Sunday was one of the dullest games I have watched this year but there was still a fantastic atmosphere.


I’d argue it’s got even better recently too. Even as a kid when I used to come to games it was always buzzing but something has happened in the past few years that has taken it to another level since my first spell as a player or when I came back for a brief loan a few years later.

Jermaine Jenas, right, and Wolves' Kevin Muscat
Jenas, right, made his Forest first-team debut aged 17 in 2001

Mull of Kintyre has been the club’s unofficial anthem since their European Cup-winning days but nowadays they pump it out before kick-off and it gets the whole ground going.

The City Ground is one of those places where, when I speak to current Premier League players and ask about Forest, a lot of them admit they turn up here and didn’t realise it was going to be so intense.

Credit for that has to go to the supporters but also to the manager and the way he has got Forest playing.

The fans can see the effort from the players and cheer every last ball – they are clearly with Cooper and his team all the way, as we saw when they were down to 10 men against Brentford.

Cooper has built a bond that cannot be broken

Cooper is in so much credit with the supporters because of what he has achieved since he took over two years ago.


I think we saw that last year when he came under a lot of pressure when Forest were struggling and the club were considering sacking him, but the fanbase were not having it.

He may not admit it himself but personally I think they saved Cooper’s job at that particular time because of the uproar on social media when there was speculation he might be on his way out.

The fans’ message was very clear – we are not going to allow you to sack the manager who has just got us into the Premier League after 23 years – and they have a bond with Cooper that is not going to be broken.

I can understand why. Even when the team is not playing particularly well, I am never worried about them lacking an identity because I know what Cooper is all about as a coach, from his days with the England Under-17s side and at Swansea too.

I know he wants to play the game a certain way and that he has brought in good footballers to do that. I feel like he tries to get more out of his players, to keep on improving them.


Serge Aurier is a good example of that, which is why I asked Cooper about him after Sunday’s game.

I watched Aurier a lot at Tottenham – it didn’t quite work out for him there for some reason – and he looks like a completely different person at Forest. Cooper has made him captain and, sometimes when you give players more responsibility, they show a different side to themselves.

From the way Cooper explained it to me, part of the way he manages is by doing that and letting go a little bit – a leadership quality in itself.

He has brought in a group of players from all over the world and in those situations it is easy for cliques to form in the dressing room, where you don’t get all of the players mixing together much. You often have to find that one individual who can gel it all together.

I was asked to do it at Spurs by Juande Ramos, who came to me and said he wanted me to be captain because the youngsters respected me and the older players listened to me. He saw me as being the right person to bed it all together.


Cooper obviously sees the same qualities in Aurier, who speaks numerous languages, and sees him as the right person to convey his messages – not just on the pitch but also about the culture he wants to instil at the club.

It’s the kind of thinking that got Forest into the Premier League in the first place – and it will hopefully keep them there too.

Jermaine Jenas was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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Affaire Osimhen : Naples se sépare de son responsable des médias sociaux



Dans le monde du football, les médias sociaux jouent un rôle de plus en plus important dans la communication entre les clubs et les joueurs. Cependant, il est essentiel de gérer ces plateformes avec prudence et professionnalisme afin d’éviter tout incident. C’est malheureusement ce que Naples a appris récemment avec l’affaire Osimhen, qui a conduit au départ du responsable des médias sociaux du club, Alessio Fortino.

L’affaire Osimhen a été déclenchée par la publication de vidéos Tiktok sur les réseaux sociaux du club. Ces vidéos ont suscité une réaction négative et ont semé la discorde entre l’attaquant nigérian et son club. En conséquence, Naples a pris la décision de se séparer d’Alessio Fortino, qui occupait le poste de responsable des médias sociaux depuis plus de deux ans.

Il convient de souligner que Fortino n’était pas à l’origine de ces vidéos Tiktok, mais l’auteur s’est déjà excusé personnellement auprès d’Osimhen. Malgré cela, Fortino a choisi de quitter Naples, sans faire référence à Osimhen ou aux publications sur TikTok, dans une déclaration personnelle annonçant son départ.

Alessio Fortino a exprimé sa gratitude envers tous ceux qu’il a rencontrés au cours de son aventure professionnelle avec le SSC Napoli. Il a souligné que pour lui, ce travail était une réalité quotidienne, construite sur l’engagement et alimentée par le désir constant d’apprendre et de s’impliquer. Il quitte l’entreprise avec de nombreux souvenirs extraordinaires et une grande excitation pour les nouvelles aventures qui l’attendent.


« Aujourd’hui, après 805 jours, mon aventure professionnelle avec le SSC Napoli se termine. Pour beaucoup, ce travail serait comparable à un rêve, pour moi c’était la simple réalité quotidienne : une réalité construite sur l’engagement et alimentée par le travail continu désir d’apprendre et de m’impliquer. Je ne peux m’empêcher d’exprimer ma profonde gratitude à tous les collègues, collaborateurs, partenaires et fans rencontrés au cours de ce long voyage pour avoir rendu cette expérience si spéciale. Je quitte l’entreprise avec une richesse de souvenirs extraordinaires et l’enthousiasme pour les nouvelles aventures qui m’attendent.Merci encore pour tout et à bientôt !

Pendant ce temps, Victor Osimhen, malgré l’affaire des vidéos Tiktok, continue de briller sur le terrain. Lors des deux dernières rencontres de Naples contre l’Udinese et Lecce, l’attaquant nigérian a réussi à marquer des buts, démontrant ainsi sa concentration et son professionnalisme malgré les distractions médiatiques. Cette performance devrait calmer les tensions entre Osimhen et le club, et il est fort probable qu’il prolonge son contrat avec les Partenopei, sauf retournement de situation.

Cette affaire souligne l’importance de la gestion des médias sociaux dans le monde du football. Les clubs doivent être vigilants quant à ce qui est publié sur leurs plateformes officielles, afin de maintenir une relation harmonieuse avec leurs joueurs et d’éviter les conflits inutiles. Il est également essentiel que les joueurs restent concentrés sur leur performance sur le terrain, malgré les distractions extérieures.

En conclusion, l’affaire Osimhen a conduit au départ d’Alessio Fortino, le responsable des médias sociaux de Naples. Cette situation met en évidence l’importance de la gestion professionnelle des médias sociaux dans le monde du football. Victor Osimhen, quant à lui, continue de briller sur le terrain malgré les distractions médiatiques. Espérons que cette affaire serve de leçon à tous les clubs et joueurs, afin de maintenir une relation saine et harmonieuse entre les médias sociaux et le football.

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Rangers: Michael Beale sacked as manager; Steven Davis takes interim charge



Michael Beale has been sacked as Rangers manager after Saturday’s home defeat by Aberdeen left them seven points behind Celtic after seven games of the Scottish Premiership season.

It was the Ibrox side’s third Scottish Premiership loss of the campaign and comes after a heavy Champions League play-off defeat by PSV Eindhoven.

The club said results had “fallen short of what everyone connected to Rangers would expect”.

Former midfielder Steven Davis has taken interim charge, supported by Alex Rae, and coaches Steven Smith, Brian Gilmour and Colin Stewart, with Rangers expected to take their time in identifying a permanent successor.


Beale, 43, left Queens Park Rangers in November to replace Giovanni van Bronckhorst and started with 13 wins out of 14 games but ultimately ended last season without a trophy.

Although his side won their opening Europa League group-stage game against Real Betis, and have reached the semi-final of the Viaplay Cup, league defeats by Kilmarnock, Celtic and Aberdeen have proved costly.

“Results this season have fallen short of what everyone connected to Rangers would expect,” read a club statement.

“Therefore, the decision was reached today to terminate the contract of the manager, as well as the contracts of coaches Neil Banfield, Damian Matthew, Harry Watling and Jack Ade.

“The Rangers board would like to put on record their thanks to Michael and his staff for their efforts since joining the club last November.”


‘Horrible result’ marks end of tenure

When asked about his future after the 3-1 defeat by Aberdeen at Ibrox, Beale conceded to BBC Scotland that the “horrible result” had mounted further pressure on his shoulders.

Asked if he had any indication whether his job was safe or not, he added “I haven’t spoken to anyone right now” before concluding with “we’ll see what happens”.

“Everyone realises where we are, the standard and results need to be better,” the Englishman continued. “We can’t hide behind the fact that we won four games because today wasn’t good enough.”

Beale – whose recruitment has also be heavily criticised – vowed “to make it up to” a disgruntled fanbase, but he will now not get that chance.

Instead, Davis and Rae will take the team to Cyprus for Thursday’s Europa League group game with Aris Limassol and will likely remain in charge for the trip to face unbeaten St Mirren on Sunday.


Speaking earlier in the day, former Rangers striker Kenny Miller said he expected Beale to be in charge for those matches but acknowledged that “a lot of fans need to be turned”.

“It’s a long way back, even at this stage,” he told Sportsound. “There are questions to be answered and it is the job of the board to analyse without emotion, to make calm, sensible decisions that are right for the future of the club.”

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