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We found 49 teams

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Ash Rangers »
Lyngford Road, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Ash Rovers Junior Youth (Mini) »
Male, Female, U10, U9
Avishayes Combe Youth (Mini) »
Avishayes Road, Chard, Somerset
Male, Female, U10, U9
Barleycelona Blues »
Courtland Road, Wellington, Somerset
Adult Male
Bbh »
Casias Close, Highbridge Road, Burnham-On-Sea
Adult Male
Blackbrook Youth »
Adult Male
Blackbrook Youth Mini »
Male, Female, U8
Blackhorse »
Hamilton Road, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Bridgwater College Ability Counts »
College Way, Bridgwater
Adult Male
Bridgwater College Ability Counts Junior »
Adult Male
Bridgwater Town (1984) »
Male, U18
Bridgwater Victoria Park Rangers(Mini) »
Adult Male, Adult Female
Bridgwater Wanderers »
Kendale Road, Bridgwater, Somerset
Adult Male
Burnham Athletic Juniors Youth »
Cassis Close, Burnham On Sea, Somerset
Adult Male
Burnham United Junior (Mini) »
Cassis Close, Burnham On Sea, Somerset
Male, Female, U10, U9, U8, U7
Cannington »
Adult Male
Chard Rangers »
C/O Chard Town Council, Holyrood Lace Mill, Chard
Adult Male
Chard Town »
Zembard Lane, Chard, Somerset
Male, U18
Crewkerne Town »
Adult Male
D B United »
?, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Hamilton Hawks »
Hamilton Road, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Highbridge Town »
Southwell Gardens, Southwell Crescent, Highbridge
Adult Male
Kick »
Staplegrove Road, Taunton
Adult Male
Langport Town Youth »
Langport, , Somerset
Male, U13
Locomotives »
Cleve Road, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Marketeers »
Kendale Road, Bridgwater, Somerset
Adult Male
Martock United »
Stoke Road, Martock, Somerset
Adult Male
Merriott United »
Broadway, Merriott, Somerset
Male, U15, U14, U13
Merriott Youth Girls »
Broadway, Merriott, Somerset
Female, U15, U12, U11
Montacute »
Adult Male
Pawlett United »
Adult Male
Pegasus »
Victoria Gate, East Reach, Taunton
Adult Male
Perry Street Youth »
Chard, , Somerset
Male, U14, U12, U11
Rhode Lane Wanderers »
Cranleigh Gardens, Bridgwater, Somerset
Adult Male
Somerset Youth Xi »
Wordsworth Drive, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Spaxton »
Adult Male
Spaxton Junior (Mini) »
Male, Female, U9, U8
Staplegrove Youth »
Male, U16, U15, U13, U12
Stoke Sub Hamdon Working Mens »
West Street, Stoke Sub Hamdon, Somerset
Adult Male
Stoke Youth (Mini) »
Matts Lane, Stoke Sub Hamdon, Somerset
Male, Female, U9, U8, U7
Stoke Youth Junior »
Stoke Sub Hamden, Somerset
Adult Male
Taunton Town »
Wordsworth Drive, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Taunton Wolves »
Adult Male
Taverners »
Hamilton Road, Taunton, Somerset
Adult Male
Tiger Old Boys »
Adult Male
Wembdon »
Bridgwater, Somerset
Adult Male
Westford Rangers »
Blackbrook Way, Taunton, Taunton
Adult Male
White Hart Rangers »
Victoria Gate, East Reach, Taunton
Adult Male
Yeovil Town Ladies Youth Mini »
Adult Male, Adult Female

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Football News

» Ben Chilwell reveals Chelsea dressing room's reaction to Mauricio Pochettino exit
Mauricio Pochettino parted company with Chelsea after guiding the Blues to sixth in the Premier League, with the news apparently taking the dressing room by surprise
» Man Utd news: Mauricio Pochettino 'talks held' as transfer update comes to light
Manchester United ended the season with silverware after winning the FA Cup, but the future of manager Erik ten Hag is still unclear ahead of the club's end of year review
» Liverpool news: Arne Slot hailed as Barcelona eye ambitious Luis Diaz transfer
Liverpool are set to kick off a new era under Arne Slot and they are expected to be busy in the transfer market over the summer, with several incomings and outgoings likely
» Arsenal news: Gunners to discuss deal with forgotten man amid race for Desire Doue
Arsenal are preparing for the 2024/25 season and with the summer transfer window just around the corner, Mikel Arteta and Edu have plenty to ponder in the coming weeks
» Erik ten Hag told he deserves to be sacked by Man Utd for 'failing too many times'
Erik ten Hag guided Manchester United to victory in the FA Cup final this weekend, but former England midfielder Danny Murphy believes the Red Devils should still sack him
» Man Utd dressing room sends letter to fans as 'club holds talks with Mauricio Pochettino'
The letter was published on the club's website and signed by all 28 squad members and Erik ten Hag, whose long-term future at United is the subject of much speculation
» Lionel Messi no-show sees rival MLS team offer out free tickets and Inter Miami boss apologise
Barcelona icon Lionel Messi was a notable absentee as Inter Miami took on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, with the home fans left a little more than frustrated
» Russell Martin proud of Southampton promotion as he admits 'I wasn't a sexy appointment'
Adam Armstrong scored the only goal with his 24th of the season at Wembley and Russell Martin thanked Southampton majority owner Dragan Solak and his board for believing in him
» Pep Guardiola makes Jack Grealish prediction after admitting he has 'struggled'
Manchester City star Jack Grealish was an unused substitute for the FA Cup final and played just ten minutes in May since his last start at Nottingham Forest on April 28
» Pep Guardiola predicts summer exodus at Man City as Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson near exit
Pep Guardiola has also warned that Manchester City cannot be expected to win Doubles and Trebles every single season after their disappointment in losing the FA Cup final
» Pep Guardiola 'set to leave Man City' after final day admission shocked fans
Pep Guardiola is preparing for his exit at Manchester City after securing a fourth straight Premier League title, with the 53-year-old decided on his departure date
» Man Utd outcast Mason Greenwood releases statement on future ahead of transfer window
Manchester United outcast Mason Greenwood thanked the Getafe supporters for 'welcoming him as one of their own' now that his loan spell in La Liga has come to an end
» Virgil van Dijk agrees with Trent Alexander-Arnold on Arne Slot's biggest challenge
Arne Slot is about to take over the reins from Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold have spoken about the challenge facing the Dutchman
» England fans' fury over huge £556 'rip-off' charges to camp in one of Euro 2024 host cities
The £556 bill is for posh glamping accommodation at Gelsenkirchen - but even if fans take their own tent, it will still cost up to £128 a night
» Six Championship stars who could be snapped up by Premier League clubs
Leeds United will remain in the Championship next season after losing the play-off final - and some of their top stars, alongside those from other clubs, will be targeted by the Premier League
» Man Utd's Harry Maguire wastes no time trolling Leeds after they lose play-off final
Harry Maguire has enjoyed a good weekend, with Manchester United's win in the FA Cup final followed by a defeat for Leeds United in the Championship play-off final
» Russell Martin's gameplan was perfect as Southampton subject Leeds to more play-off misery
In monsoon conditions ideal for calling a General Election without a brolly, Adam Armstrong's sabre-like finish restored Southampton to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
» Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth's investment backfires as football team loses £150m game
Leeds United's array of celebrity owners were left disappointed on Sunday as Daniel Farke's team failed to rise to the occasion against Southampton in the Championship play-off final
» Leeds face Graham Potter conundrum in bid to avoid repeat of 14-year Premier League misery
The big question for Leeds is whether they stick with Daniel Farke and rebuild for another promotion tilt under him or will they go for someone else - and they are big fans of Graham Potter
» Adam Armstrong breaks Leeds' hearts to fire Southampton to Premier League - 6 talking points
LEEDS 0-1 SOUTHAMPTON: Adam Armstrong notched his 24th and most important goal of the season to propel Russell Martin's side back into the Premier League at the first time of asking
» Kobbie Mainoo's injury torment and how Man Utd star showed top mindset while sidelined
Manchester United starlet Kobbie Mainoo was out injured for four months last year, and decided to spend the period learning a new language
» Liverpool's stance crystal clear after Barcelona hold Luis Diaz transfer meeting
Luis Diaz is a key transfer target for Barcelona this summer and sporting director Deco has already held productive talks with the Colombian winger's representatives
» 'I wanted Leeds transfer but didn't enjoy it – some of things fans said were disrespectful'
One former Leeds United star has confessed how he was forced to leave the club due to abuse he received from supporters - and it worked out for the better as he claimed a piece of history
» Sofyan Amrabat issues update on Man Utd transfer with secret clause set to be triggered
Manchester United loanee Sofyan Amrabat has made it clear that he would like to stay at the club on a permanent basis, although it remains to be seen if that will happen
From

Other sport news:

» Southampton promoted to Premier League by beating Leeds in playoff final

Southampton’s squad ventured to the Isle of Wight for a get-together at the end of the regular season, where the majority owner, Dragan Solak, who dragged his fingernails down his face during the final minutes at Wembley, promised they would have the party of their lives if they sealed promotion.

The chances are those celebrations will take place somewhere more salubrious after Adam Armstrong’s goal secured Southampton a return to the Premier League at the first attempt, via a typically fraught Championship playoff final.

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» FA Cup final triumph a fitting last act of defiance for embattled Erik ten Hag | David Hytner

Manchester United have endured crisis after crisis this season but their head coach will always have Wembley glory

It was one of the great shows of ego and defiance, pure theatre, pure Louis van Gaal. As another embattled Manchester United manager from the Netherlands found himself in the same position, it was impossible to ignore the echoes. Erik ten Hag’s delivery was different, more measured and understated. But, like Van Gaal before him, he had entered the arena for a fight. He made his punches count.

“I show you the Cup,” Van Gaal said in 2016 after leading United to victory against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final as he headed for the sack; he was informed of the decision 24 hours later. Van Gaal strode into the Wembley press conference room with the trophy, which he set down on the end of the desk before repositioning it bang in front of him after he took his seat.

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» Five talking points from the Women’s Champions League final

Alexia Putellas returns to the big time, Chelsea get a taste of what Sonia Bompastor is about and Lyon struggle for numbers

Long live the queen. It took only three minutes after coming on, deep into injury time, for Alexia Putellas to seal Barcelona’s 2-0 victory against Lyon. The 30‑year‑old has played a bit‑part role since her anterior cruciate ligament injury on the eve of the 2022 European Championship but her influence still runs through the club with an unmatched intensity. Putellas’s new contract is well deserved; the roar of the crowd when she stood on the sidelines ready to come on rivalled those for the goals. Barcelona with Putellas back at her best should strike fear through every European club with Champions League ambitions.

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» Double is just the start of the journey for evolving Bayer Leverkusen | Andy Brassell

Die Werkself lost the Europa League final but ended season with two trophies and belief things will only get better

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. They had shown they could fall with the finishing line in sight – and how – to Zinedine Zidane’s famous, thunderous left-footer at Hampden Park, or to a rampant Bayern Munich in the mid-Covid DFB Pokal final in Berlin. For a more modern twist you could even throw in last year’s Europa League semi-final under Xabi Alonso’s command, in which José Mourinho and Roma miraculously survived a barrage in the BayArena (23 Leverkusen shots to Roma’s one). Not this season, though.

The greatest testament to Bayer Leverkusen’s extraordinary season is that losing Wednesday’s Europa League final in Dublin (and comprehensively at that) to Atalanta felt like the shock, rather than Die Werkself getting there in the first place to fluff their lines. Fifty-one games unbeaten up until that point doesn’t quite do it justice. Alonso’s side have been a juggernaut, trampling all in their way and, on the occasions they have found themselves behind, eventually reeling in their opponents with increasing inevitability. The later-than-late equalisers and winners against Stuttgart, Borussia Dortmund, Qarabag, Roma – the list goes on on – had the feel of one of the giants of Europe making gravity count, rather than an upstart, first-time champion, as they were in this season’s Bundesliga.

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» ‘He will be back’: Pep Guardiola expects Jack Grealish to rediscover form
  • England international an unused substitute in FA Cup final
  • Guardiola lauds ‘incredible’ progress of Jérémy Doku

Pep Guardiola has insisted Jack ­Grealish will bounce back from a ­disappointing season that ended with him left as an unused ­substitute in Manchester City’s last three matches, including the FA Cup final defeat against Manchester United on Saturday.

Grealish started only 20 Premier League games and scored three goals, though his campaign was disrupted by a dead leg and a groin problem. Jérémy Doku started ahead of the winger in City’s 3-1 victory against West Ham that sealed the Premier League title and with Guardiola’s side 2-0 behind at half-time against Manchester United at Wembley, the manager ignored Grealish again and brought on the Belgian instead.

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» European football: Barcelona beat Sevilla in bittersweet farewell for Xavi
  • Frosinone relegated from Serie A after late Empoli goal
  • Galatasary and Club Brugge win titles in Turkey and Belgium

Barcelona ended the season with a 2-1 victory at Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday, making Xavi Hernández’s farewell bittersweet after a trophyless season in which they finished 10 points behind Real Madrid.

The final game for Xavi, who was sacked on Friday, leaves Barça second after a disappointing campaign in which they lost the Spanish Super Cup final to Real Madrid and were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight.

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» ‘Don’t lose who we are’: Russell Martin to stick with Saints style in Premier League
  • ‘I love what we do and I’m not going to change’
  • Southampton promoted after playoff win against Leeds

Russell Martin insisted Southampton will not shift styles on their return to the Premier League after victory in the Championship playoff final and vowed to prove any sceptics wrong. Saints sealed an instant return to the top flight after Adam Armstrong’s first-half strike was sufficient to beat Leeds and ­Martin said he plans to stick with his ­possession-based philosophy.

Martin, who captained Norwich to the Premier League via the playoff final nine years ago, has developed his style since taking his first steps into coaching in League One with MK Dons. He was tasked with earning promotion after leaving ­Swansea to take charge at Southampton last ­summer and revealed his first ­promotion as a manager was “the best feeling I’ve had in football”.

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» Ross County breeze past Raith Rovers to seal Scottish Premiership survival

Simon Murray scored a terrific double as Ross County secured Premiership survival with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate victory over Raith Rovers, winning 4-0 at the Global Energy Stadium.

The Staggies led 2-1 from the first leg at Stark’s Park on Thursday night and added to that advantage in the 19th minute when Murray headed home his 22nd goal of the season.

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» Farke endures misery of Leeds’ playoff curse in swift Saints resurrection | John Brewin

Defeat added to club’s horrible history at Wembley and in end of season deciders leaving an uncertain economic reality

This actually does mean more. There is no other way to cut a playoff final than its division between success and failure. Tears flow either from happiness or sorrow. There can be no in-between. Any pride in defeat will be swallowed by desolation.

Such is the cruelty and beauty of the format. Wonderful to win, awful to lose, something akin to a blood sport voyeur event to the neutral. If rising to such occasions writes club legends, freezing can banish participants to infamy. Defeat added to Leeds’s horrible history at both Wembley and the playoffs.

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» Manchester City misfire as Haaland flops on big stage once again | Barney Ronay

Guardiola picked an odd-looking team and the striker personified a hungover performance from the champions

Before kick-off at a lovely soft sunlit Wembley Stadium, Manchester City’s fans turned their backs and engaged in a mass Cup final Poznan. At the final whistle there was a strange, optical echo of that moment. Here we had an anti-Poznan, the Poznan of departures, as the backs of the blue shirts were once again turned, this time heading towards the stairs and out along the gloomy grey Wembley concourses.

Fans never stick around at the end of a losing final. Many did so here just long enough to applaud the City players after what is still a champion season. And this always was a weird, through-the-looking-glass FA Cup final. It ended with the leaky-roof billion-dollar underdogs beating the remarkably efficient government outreach project, which is some way short of culture clubs and crazy gangs but we work with what we have.

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» Jonatan Giráldez leaves Barcelona’s women on highest of notes | Sophie Downey

US-bound coach won 10 trophies in three years in Catalonia, completed by the Champions League final win over Lyon

Fairytale endings rarely exist but sometimes in football, the script really does write itself. Jonatan Giráldez signed off on his three-year managerial career in Spain as his all-conquering Barcelona team lifted back-to-back Champions League trophies. It was the 10th piece of silverware that “Las Reinas” of both Spain and Europe have won under his time in charge, a side surely worthy of the “dynasty” accolade.

Barcelona’s supremacy did not start with Giráldez but his impact on this side’s journey is undeniable. The 32-year-old was Lluís Cortés’s assistant when they secured their first treble and inaugural Women’s Champions League title and he has continued that culture of winning with dominance both at home and on the European stage.

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» ‘Perfect next step’: Wayne Rooney confirmed as Plymouth Argyle manager
  • Championship club will be his fourth time in charge
  • Rooney was sacked by Birmingham in January

Wayne Rooney has said accepting the Plymouth job is the “perfect next step” in his management career, with the former England captain thought to have signed a three-year contract as head coach of the Championship club.

Rooney returns to coaching after a chastening mid-season spell in charge of Birmingham, who were relegated to League One this month. The 38-year-old endured a difficult 83-day reign at Birmingham, where he lost nine of his 15 league matches. Plymouth finished 21st in the second tier and avoided relegation at Birmingham’s expense on the final day. Argyle will represent his fourth managerial job, after Derby, DC United and Birmingham.

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» Crystal Palace co-owner wants to sell stake and ponders Everton investment
  • John Textor wants to offload 45% stake in Premier League club
  • US businessman would consider chance to invest in Everton

Crystal Palace’s co-owner John Textor has confirmed he is attempting to sell his stake in the club and would consider investing in Everton.

The US businessman, who also has shareholdings in Lyon, Botafogo and Molenbeek via his Eagle Football Holdings company, has been exploring the sale of his 45% stake in Palace for some time and has appointed the investment banking firm Raine to find a buyer.

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» Celtic win Scottish Cup after Idah sinks Rangers with late strike to clinch double

This dramatic conclusion to the Old Firm’s season was to prove a tale of two former England goalkeepers. For Joe Hart, glory in his last match as a professional. Hart cried tears of joy as the whistle blew. Jack Butland had little to occupy him over 98 minutes; the Rangers ­custodian’s error in the dying seconds of regulation time afforded Celtic the sole opportunity they needed to claim the Scottish Cup. Butland was the most despondent figure of all as Celtic partied.

This felt cruel for Butland, who has been Rangers’ stand-out performer in this campaign. His form led to talk of an ­international recall. But there is no ­denying the 31-year-old was at fault when only parrying Paulo Bernardo’s drive to the feet of Adam Idah. The Norwich loanee etched his name into Celtic folklore by returning the ball past Butland with interest. Brendan Rodgers has secured a domestic ­double in the first season of his second Celtic tenure.

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» Bonmatí and Putellas fire Barcelona to Champions League glory against Lyon

Bilbao is used to being decorated in stripes, the flags of their beloved Athletic Club hang from every other window, but on Saturday the city found itself swamped in less familiar colours, Barcelona’s red and blue filling every bar and populating every square as travelling fans celebrated beating Lyon in a Champions League final at the third time of asking.

It was their talismanic duo, the playmaker Aitana Bonmatí and their superstar Alexia Putellas, who delivered in front of 50,827 fans. Bonmatí’s effort took a deflection off Vanessa Gilles to take it past Christiane Endler shortly after the hour mark, before Putellas added the second three minutes after coming on deep into added time. It was deserved, the French champions were unable to handle the guile of the world’s best passers of the ball who secured a historic quadruple.

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» Former Premier League referee banned for five months over abusive comments
  • Rodger Gifford made jokes about black assistant’s skin colour
  • Gifford was observer at second-round FA Cup tie in Newport

A former Premier League referee has been banned from all football-related activity for five months after telling a black assistant referee that he couldn’t see him in the dark. Rodger Gifford was working as a referee observer for Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) when he made the remarks after the second-round FA Cup tie between Newport County and Barnet on 2 December 2023.

According to several witnesses, Gifford made jokes about his colleague’s skin colour during a post-match debrief. One account, from the match referee, described Gifford talking about the darkness in parts of the stadium and saying: “It was lucky that you were not over there as assistant referee as we wouldn’t have been able to see you. If you smiled though, we would be able to see your teeth.”

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» Barcelona plan to hire Hansi Flick as coach after telling Xavi his time is up
  • Club announce Xavi’s last game will be at Sevilla on Sunday
  • Xavi was due to stay until at least 2025 after U-turn in April

Barcelona intend to make Hansi Flick their new coach after announcing that Xavi Hernández will leave after the season’s final game on Sunday. The president, Joan Laporta, informed Xavi of his fate in a meeting at the training ground on Friday.

Barcelona have been talking to Flick for months and although the German’s camp denied there had been a meeting in London this week with the coach, his agent Pini Zahavi and the club’s sporting director Deco, an agreement has been put in place for the former Bayern Munich and Germany manager to take over. The B team coach, Rafa Márquez, has been suggested as an alternative.

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» Manchester United rediscover their identity in Red Devil redemption | Jonathan Liew

Erik ten Hag may be heading for the exit, but United’s FA Cup final display was the blueprint for how they should be playing

They were still out there an hour later, catching the last few rays of evening sunshine, wringing out this moment for every last drop of joy in it. Everyone wanted a go with the trophy. Some simply hoisted it like a kettlebell. Some hugged it close like a child. There was a time when Manchester United would win these finals, pose for photos and disappear back up the M6. Not now. Everyone knows how precious these moments are, how rarely they can come along, how closely they need to be treasured.

And at the end of this Red Devil redemption, Erik ten Hag sought out the two men responsible. In fact many men had authored this triumph, from the brutal Bruno Fernandes to the indomitable Lisandro Martínez to the inspired André Onana. But Ten Hag wanted a few moments alone with Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo. Ballers; cup final scorers; Wembley heroes; teenagers. Ten Hag clasped them around the ears, ruffled their hair, beamed at them like a proud dad about to go off to war.

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» Cold, hard money has whittled potential Champions League winners to a rich few | Jonathan Wilson

It is 20 years since Porto beat Monaco in the final – European football’s landscape has changed dramatically since then

When Porto beat Monaco to win the Champions League in 2004, it felt like the start of a new era. And for José Mourinho, it was. He had won the Uefa Cup the previous season, but that success in Gelsenkirchen was his springboard to points records at Chelsea, a treble with Internazionale and his titanic struggles with Pep Guardiola when he was at Real Madrid. For two decades he has sulked and pouted his way around Europe, and for at least half of that time he was remarkably successful. But for European football as a whole that final marked the end of something.

In the previous 20 years, the competition had been a genuinely pan-European affair, with winners coming from nine different countries; in the 20 years since, there has been only one finalist from outside the big four of Spain, England, Germany and Italy – and that was Paris Saint-Germain, whose financial clout has very little to do with the general position of French football.

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» Erik ten Hag reminds Manchester United of what could have been | Jamie Jackson

The 2-1 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup final was proof of what the Dutchman can do with a fit squad

Erik ten Hag: the manager Manchester United are poised to sack despite the same record of two trophies in two seasons as Pep Guardiola had at the start of his Manchester City tenure.

Football, bloody hell, or football, the quaintest of old games, because with a squad near to full fitness for the first time in an age, Ten Hag showed what he can do, which was a Roy of the Rovers-esque 2-1 victory that broke City hearts, claimed the FA Cup for United, and was the sweetest of ripostes to the 54-year-old’s naysayers.

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» Lack of wise old heads is thrusting talented but callow coaches towards elite jobs | John Brewin

The problem for clubs desperate for a new head coach is there is no young Ancelotti, Klopp nor Guardiola on the market

For an elite club, what constitutes the ideal candidate for a managerial vacancy? The checklist includes the following: progressive football, preferably the pressing approach; adaptability to different cultures; previous elite experience with silverware favoured; HR expertise within an organisational structure where managing upwards is key. And in English football at least, a charismatic carnival-barker act with the media is still favoured while the increasingly powerful sporting director class remain publicly silent.

That Arne Slot will carry the title of head coach at Anfield is pertinent; Jürgen Klopp was – definitively – Liverpool’s manager. But now the club’s football operations are headed by Michael Edwards, assisted by Julian Ward, successive former sporting directors who both returned once the German’s departure was announced.

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» Why there are no winners in sorry story of Xavi’s exit from Barcelona

Knives finally came out for coach who signed new deal in September, resigned in January and made U-turn in April

Parco on Passeig de Gràcia does the best sushi in Catalonia, or at least the most famous. If the Vatican has white smoke, FC Barcelona had a delivery boy in a white helmet getting off his motorbike and pressing the buzzer at Joan Laporta’s penthouse flat near the top end of Diagonal. It was just before 11pm on 24 April and he held in his hand an embossed brown paper bag containing the takeaway which in that instant became a symbol of celebration and agreement, the scene excitedly broadcast live. The restaurant had free publicity and Barcelona had a new coach, same as the old one.

For a couple of hours the crowd outside had seen people arrive, a show played out in public the way they wanted it. It had started at San Joan Despí, the outcome uncertain, but they had decamped to the president’s place. Outside, journalists watched Xavi turn up, reverse into a parking space too small, pull out again and go in search of another. They had seen Deco, the sporting director; Rafa Yuste, the vice-president; and Alejandro Echevarría, who doesn’t have a post but does have a lot of weight. They had seen Bojan Krkic by the intercom. There had been the occasional false alarm too. But now they knew.

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» Big Sir Jim and his Old Trafford problem: just don’t let public money pay to fix it | Barney Ronay

United’s part-owner has power and influence but getting taxpayers to up the value of his asset is hopefully beyond him

There’s an advert on TV at the moment for generically going somewhere on a train. It doesn’t matter when or to what end. Just travel on a train. Go anywhere. Just do it.

This seems a bit odd in a time of diffuse, franchised operators. But adverts for general “things” were common in the last century, when even in asset-stripped, organ-harvested Britain a lot of the things-infrastructure was still publicly controlled.

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» 'When they don't want me I will hear it': Ten Hag tight-lipped on future after FA Cup win – video

Erik ten Hag refused to give any answers on his future as Manchester United manager after his side beat their local rivals Manchester City 2-1 to win the FA Cup. Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo scored in the first half to give United victory over an uncharacteristically poor City side but Ten Hag was unmoved when asked about his future. 'When they don't want me I will hear it,' he said after the match. 'When I took over it was a mess at United. We are on out way to constructing a team for the future and that will go with ups and downs.'

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» Julen Lopetegui looks to create 'a new shape of football' at West Ham – video

The new West Ham manager, Julen Lopetegui, is looking to 'create a new shape of football' at the club by putting his own 'stamp and style' on the team. Lopetegui admitted to arguing with with the techincal director, Tim Steidten, over the club's direction but insisted everything was now cleared up. The 57 year old will take over from David Moyes and said is fully committed to the east London club, having chosen the job over other offers.

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» Why did Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino go their separate ways? – video

The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg explains why Mauricio Pochettino has left Chelsea by mutual consent after just one season as manager at Stamford Bridge. Pochettino endured a troubled campaign hampered by injuries; however, he still managed to drag Chelsea to an improved finish on last season. Steinberg argues that Chelsea 'had certain misgivings' and never truly brought into Pochettino, while the former Tottenham manager 'wasn't convinced about the project and the players'.

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» How Manchester City won four in a row and what comes next – video explainer

Manchester City have won their seventh Premier League title, and fourth in a row, after a 3-1 victory against West Ham on the final day of the season. The Guardian's Manchester football correspondent, Jamie Jackson, looks at how City won this historic title without hitting their absolute best, and ahead to the next season as City brace themselves for the verdict on the pending 115 Premier League charges

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» End of an era: Emma Hayes leaves Chelsea after 12 transformative years – video

Emma Hayes has left her role as Chelsea Women’s manager after 12 years as she gets set to become the head coach of the USWNT. Hayes is widely regarded as one of the most influential managers in the women’s game. Her 12-year tenure at Chelsea has brought unprecedented success. After taking the job in 2012, she can be credited with transforming the club’s fortunes, building a winning structure on and off the pitch. Over more than a decade, she has led her team to six WSL titles, five Women’s FA Cups, two Continental Cups, the Spring Series, a Community Shield victory and a Champions League final. She was awarded an MBE and OBE in 2016 and 2022 respectively, while she was named the Best Fifa women’s football coach in 2021 and the WSL manager of the season on six occasions.

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» 'I can't believe it': Chelsea women win fifth consecutive WSL title – video

Chelsea women have won their fifth Women’s Super League title in a row on goal difference with a 6-0 victory at Manchester United. This was Emma Hayes' final game before she leaves to take over the US women’s national team. Hayes spoke about how hard it is to keep winning but thanked her team for everything they have done for her and for the club.

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» Vincent Kompany agrees deal to become Bayern Munich head coach
  • Compensation of £10.2m will be paid to Burnley for head coach
  • Belgian chosen to replace Tuchel despite relegation in England

Bayern Munich have agreed a three-year deal with Vincent Kompany to take over as head coach.

A fee of £10.2m will be paid to Burnley to bring the 38-year-old to the Allianz Arena, where he will succeed Thomas Tuchel in the top job. The Bundesliga club failed in their attempts to convince the German to stay after a run to the Champions League semi-finals and were forced to search elsewhere for a replacement.

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» European football: Xhaka seals double for Leverkusen; PSG clinch treble
  • Bundesliga champions pip Kaiserslautern 1-0 in DFB-Pokal final
  • Dembélé and Ruiz earn PSG 2-1 win over Lyon in Coupe de France

Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen battled past second division Kaiserslautern 1-0 on Saturday to win the German Cup and secure the club’s first ever domestic double.

Leverkusen missed out on a treble after losing 3-0 to Atalanta in the Europa League final on Wednesday in their first defeat of the season after a European record 51-game unbeaten run.

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» David Squires on … the A-League Men grand final and a fleeting visit from St Ange

Our cartoonist takes a look at the weekend’s title decider between the Mariners and Melbourne Victory on the Central Coast

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» Central Coast seal historic treble in grand final thriller against Melbourne Victory
  • Mariners beat Victory 3-1 (AET) in A-League Men decider
  • Edmondson scored 91st-minute equaliser to keep hopes alive

As Alex King’s whistle rang out at Industree Group Stadium, there was no amount of security or barriers on Earth that could have held them back. The Central Coast Mariners’ supporters, apostles clad in blue and yellow, streamed onto the pitch, unable to contain their joy. Their side had just written themselves into history, defeating Melbourne Victory 3-1 in Saturday evening’s A-League Men grand final and securing a historic treble of AFC Cup, premiership and now championship.

It was a remarkable win. An incredible comeback that almost defies explanation. But that the Mariners still exist at all is perhaps something of a minor miracle, so maybe the nature of this win shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

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» US investment firm seizes control of Inter after missed payment from Chinese owners
  • Suning’s loan was guaranteed by stake in Italian club
  • Inter become seventh Serie A club with US owners

The United States-based investment fund Oaktree Capital Management said on Wednesday it has become the new owner of Serie A champions Inter after a missed $428m (£336m) payment from the club’s Chinese holding company, Suning.

Granted in 2021 to the Luxembourg-based vehicle through which the Chinese conglomerate Suning controlled Inter, the loan was guaranteed by the firm’s stake in the club. Under the scheme, Oaktree had the right to take control of the club in the event of a default.

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» Melbourne Victory assume antagonist role in bid to spoil Mariners’ treble tilt | Joey Lynch

Central Coast are on the cusp of making history in the A-League Men grand final but their opponents will not mind being the bad guys

For a moment, forget that it is Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory meeting in this season’s A-League Men grand final. Instead, pretend that Team A and Team B will clash in Gosford this Saturday evening for the right to call themselves “champions”. A land of imagination and fantasy. Kind of like the A-League’s uneven fixturing.

Team A are the defending champions, seeking to end the 2023-24 season with a historic treble of a continental crown, league premiership, and second successive league grand final victory. They finished the regular season 13 points clear of Team B on the ladder, with more wins and a better goal difference than any other club. They haven’t lost to their grand final opponents since March 2023 and will have a sold-out home crowd at their backs.

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» Claudio Ranieri leaves Cagliari amid reports of retirement from football
  • ‘It was a hard and painful decision, but I think it is right’
  • The 72-year-old has kept Cagliari in Serie A this season

Claudio Ranieri will leave his job as the Cagliari coach by mutual agreement, the Serie A club said on Tuesday, as local media reported that the 72-year-old was set to retire from football. The announcement came after Cagliari guaranteed themselves another season in the Italian top flight with a win at Sassuolo on Sunday.

Sky Sports Italia reported that Cagliari will be Ranieri’s final team, as he has decided to retire from football. The Italian coach, who had previously managed Cagliari from 1988-91, had one year remaining on his contract after joining the club last season and leading them to promotion from Serie B.

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» Third-tier playoff match in Israel sets penalty shootout record with 56 kicks
  • SC Dimona defeated Shimshon Tel Aviv 23-22
  • Previous record of 54 penalties was set in England in 2022

Israel’s SC Dimona and Shimshon Tel Aviv have set a world record for the longest penalty shootout, with 56 kicks.

Their semi-final promotion playoff in the third tier finished 2-2 after extra time, leading to penalties.

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» Canada coach Jesse Marsch: ‘Will MLS owners dictate selection? Come on man!’

The American is in charge of his country’s northern rivals after a deal with Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal’s MLS teams. He says it won’t affect his job

Until very recently, Jesse Marsch had plenty of time. The clock didn’t crunch, it ticked. Not now. He has landed in another country, this time Spain, checked into another hotel room and has to get refreshed for a dinner date.

That it is Cyle Larin, the Real Mallorca striker and Canada’s record male goalscorer, who will be joining him for the meal hints at why time has become a precious commodity in Marsch’s world.

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» David Squires on … an emotional end to the 2023-24 Premier League season

Our cartoonist on the final weekend in England’s top flight, including more glory for Pep Guardiola and some big-name exits

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» Premier League 2023-24 review: our writers’ best and worst

The best managers, finest signings and most dramatic matches – plus the biggest flops and greatest gripes of the season

Martin Ødegaard and Declan Rice were the driving forces in Arsenal’s midfield that pushed Manchester City all the way, and William Saliba excelled in the division’s meanest defence while barely breaking sweat. The blistering late-season form of Cole Palmer, Ollie Watkins and Michael Olise also deserve a mention, although it’s hard to look past City’s two most influential players this season: Phil Foden and Rodri. Foden came of age in the lengthy absence of an injured Kevin De Bruyne and has deservedly been crowned player of the year by the Premier League and Football Writers’ Association. Rodri was mystifyingly left off the shortlist for the former but his achievement of going the season unbeaten in a City shirt, other than in a game lost in a shootout, underlined his importance to everything they do. Ed Aarons

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» Were our Premier League pre-season predictions accurate? Not exactly

Before the season began we predicted where all 20 teams would finish. We were right about three of them

What we predicted: As the favourites to be champions again, for a record fourth successive season, attrition may be a greater foe than Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool or Newcastle. Rodri will step up as a new leader; Jack Grealish is the team’s folk hero and Kalvin Phillips is one to watch this season.

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» Premier League 2023-24 review: players of the season

We select some contenders for the best performer in the top flight – and invite you to have your say

He was hailed as a signing of the season this time last year, and such was the brightness of the future predicted for Isak that Newcastle fans will have been of a mind to wear shades. A key player in the team that secured fourth place last term, the Swedish striker has flourished as one of several standout players for Eddie Howe in an often difficult campaign this time around, when injuries to key personnel and the lengthy ban handed down to Sandro Tonali meant many Newcastle players were running on fumes. In his second season on Tyneside, Isak has 21 league goals, more than double the tally of 10 in the last campaign, while also chipping in with important contributions in the FA Cup and Champions League. As at home feinting to sit defenders on their backsides or sending them skidding into the car park as he is cutting in from the left or sprinting in behind, it’s no surprise the 24-year-old, who has been likened to Thierry Henry, is being linked with a move to Arsenal. His current employers may have to reluctantly sell him to stay on top of those pesky profit and sustainability rules.

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» The 100 best male footballers in the world 2023

Erling Haaland has been voted the best player in the world for 2023 by our 218-strong panel, with Jude Bellingham finishing second

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» The 100 best female footballers in the world 2023

Aitana Bonmatí, Sam Kerr and Salma Paralluelo top the list of female footballers in the world in 2023 according to our judges

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» Erling Haaland voted the world’s best player – and he’s just getting started | Niall McVeigh

The Norwegian is only 23 but his devastating goal record has seen him voted as the No 1 player in the world by the Guardian’s expert panel

When Pep Guardiola tearfully claimed Manchester City could not replace the departing Sergio Agüero in May 2021, he didn’t just create a meme. Guardiola was soft-launching a global audition for his team’s new attacking talisman. An unsuccessful pursuit of Harry Kane in the summer of 2021 came between two title-winning seasons where Ilkay Gündogan (13) and Kevin De Bruyne (15) were the club’s top league goalscorers. Guardiola’s slick creative machine needed a new front man, and they found him in Erling Haaland.

Like Agüero before him – and in contrast to many of City’s most successful Pep-era signings – Haaland arrived as a bona fide superstar, a plug-and-play addition to an already stellar lineup. Whether he was a bargain is another question. The release clause paid was €60m (£51.2m), but some reports suggest Haaland’s five-year deal could cost the club in the region of £300m. And while there was an ominous logic to the move for City’s rivals, questions remained.

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» Spain and Barcelona lead way in women’s football after year of success | Rich Laverty

Aitana Bonmatí the clear winner of the Guardian’s best 100 female footballers in the world with 15 Spaniards on the list

After Alexia Putellas reigned in 2021 and 2022, her Barcelona and Spain teammate Aitana Bonmatí has been crowned the top female footballer of 2023 by the Guardian’s panel of 112 experts. The World Cup winner triumphed by a clear margin, finishing more than 500 points ahead of second-placed Sam Kerr.

Injuries and a World Cup meant there was a definite changing of the guard feel to this year’s list, sadly emphasised by the fact last year’s top two – Putellas and Beth Mead – missed a large chunk of our 12-month voting period with ACL injuries.

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» Mauricio Pochettino paid the price of rocking Todd Boehly’s boat at Chelsea | Jacob Steinberg

The Argentinian’s great mistake was failing to realise that this is not a club conditioned to serve a manager

It would have been different if Mauricio Pochettino had been willing to trust Chelsea’s great restructuring is going to work. In the end, the problem for the Argentinian was that he joined a club who do not want a manager who has all the power. It is clear by now that anyone who hopes to last under Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital has to collaborate with the board on everything, be open-minded about constructive criticism and remember not to rock the boat too much when it comes to recruitment.

Unfortunately that was never going to be Pochettino – just as it was never going to be Thomas Tuchel, who lasted seven games before being fired. Pochettino is 52. He is a big, magnetic character and an experienced coach who believes his way is best. He was never going to listen to suggestions that he could ease Chelsea’s injury problems by reviewing and altering his training methods.

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» Billionaires and banter wars: modern football’s script is stuck on repeat | Barney Ronay

Unusual storylines are growing ever rarer due to the influence of the super-rich and nation states in our national game

Admit it, when Erik ten Hag walked out holding a microphone after Manchester United’s final home game on Wednesday night you also thought he was going to start saying things like “Your job now is to support the new manager”, before marching off to write books containing anecdotes about Richard Branson.

In the event the most notable part of Ten Hag’s speech was how convincing he is when he frowns into a mic and says things. Ten Hag could stab himself in the eye with a kebab skewer and stand there in the centre circle, kebab skewer pyoing-ing up and down, explaining why this is actually a really good thing and a sign of genuine progress and you’d think, yeah, kebab-skewer-eye-guy really is on to something. He just needs time. Maybe with patience and a proper process he can stab himself in the other eye too.

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» For good and bad, Jürgen Klopp gave Liverpool fans the time of their lives

German’s tenure has been littered with big lows but supporters will always cherish the big highs and a unique connection

It was a lovely spring afternoon in Liverpool. The sun was out, the temperature was high and, around Anfield, so were spirits. There were smiles and laughter among the thousands in the nearby streets, cafes and pubs that they carried into the stadium, where soon there were also chants and songs from the masses, rising to a pitch during an enthralling encounter with Tottenham the hosts ultimately won. All in all a great day and, being among it, the very real sense that this, then, is what the fifth stage of grief looks like.

Because acceptance is very much the mood among most Liverpool supporters when it comes to Jürgen Klopp’s impending departure. All were shocked when, in January, he announced he was going at the end of the season and each, in their own way, has gone through the various phases of losing a loved one in the following four months. It has been tough but it’s safe to say that collective emotions have centred on recognising that Klopp wasn’t kidding when he said he was running out of energy. The big German with the big grin is, quite clearly, not the man he once was.

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» Football Daily | Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás, Jupp Heynckes … Ademola Lookman

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The credit cards of those Bayer Leverkusen fans who made the schoolboy error of flocking to the Dublin city-centre tourist trap that is Temple Bar before Wednesday night’s Big Vase final weren’t the only thing associated with the travelling Germans to ship a serious spanking. After being relieved of their money by local landlords, Leverksen fans made their way to the Aviva Stadium to see their team take a similarly brutal beating, going down 3-0 to Atalanta and losing their famous 51-match unbeaten run in the process. On Big Website, Amine Adli had declared that neither he nor his Leverkusen teammates could “remember what it’s like to lose a game” and it’s difficult to know quite how the striker could have tempted fate more. Adli and co were issued a stark reminder, with one of the Championship and Premier League’s forgotten men Ademola Lookman emerging as the Italians’ unlikely hero after scoring all three goals.

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» Atalanta’s huge night and Mauricio Pochettino moves on: Football Weekly Extra - podcast

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Mark Langdon, Sanny Rudravajhala and Jacob Steinberg as Atalanta win the Europa League and Mauricio Pochettino leaves Chelsea

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

On the podcast today: a stunning win for Atalanta, who win the Europa League. It’s manager Gian Piero ­Gasperini’s first major trophy and he was helped to it by a brilliant hat-trick from Ademola Lookman. Not only that, but with that win they put a stop to Leverkusen’s unbeaten season too.

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» The Knowledge | Which football teams have won the most domestic cups in a row?

Plus: winning every domestic honour, the mother of all aggregate league drubbings and more

“Wolfsburg just won their 10th DFB-Pokal Frauen in a row. Is that a record for a cup competition?” wonders Kári Tulinius.

Wolfsburg’s women’s team have dominated the German Cup to a staggering degree. They won it this year without conceding a goal, winning 2-0, 5-0, 3-0, 9-0 and finally 2-0 against Bayern Munich in the final earlier this month. Last season, they conceded only three goals en route to glory, but compensated by scoring 27 in five games. In fact it’s four years since they failed to win a DFB-Pokal game by at least two goals; they won the 2020 final on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw with SGS Essen.

10 Germany (VfL Wolfsburg, 2015-24)

6 France (Lyon Féminin, 2012-17)

4 England (Arsenal Women, FA Cup, 2006-09; Liverpool Men, League Cup, 1981-84; Manchester City Men, League Cup, 2018-21)

3 Italy (Juventus Men, 2015-18), Spain (Athletic Bilbao Men, 1930-33; Barcelona Men, 2015-18)

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» Chelsea win fifth WSL title in a row: Women’s Football Weekly - podcast

Faye Carruthers and Suzanne Wrack are joined by Marva Kreel and Rachel Brown-Finnis to discuss how Chelsea pipped Manchester City to the title after their rout of Manchester United

In today’s episode, the panel pay a fond farewell to the 2023-24 season as Emma Hayes’ Chelsea side secure another WSL trophy on her final game in charge of the club. Faye Carruthers and Suzy Wrack are joined by guests Marva Kreel and Rachel Brown-Finnis to discuss Chelea’s rout of Manchester United at Old Trafford, along with Manchester City’s anti-climactic victory over Aston Villa.

The panel also discuss Vivienne Miedema and Fran Kirby’s fairytale endings, hand out some of their end-of-season awards as well as waxing lyrical about the Lionesses’ under-17s side.

To sign up for our bi-weekly women’s football newsletter – all you need to do is search ‘Moving the Goalposts sign up’ or follow that link.Here’s an extract from the latest edition.

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» Why did Arsenal let Vivianne Miedema leave on a free at 27?

What makes the situation most striking is Arsenal’s apparent willingness to allow the Dutch star’s contract to run out

“Miedema … still Miedema … magnificent Miedema.” A line of commentary that could be used to sum up most of Vivianne Miedema’s 125 goals in an Arsenal shirt. In her seven-year career in north London in which she appeared 172 times, the Dutch international has broken records left, right and centre, unstoppable on the pitch and a quiet, determined force off it.

In this instance, the commentator was describing a strike against Everton in 2022. Having turned Karen Holmgaard inside out, she instinctively unleashed her wand of a right foot to send the ball nestling into the back of the net. It was not the first time, nor the last, a defender would be undone in this fashion.

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» The Knowledge | Has Xhaka set a record for a new signing by going 47 games unbeaten?

Plus: serial runners-up, long gaps between winning the same competition, terrible penalty shootouts and more

“Granit Xhaka is unbeaten in his first 47 games for Bayer Leverkusen,” notes Scott Campbell. “Have any players attained a longer unbeaten streak upon joining a new club?”

At first Bayer Leverkusen’s success was one of the stories of the season. It’s fast becoming one of the stories of the century: they are 50 not out, three games away from completing an unbeaten season in all competitions. Granit Xhaka, their summer signing from Arsenal, has played in 47 of those 50 matches. The last time he lost at club level was last May, when Nottingham Forest officially ended Arsenal’s title challenge.

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» ‘What’s next for me?’ Rikke Sevecke on the heart condition that ended her football career at 27

I have been forced to adjust to a reality where I can no longer be an elite athlete but I have tried to find something positive in it

Everyone goes through change in life. It is just about how you respond. They can be big changes; they can be small, but it is about how you handle it yourself.

Over the last few months, I have been through the biggest change of all. Since being diagnosed with a heart condition – arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy or ARVC, a disease that causes irregular heartbeats – last year at just 27, I have had to learn to navigate a world where I can no longer be a professional footballer. I have been forced to adjust to a reality where I can no longer be an elite athlete and where I can’t play a sport I have been a part of since I was three. I have had to accept the reality of my condition and everything that comes with it.

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» David Squires on … Tottenham’s new fans and other end-of-season surprises

Our cartoonist on the Premier League doing strange things to mascots (and people) as it nears its finale

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» I have played under Arne Slot so here is why he is a great fit for Liverpool | Oussama Idrissi

At AZ and Feyenoord I encountered a coach who was tactically sharp, an exceptional analyst and an astute man-manager

I was playing at FC Groningen when my teammate Etiënne Reijnen told me: “I’ve been called by my former teammate Arne, who was asking about you; how you are as a player and person.” That was my introduction to Arne Slot. He was assistant at AZ and I was told he was a very good coach. Soon after, I moved there and got to know him as a very tactical and knowledgable coach, who took a genuine interest in you as a human being as well.

As an assistant he did the tactical team talks and analysis of training sessions and he was very detailed, providing solutions to game situations while working on it in training. He motivated me every day to become a better player, to have a bigger goal in mind and to work very hard for that. So I already had that bond with him when he became head coach at AZ after a year and a half.

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» Mary Earps: ‘It’s been a tough season. I felt like the punching bag at times’

Final-day humbling followed FA Cup win and the goalkeeper wants to know Manchester United’s ambitions before signing a new deal

Mary Earps is upbeat, she is always upbeat, but she is also tired. You can feel it and you can see it. The season has been a long and gruelling one, ending with the highest of highs – lifting a first FA Cup with Manchester United at Wembley – and the lowest of lows: losing 6-0 on the final day of the Women’s Super League season to allow Chelsea to be crowned champions at Old Trafford. “There’s been a lot going on, a lot that I haven’t spoken about, and now I just need to take some time for myself,” Earps says. “That’s kind of where I’m at.”

The season also had a difficult beginning, with Earps’s future at United in doubt and speculation swirling following defeat by Spain in the World Cup final, both only ending when she signed a one‑year extension. Now the speculation is beginning again. Earps knows the question is coming. She sighs and gives a knowing smile, but she also wants to be honest.

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» Leverkusen and Stuttgart cap Bundesliga’s year of the underdog | Andy Brassell

Stuttgart share Leverkusen’s growth of having finished this campaign with a barely believable 40 points more than last

From start to finish the afternoon that confirmed Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen as unbeaten Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen was what has come to be typical of them. The voracious feasting on opponents’ mistakes, as Amine Adli did to provide Victor Boniface with the opener.

The evidence that Xabi Alonso has drawn things from these players they never dared believe were there, as when midfield destroyer Robert Andrich tucked in an artful rabona. The false tension, when Augbsurg teenager Mert Kömür scored a goal worthy of the style of Alonso’s team to bring the deficit back to one, but we knew Leverkusen were never going to blow it.

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» Claudio Ranieri’s latest rescue act cements status as true Cagliari hero | Nicky Bandini

Veteran coach gave Serie A a much-needed good news story on a weekend overshadowed by off-field events

The penultimate weekend of the Serie A season was overshadowed by events off the pitch. On Friday, Juventus announced they had fired their manager, Massimiliano Allegri, citing his behaviour at the end of their Coppa Italia final triumph over Atalanta. Two days later, as Inter prepared to mark their league title with a trophy lift at San Siro, fans were wondering who their club would belong to next week.

Monday marked the official deadline for their owners, Suning Capital, to repay debts of close to €395m (approx £337m) to Oaktree Capital, stemming from a loan taken out in 2021. A bank holiday in Luxembourg effectively extended the term until Tuesday, but an official statement from the Inter president, Steven Zhang, on Saturday accused the lender of “a lack of meaningful engagement” toward finding an “amicable resolution”.

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» Next Generation 2023: 60 of the best young talents in world football

From Warren Zaïre-Emery to Endrick, we select some of the best players born in 2006. Check the progress of our classes of 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018

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» Next Generation 2023: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

We pick the best youngsters at each club born between 1 September 2006 and 31 August 2007, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of our classes of 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 and look at the editions from further back

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» From Saka to Ackermann: what happened to Next Generation 2018?

Five years ago we picked 80 of the most talented players in the world to follow their progress in a cut-throat business

It is the time of year when we check in on the Next Generation players we picked in 2018 to follow for five years, to assess their progress amid success, setbacks, injuries, trophies won and transfers made.

Next Generation started in 2014 with the aim of showing the difficulties that even the best prospects in the Premier League (we pick one from each club at first-year scholar age) and the rest of the world (we choose 60 born in a specific calendar year) face on their way towards the top.

A defensively minded midfielder who is incredibly strong (he used to be a wrestler) but with an excellent touch to go with his physicality. Made his debut in the Swedish top flight as a 16-year-old last year and captained Sweden as they reached the quarter-finals of the Euro Under-17 tournament in England this summer. Has taken an unusual path to the top. He left the top-flight side IFK Göteborg for sixth division Angered MBIK as a 14-year-old as he felt that he was not getting the right support for his football education. Another Gothenburg club, Häcken, snapped him up in 2017 and he made his senior debut that season. Has signed a new contract with the club from Hisingen until 2021 despite interest from Real Madrid and Benfica and trials at both Manchester clubs.

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