Platt cool on chance to manage Southampton


ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger yesterday let it be known that he would not stand in the way of David Platt taking over as manager of Southampton - but they player himself said he was still preparing to play with Arsenal in the coming season.

Platt's future at Highbury looks bleak following Wenger's acquisition of five new players since the end of the season.

Platt confirmed that he had spoken to Southampton's new chairman, Rupert Lowe and was impressed with his plans for the future.

"He did, however, hint that the board may choose to appoint a manager rather than a player manager and I still feel that I have a great deal to offer on the playing side," said Platt.

He added: "I am now preparing myself physically and mentally for the coming season with Arsenal."

Don Howe is stepping down as the English Football Association's technical coordinator to rejoin Arsenal as head youth coach.

He joins up with three newly appointed youth coaches and head of youth development Liam Brady and also links up with former QPR striker Don Givens.

Meanwhile, Irish international Mark Kinsella yesterday signed a new four year contract with Charlton.

In Spain, Bobby Robson's assistant at Barcelona, Jose Mourinho says both Robson and himself will soon leave the club and that former Ajax coach Louis van Gaal will soon be taking over the Nou Camp reins.

"Like Bobby, I will be leaving Barcelona on June 30th. I'm of the same opinion as Robson that if van Gaal doesn't win the league in his first year, he'll meet the same fate," said Mourinho.

"We are leaving because, despite Barcelona winning the Spanish Super Cup, the European Cup Winners' Cup and getting a place in the European Champions' League and a place in the Spanish Cup final, we did not win the league title. What's happened here is incredible."

Betis coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer resigned yesterday just nine days before the Spanish Cup final against Barcelona, the club's biggest game for 20 years.

Under Serra Ferrer, Betis gained promotion into the top division in 1994 and this year they lie fourth in the table with one match to go. They have also qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup.

In England, champions Manchester United will kickoff Sky Sports' live Premiership coverage when they open their 1997-98 campaign against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. The clash has been put back 24 hours to Sunday, August 10th for television purposes.

Sky open the season on Sunday, August 3rd when the Scottish League contest between Hibernian and Celtic is screened live from Easter Road at 12.30 p.m..