Football: Little's big promise at Stoke

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The Independent Online
BRIAN LITTLE, the newly-installed manager at Stoke City, yesterday promised to "stamp his own authority" on the relegated side. Little, who has been out of the game since his departure from Aston Villa in February, became the fourth manager in nine months at the Britannia Stadium when he signed a two-year contract yesterday.

Chic Bates, Chris Kamara and Alan Durban all tried but failed to stop Stoke dropping into the Second Division, with Durban leaving after their eventual relegation. "A lot of things will change around here. That is what people expect and that is certainly what will happen," Little said.

The Everton defender Dave Watson will have talks with Norwich City this weekend about becoming their new player-manager. Watson may be joined in the Everton exodus by Adrian Heath, Howard Kendall's assistant, who could join Sheffield United as their new manager.

The Italian international Pierluigi Casiraghi moved a step closer to signing for Chelsea yesterday when he announced he was leaving Lazio. The Serie A team are asking around pounds 6m for the 29-year-old, but Chelsea are thought to have offered less.

Marco Boogers ceased to be a West Ham player yesterday - despite not having played for the club for more than two years. The pounds 1m striker has had his registration transferred to the Dutch club FC Volendam, where he has been playing for 18 months.

Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta is under investigation for tax evasion. The Fiorentina striker has had pounds 33,000 of his assets frozen by the Argentine authorities. Fabio Capello is preparing to leave Milan as coach and rejoin Real Madrid, according to Italian news reports.

An Argentine judge yesterday suspended league matches in the country because of hooliganism. Two River Plate supporters were shot in the legs before a match against Independiente at the weekend.

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