Future of Mauricio Pochettino thrown into doubt as Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese resigns
Cortese was understood to be at loggerheads with club owner Katharina Liebherr over the demands of running the club that have significantly increased since their Premier League return
Wednesday 15 January 2014
The prospect of Mauricio Pochettino staying on as Southampton manager is in doubt after executive chairman Nicola Cortese's departure was confirmed.
On a day of politics and confusion at St Mary's, a statement released by the club at 7pm brought an end to the Italian banker's reign after more than four years at the helm.
A collapse in Cortese's relationship with owner Katharina Liebherr – who will now become non-executive chairman for the South Coast club – is believed to be the main reason for his resignation after rumours of disagreements between the pair emerged late on Tuesday night.
"With great regret we have accepted the resignation of Mr Cortese," read a club statement. "He has done a wonderful job at the club and we very much wanted him to stay."
With Pochettino known to be a major ally of the departed chairman, the club may soon be looking for a new manager too. Cortese has not always been loved by the fans – not least because of the change in kit colours from red-and-white stripes to plain red – but he was close to Pochettino.
Cortese made the controversial decision to replace Nigel Adkins, who guided them to promotion in 2012, with Pochettino in January last year but since then Southampton have improved and sit in ninth place in the Premier League.
When asked about Cortese's position last year, Pochettino was clear how supportive he was of the Italian, raising questions over his future should Cortese leave.
"I would not understand a Southampton without Nicola being here," Pochettino said. "The person who actually called me from the start, told me about the project and put his faith in me, in this club and as a manager was Nicola. Nicola Cortese has basically been the reality at Southampton for the past four years."
In 2009 Cortese conducted the deal to buy Southampton from the administrators on behalf on Swiss businessman Markus Liebherr. His death in 2010 led to his daughter Katharina taking a more active role. Cortese almost left at the end of last season after reportedly falling out with her.
It was suggested that Manchester United would test the club's resolve by putting in bids for England midfielder Adam Lallana and highly rated left-back Luke Shaw – who tweeted he was "gutted" at the news – while West Ham could put in a second bid for striker Rickie Lambert.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Latest in Sport
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
'Adel Taarabt is about three stone overweight. I can't pick him' - Harry Redknapp
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
QPR vs Liverpool match report: Liverpool snatch victory in seven late minutes of madness
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage