'Souness must stay' say Southampton supporters

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A group of Southampton supporters intend to campaign for the restoration of Graeme Souness as manager at The Dell. The fans, who also want the club's board to resign, will hold a meeting in the city later this week after Souness walked out on Saturday, to be followed by the Director of Football, Lawrie McMenemy.

"We have launched a campaign asking Graham Souness to stay," Clive Foley, a spokesman for the Southampton Independent Supporters Association, said. "We are calling for the board to resign and for the manager to be reinstated."

Barry Venison believes Souness and McMenemy left the club for financial reasons. "I don't know the full story but Lawrie says it is a matter of principle and he will stand by Graeme," the Southampton captain said. "Maybe he feels he cannot work with the new board. Maybe he feels the new financial people are being unrealistic in what they are offering the club.

"With Graeme so ambitious he obviously hasn't been given enough money for team re-building. That can be the only reason. He has obviously felt he has hit a little bit of a dead end finance-wise for next season."

But the club's new chairman, Rupert Lowe, suggested that McMenemy had stepped down after hearing the fans' reaction to Souness' resignation.

"For Lawrie to go is also a tragedy. He and the club were inextricably linked," he said. "He was deeply hurt by comments made by some supporters on the day Graeme resigned. We are very, very sorry to see him go. In many ways he embodied everything that Southampton Football Club stands for. I think the tragedy of Graeme's going is that he resigned 10 months into a three-year contract."

Venison, who played down suggestions that he might assume the managerial mantle, said: "It is a sad day for Southampton because Graeme built the foundations this season. He kept the team up, which was vital, he brought players in and he felt he would get a lot more next season after they bedded in, especially the foreign lads. He was looking forward to seeing them improve."

John Beresford is to sign a new deal at Newcastle United, turning down a pounds 1m chance to join Bolton Wanderers in the process. The left-back,whose future at Newcastle had been in doubt, has agreed terms on a fresh three- year contract.

As Bobby Gould's Wales side prepares to face Scotland in a friendly at Kilmarnock tomorrow, he accepts that he could be coming to the end of his reign as manager. His position comes up for review at a Football Association of Wales committee meeting in July and its recommendations will go to the full council the following month.

Gould realises he is walking a tightrope. "Everyone knows the situation. The FAW might well decide that someone else should come in. When you are an international manager you are judged on your record. It doesn't matter whether it is a friendly or a World Cup match. It all goes down in the played, won, drawn and lost columns."

Ronnie Moore has left the GM Vauxhall Conference side, Southport, to take over as manager of Rotherham United, the club he enjoyed success with as a player. Moore, who signed a three-year contract on Saturday, was part of the Millers team that won the Third Division championship in 1981.

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