THAT WAS THE WEEKEND THAT WAS

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The Independent Online
RUMOURS

Fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

Gordon Strachan could have become the manager of Crystal Palace, instead of settling for the No 2 job at Coventry City, according to the News of the World, which claims that Ron Noades, the Selhurst Park chairman, offered the former Leeds and Scotland midfielder Alan Smith's job a month ago. Noades, it is alleged, has not spoken to Smith for two weeks, and a parting of the ways is anticipated sooner rather than later.

The News of the World also says that Martin O'Neill of Wycombe Wanderers has been approached to become the next manager of Sheffield Wednesday, where Trevor Francis is on shaky ground after last weekend's 7-1 thrashing at Forest. "Managers come and go, that's the nature of football," Dave Richards, the Hillsborough chairman, said. The former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence, currently in charge at Barnet, is tipped by the People as the eventual replacement for John Deehan, the Norwich City manager who resigned last night.

Transfer gossip: Newcastle will be at the top of the queue for Matt Le Tissier if Southampton are relegated (People). Sunderland's new manager, Peter Reid, is pursuing his former team-mate at Everton, the Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall (News of the World). Bayern Munich are chasing Arsenal's Swede, Stefan Schwarz (People).

Chelsea and Queen's Park Rangers are checking out Fulham's Scotland Under- 21 defender, Duncan Jupp (People). Another young Scotland player, the Raith Rovers striker Steve Crawford, is in demand, with Rangers, Newcastle and now Nottingham Forest following his progress (Sunday Mail). Queen's Park Rangers may move for the Danish midfielder Claus Thomsen, whose form has been one of the bright spots of Ipswich Town's dismal season; while Chelsea are the latest club to assess Bolton's Alan Stubbs (Sunday Express).

Performance of the weekend: Partick Thistle have looked doomed to go down from Scotland's Premier Division for much of the season but Saturday's 2-1 triumph at Motherwell, their ninth win in 10 games, lifted the Jags to a position of safety.

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