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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 18:03 GMT
Pilgrim ready for Sainthood
By Andrew Fraser

Paul Sturrock celebrates winning the Division Three title with Plymouth
Paul Sturrock's appointment as manager of Southampton will please the critics who argue that managers from the lower divisions do not get the job opportunities they deserve.

The news that Saints were set to promote Sturrock from Second Division to Premiership came as Glenn Hoddle ruled himself out of the running to succeed Gordon Strachan.

And they will hope the Scotsman can work the same kind of magic at St Mary's as he has done at Plymouth.

Sturrock took charge at Home Park in October 2000 with Argyle 20th in Division Three and playing in front of dwindling crowds.

He was given the task of transforming the Pilgrims into the most successful club in the West Country, and has not looked back.

Plymouth won promotion to Division Two as champions in 2001-02, and Sturrock signs off with his side four points clear at the top of the table and dreaming of Division One.

While he may not be the big name Saints fans might have hoped for, the 47-year-old boasts an impressive CV - both as a player and manager.

PAUL STURROCK FACTFILE
Born: 10 Oct 1956,
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
1979: Signs for Dundee United
1981: Wins first Scotland cap
1983: Wins Scottish Premier League title
1993: Named St Johnstone manager
1998: Returns to Dundee United as manager
2000: Resigns at Dundee Utd; joins Plymouth
2002: Plymouth win Division 3

He won the Scottish Premier Division title with Dundee United in 1983, and helped them reach the semi-final of the European Cup before they were beaten by Roma.

When he finally hung up his boots in 1989, he had scored 109 goals in 385 appearances and boasted 20 Scotland caps.

He cut his teeth as a manager with St Johnstone, building a team which went on to win a Uefa Cup place.

His five-year tenure was disrupted by a major health scare in 1995, when he collapsed during a match against Dundee United suffering from a stress-related heart condition.

On the way to hospital he tried to persuade a member of the ambulance crew to phone the ground with a substitution he wanted to make, and was back in the stands three weeks later.

Sturrock's return to Dundee United as manager in 1998 was less successful, and he resigned just two games into the 2000-01 season after a 3-0 defeat at Hibernian.

After two months out, he was named as Kevin Hodges' successor at Plymouth.

The Pilgrims amassed 102 points in their promotion season, and missed out on the Division Two play-offs last year by just one place as they finished eighth.

Sturrock's reward was a new five-year contract, but he was shrewd enough to insert a get-out clause allowing him to speak to interested Premiership clubs.

And his move down the south coast gives him the chance to prove to Saints fans that they are better off without Hoddle.






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