Tottenham have confirmed Trevor Birch has been appointed as their new director of football operations.

Birch left his role as chairman of Championship club Swansea City on Tuesday, with Spurs confirming his appointment later in the day.

Prior to his time at Swansea, Birch had stints as the chief executive officer at Chelsea, Sheffield United, Derby County, Everton and Leeds United.

He joins Tottenham as part of a restructuring of the club's management, with Rebecca Caplehorn taking on a role as director of football administration and governance, while Steve Hitchen has been promoted to technical performance director. 

Bournemouth will start life back in the Championship at home to Blackburn Rovers, while Watford host Middlesbrough and Norwich City travel to Huddersfield Town.

The Cherries were relegated after a five-year stay in the Premier League, while Watford and Norwich were also demoted in a top-flight campaign that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

That halt means the new Championship season starts on September 12, with beaten play-off finalists Brentford travelling to Birmingham City on the opening day, while south Wales rivals Cardiff City and Swansea City – who also made the top six – host Sheffield Wednesday and visit Preston North End respectively.

Wycombe Wanderers – playing in the second tier for the first time – welcome fellow new boys Rotherham United for their first game, while Coventry City's return to the Championship starts with a trip to Bristol City.

Derby County and Barnsley start at home against Reading and Luton Town, with Stoke City and Nottingham Forest heading to London to face Millwall and QPR.

Bournemouth host Norwich in the third round of matches, the same weekend Watford renew acquaintances with fierce rivals Luton. Watford and the Canaries face off at Vicarage Road on December 26.

The three relegated teams will hope to be in the promotion hunt come the final day on May 8, with Bournemouth and Watford at home to Stoke and Swansea, while Norwich go to Barnsley.

Brentford survived a nervy finish and beat Swansea City 3-1 in the final match at Griffin Park to reach the Championship play-off final.

The Bees, who last played in the top flight in 1947, missed out on automatic promotion on the last day of the season and then lost the semi-final first leg 1-0 in Wales.

But a superb start on Wednesday set Brentford on their way to a 3-2 aggregate success.

Ollie Watkins raced onto Mathias Jensen's defence-splitting pass after 11 minutes and finished calmly as Swansea were punished on the counter-attack.

The hosts then led for the first time in the tie just four minutes later as Emiliano Marcondes headed in unmarked when found by Said Benrahma, who soon struck the post.

And Swansea's hopes of a swift second-half recovery were dashed when Bryan Mbeumo added a superb third 54 seconds after the interval.

A dismal Pontus Jansson error teed up Rhian Brewster for a lob that brought the visitors back into the match with 12 minutes to go, but Brentford battled bravely to book a Wembley date.

Andre Ayew brilliantly atoned for an earlier penalty miss to give Swansea City the advantage in their Championship play-off semi-final with a 1-0 first-leg win against 10-man Brentford.

Swansea scraped into the top six on the final day of the season as Brentford narrowly missed out on automatic promotion thanks to a second straight defeat.

The Welsh side subsequently had all the momentum coming into this home leg but struggled to capitalise on their dominance until late in a contentious clash.

Ayew headed against the post in the first half, with Rhian Brewster miscuing a simple rebound, although the Liverpool loanee made amends after the break to win a spot-kick as he was tripped by Pontus Jansson in the box.

David Raya then saved from Ayew, but Brentford's task became tougher still just a minute later as Rico Henry was controversially sent off for a lunge on Connor Roberts.

While Swansea had to wait for their breakthrough, with Brewster booked for diving in the area, Ayew thrashed in from 15 yards following a fine team move with nine minutes remaining to seize control ahead of the return fixture in London.

West Brom clinched the second automatic promotion place in the Championship on a dramatic final day of the season as Wigan Athletic's spirited survival bid failed.

After both West Brom and Brentford were beaten at the weekend, the Baggies only needed to match the third-placed side's result to seal a return to the Premier League after two seasons away in England's second tier.

A seemingly straightforward home fixture against QPR did not go entirely to plan for West Brom, but a 2-2 draw took them up as Brentford went down 2-1 to Barnsley on Wednesday.

That result saw Barnsley stay up, but Wigan could not join them as they drew 1-1 with Fulham – who could have been promoted with a win – and went down due to a looming 12-point deduction.

Charlton Athletic and Hull City were also demoted, while there was a similarly chaotic finish in the play-off race.

BAGGIES BEST BRENTFORD

Both West Brom and Brentford lost their nerve with two matches of the campaign remaining, but a return of just a single point from a pair of games proved enough for Slaven Bilic's team.

Following Friday's defeat to Huddersfield Town, West Brom were boosted by Brentford's own reverse at Stoke City yet could not beat QPR.

West Brom trailed to Ryan Manning's strike before turning the match on its head with goals either side of half-time through Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson, only for Eberechi Eze to equalise just past the hour-mark.

It mattered not, though, as Brentford failed to capitalise, instead losing again.

Josh Dasilva cancelled out Callum Styles' Barnsley opener, but as Brentford pushed for a precious winner, Clarke Oduor tapped in at the other end in the 91st minute.

BRAVE BARNSLEY, WIGAN WOE

There were contrasting scenes at full-time in the final regular league match at Griffin Park after Barnsley celebrated as Brentford collapsed.

The visitors were heading down until Oduor struck but stayed up at Charlton's expense, the Addicks going down 4-0 at champions Leeds United.

Hull propped up the table after a 3-0 defeat at Cardiff City, while Luton Town stayed up thanks to a rallying 3-2 success at home to Blackburn Rovers, aided by two own goals.

Wigan needed to win due to their deduction following administration, but one of the form teams in the division let a lead slip against Fulham, their total of 59 points bumped down to 47 to fall a painful point short.

 

It isn't just a game of football, it's absolutely everything to our players, staff and supporters.

Hold your heads high!#wafc pic.twitter.com/5oTj7eV4jV

— Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) July 22, 2020
SWANS SAVOUR GOAL SWING

With rivals Cardiff comfortable in claiming their play-off place, Swansea City needed to beat 10-man Reading while Nottingham Forest lost to Stoke City, along with a five-goal swing.

Improbably, the Swans stole sixth place from Forest after a remarkable finale.

The Welsh side won 4-1, netting their fourth in the 91st minute as Wayne Routledge headed in his second.

That scoreline left Forest – 3-1 down at home to Stoke at the time – needing to score, but instead they conceded, their promotion bid derailing in spectacular fashion as Nuno da Costa stabbed into his own net in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

The 4-1 defeat meant Forest – without a win since July 1 – finished seventh.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Derby County, Millwall and Middlesbrough, bringing the curtain down on another season in gripping fashion.

Fulham remain in the hunt for second place in the Championship after downing Sheffield Wednesday 5-3 on Saturday.

With Brentford having lost 1-0 at Stoke City earlier, thereby crowning Leeds United champions, Fulham responded to move within a point of the top two thanks to two goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Cardiff City swept aside Middlesbrough to keep their play-off ambitions in their own hands, with Preston and Millwall now unable to finish in the top six.

At the other end of the table, Stoke's victory sealed their survival, while Kazenga LuaLua struck a huge late blow for Luton Town at Hull City and Charlton Athletic snatched an important point.

FULHAM POUNCE AS BRENTFORD FALTER

Lee Gregory's first-half finish from close range gave Stoke a 1-0 win over Brentford at the bet365 Stadium that ensured their Championship survival and denied the visitors the chance to go second.

Fulham are now just a point behind Brentford in the table after beating Wednesday 5-3 and, with West Brom only two above them, the Cottagers will be ready to capitalise on any slip-ups on the final day.

Mitrovic and Neeskens Kebano scored twice at Craven Cottage before Bobby Reid's late fifth, with Jacob Murphy and Atdhe Nuhiu (2) on target for Wednesday, who cannot yet consider themselves safe given the risk of a possible EFL points deduction.

 

BONNE CHANCE FOR LUTON AND CHARLTON

In Saturday's relegation showdown between Hull and Luton, it was the visitors who left the KCOM Stadium feeling hopeful of survival after LuaLua fired home the winner in the 85th minute.

Luton are now on 48 points, level with Charlton, who were trailing 2-1 to Wigan Athletic until Macauley Bonne equalised on exactly 92 minutes.

Hull are three points behind and, given they are 16 goals worse off than Charlton, they look destined for League One barring possible points penalties for either Wednesday or Wigan. Bottom-club Barnsley, with two games left, can still stay up.

CARDIFF WIN ENDS PRESTON, MILLWALL HOPES

Two goals from Josh Murphy helped Cardiff to a 3-1 win at Middlesbrough, whose survival could now depend on getting a result on Wednesday, at Wednesday.

Cardiff stay sixth, three points ahead of Swansea City, whose 1-0 win over Bristol City keeps their play-off hopes alive ahead of the final day.

Preston cannot now make the top six, despite beating Birmingham City 2-0 - another side who are not yet guaranteed to avoid the drop - while Millwall are also out of play-off contention following Cardiff's win and their own thrilling 4-3 defeat at QPR.

That was not the day's only seven-goal game: at Ewood Park, Sam Gallagher's 87th-minute header gave Blackburn Rovers a 4-3 win over Reading that lifted them into the top 10.

Brentford moved to within a point of the Championship's top two and delayed any promotion party Leeds United may have had planned by beating Preston North End.

After high-flying rivals West Brom and Fulham drew on Tuesday, Brentford capitalised with a 1-0 win at Griffin Park a day later.

An eighth successive victory – of which seven have come since the season's restart – piled the pressure on second-placed West Brom and ensured Leeds cannot seal a Premier League return when they play on Thursday.

Elsewhere there were a trio of draws, most notably at Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City, where the respective hosts each picked up precious points, holding Swansea City and Charlton Athletic.


AUTOMATIC RACE GOING TO THE WIRE

Leeds host rock-bottom Barnsley but now need four points to guarantee promotion, meaning they will be made to wait a little longer regardless of the outcome at Elland Road.

Although West Brom have been in the top two for much of the season, Brentford's outstanding run of form means it is still all to play for in the final two matches of the campaign.

The Bees' latest win came by just a single early goal as Ollie Watkins lashed in after four minutes following good work from Emiliano Marcondes in the build-up.

They held on and will now be keen spectators when the Baggies visit Huddersfield Town on Friday, with the Thomas Frank side next in action against Stoke City the following day.
 

SAMMY STUNNERS STUNT SWANS

The battle to make the play-offs is almost as tense as the tussle at the top, but fifth-placed Forest – five points clear of seventh – should be involved.

They were grateful to Sammy Ameobi for a pair of wonderful goals as they twice came from behind to draw at home to Swansea.

Rhian Brewster's fine first-time finish gave Swansea the lead, before Ameobi picked out the top-right corner with a gorgeous curling effort from outside the area.

The Swans were back in front heading into half-time after Andre Ayew's penalty, yet Ameobi was not done and cut in from the right to arrow a low shot into the bottom-right corner.

The travelling side could not regain the lead for a third time and now face a tough ask to overhaul rivals Cardiff City, who are sixth and three points better off.
 

LATE LEVELLER LEAVES CHARLTON IN TROUBLE

Charlton appeared set to move four points clear of the relegation zone when they led Birmingham deep into stoppage time.

Macauley Bonne's second-half strike followed a missed penalty for Scott Hogan, meaning Charlton would leapfrog their opponents in the table.

But Birmingham's own survival bid was all but completed in the 93rd minute as Lukas Jutkiewicz equalised.

The Blues are joined on 50 points by Stoke, who should also be safe after similarly recovering from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Bristol City.

Danny Batth stooped to head in after Filip Benkovic's deflected opener.

Pablo Hernandez fired Leeds United to the brink of a return to the Premier League as his late goal at Swansea City earned a priceless 1-0 win. 

The former Swansea player came off the bench for the second half and scored in the 89th minute, sparking delight in the visitors' ranks. 

Spanish midfielder Hernandez found the bottom left corner after Luke Ayling cut the ball back, just as Leeds looked like being frustrated. 

Now they sit three points clear of second-placed West Brom and six ahead of in-form Brentford, who occupy third spot, and only three rounds of games remain. 

Leeds have been absent from the top flight of English football since their relegation in 2004, which came just three years after a run to the Champions League semi-finals. 

Veteran manager Marcelo Bielsa was persuaded to stay for this season, having gone agonisingly close last term to the elusive promotion. 

Now, though, Leeds look ready to end their long wait, with games against Barnsley, Derby County and Charlton Athletic to come and a maximum of four points required. 

The latest step on the road back to the elite came a day after the death was announced of one of their greatest players, England World Cup winner Jack Charlton, who spent his entire club career with Leeds. 

Stoke City and Birmingham City have played Premier League football more recently than Leeds, but this season has been one of battling the threat of dropping into the third tier for both. 

Stoke earned a 2-0 win over Birmingham on Sunday to join the Blues on 49 points, with both sides now four points clear of the relegation zone. 

Beaten 5-0 by Leeds in their previous outing on Thursday, Stoke bounced back thanks to goals from Danny Batth and captain Sam Clucas.

West Brom went top of the Championship on Wednesday, while Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough gained key wins at the other end of the table.

The Baggies moved above Leeds United, and went five points clear of third-placed Brentford, with a 2-0 victory over Derby County, who saw their play-off hopes dented by the loss.

Grady Diangana and Dara O'Shea scored in either half for West Brom before Rams youngster Louie Sibley was harshly sent off in stoppage time for violent conduct.

Derby slipped below Swansea City, who went up to seventh courtesy of a 3-1 win at Birmingham City, with Liverpool loanee Rhian Brewster taking his tally to eight goals in 16 Championship games.

Middlesbrough won for the second time in four games since Neil Warnock was appointed as manager, Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher on target in a 2-0 success at Millwall.

Wigan, who could yet incur a 12-point penalty having gone into administration last week, climbed eight points away clear of danger for now thanks to Kieffer Moore's first-half strike in a 1-0 victory over QPR.

Elsewhere, Bristol City beat Hull City - who are in the relegation zone - 2-1 and Preston North End came from behind to defeat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1.

West Brom boosted their bid for automatic promotion as relegation-threatened Hull City and Middlesbrough both lost in Sunday's Championship action.

After table-topping Leeds United and in-form Brentford both won 24 hours earlier, the Baggies followed suit as they eventually overcame Hull 4-2 in an eventful encounter at the Hawthorns.

Twice West Brom took the lead only to concede, Mallik Wilks making it 2-2 early in the second half. However, Kamil Grosicki crucially edged the hosts back in front just over a minute later.

Grady Diangana wrapped up victory for Slaven Bilic's side, though they finished the game down to 10 men following the late dismissal of Ahmed Hegazi. Still, West Brom are once again a point behind Leeds, while they are five clear of third-place Brentford.

Hull remain outside the bottom three as fellow strugglers Middlesbrough were beaten at home, going down 1-0 to QPR.

Jordan Hugill grabbed the only goal of the contest just after the half-hour mark against a club where he spent the 2018-19 season on loan.

Meanwhile, Swansea City moved up to eighth – four points adrift of the final play-off berth occupied by rivals Cardiff City – courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

Rhian Brewster, who is on loan from Liverpool, opened the scoring and Andre Ayew doubled the Swans' lead from the penalty spot. Atdhe Nuhiu did half the deficit, though his stoppage-time effort was no more than a consolation for the Owls.

West Brom nudged ahead of Leeds United at the top of the Championship but a 0-0 draw with Birmingham City appeared to be a blow to the title hopes of Slaven Bilic's team.

Yet the top two in England's second tier look increasingly likely to be the pair promoted to the Premier League, with third-placed Fulham suffering a damaging home defeat against Brentford.

In the first matches following the league's three-month coronavirus suspension, a new hero emerged for mid-table Derby County as 18-year-old Louie Sibley scored a hat-trick in their win at Millwall.

And Rhian Brewster, a striker on loan from Liverpool, gave Swansea City's play-off hopes a boost by netting twice at Middlesbrough, as well as making a powerful political statement.

POINT A MIXED BLESSING FOR BAGGIES

With Leeds in action at Cardiff City on Sunday, West Brom had an opportunity to go two points clear of Marcelo Bielsa's team as the league resumed.

Bilic's players dominated the derby clash and had a host of chances but could not find a breakthrough, and a stalemate at the Hawthorns potentially plays into the hands of Leeds.

The top two are now level on points, with West Brom top on goal difference, but Leeds will have the chance to go three clear before the next round of games.

BEES STING NEIGHBOURS

Said Benrahma and Emiliano Marcondes scored late for Brentford in a 2-0 win at promotion rivals Fulham, a result that leaves West Brom and Leeds seven points clear with eight games remaining for the play-off pack.

Nottingham Forest were heading for victory at Sheffield Wednesday after Joe Lolley gave the visitors a 69th-minute lead, only for Connor Wickham to grab a stoppage-time leveller for the Owls.

Forest sit fifth, four points clear of a Preston North End side who were held 1-1 at Luton Town, Callum McManaman firing a late equaliser for the hosts, who nevertheless fell to the foot of the table.

KING LOUIE

Blackburn Rovers beat Bristol City 3-1 in a battle between teams fighting with Preston for sixth place, but the individual performance of the day came from Sibley, whose heroics guided Derby to their 3-2 win at Millwall.

"I'm absolutely buzzing," Sibley told Rams TV. "To get that hat-trick was just unbelievable. When the third goal went in, I couldn't stop smiling."

Brewster was not far behind, his double steering Swansea to a 3-0 victory at lowly Middlesbrough.

Brewster held up a shirt that read "our colour is not a crime" after his first goal, expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

TIGERS ON THE SLIDE

Wigan Athletic were 2-0 winners at fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town, while Hull City slipped into the bottom three after losing 1-0 at home against Charlton Athletic.

Barnsley climbed off the bottom by winning 1-0 at QPR, and Stoke City drew 1-1 at Reading.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is out of contract in June 2021 and the Gabon international is no closer to signing a new Arsenal deal.

The former Borussia Dortmund star is not short of suitors amid uncertainty over his future in London.

And Real Madrid are reportedly making their move.

 

T OP STORY – MADRID TELL ARSENAL TO DECIDE OVER AUBA

Real Madrid have set Arsenal a deadline as they look to sign star forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to The Mirror.

Aubameyang is out of contract in June 2021 and the Gabon international has been tipped to leave Arsenal.

Madrid reportedly want Arsenal to make a decision on Aubameyang's future by June 15 as the likes of Inter and Paris Saint-Germain also circle.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Barcelona are on the brink of signing Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic. The LaLiga giants are close to agreeing a four-year deal with the Bosnia-Herzegovina international.

- Pjanic had been mentioned in a possible swap deal with Barca's Arthur, who has previously dismissed an exit. However, Tuttosport claims Juventus have not given up on signing Arthur.

- Former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick is set to become head coach of Milan, reports Calciomercato.

- The Express says Manchester United have identified Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek as a top transfer target. Van de Beek has also been linked to Madrid and Juve.

Madrid want Casemiro to continue at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Mundo Deportivo reports the futures of captain Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Lucas Vazquez and James Rodriguez are up in the air.

- According to The Sun, Borussia Dortmund want to sign Chelsea teenager Charlie Webster.

Inter have set their sights on Freiburg centre-back Robin Koch, reports Tuttomercatoweb. Koch has also been linked to Napoli and Benfica.

United are keeping tabs on Swansea City defender Joe Rodon, says The Mirror. The Red Devils have already raided Swansea previously, signing Welshman Daniel James ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Leeds United moved top of the Championship after they capitalised on West Brom's draw at Swansea City with a 2-0 home win over Huddersfield Town.

Marcelo Bielsa's men are two points clear at the top of the table after West Brom were held to a 0-0 draw in their match at the Liberty Stadium.

It was not all bad for West Brom as third-placed Fulham also failed to win, instead drawing 1-1 at Bristol City.

Cardiff City, Reading, Brentford, Middlesbrough, QPR and Stoke City were Saturday's other winners.
 

LEEDS LOOKING GOOD

Leeds' mid-season stumble is firmly behind them after a winning a fifth straight game without conceding.

Luke Ayling's stunning volley in the third minute capped a sublime team move at Elland Road and Patrick Bamford made sure of the points with a simple finish six minutes after the break, Jack Harrison later hitting the post.

West Brom, who registered only one shot on target against the Swans, have now gone three games without winning in all competitions, with the pressure on ahead of their home derby with Birmingham City next week.
 

CAIRNEY HITS BACK BUT FULHAM LOSE GROUND

Captain Tom Cairney scored a long-range equaliser with six minutes remaining as Fulham salvaged a point against Bristol City.

Nahki Wells' clever 71st-minute header appeared to have put the hosts on course for victory before that intervention.

Scott Parker's men are now six points behind the automatic promotion spots as opposed to the five they trailed by at the start of the day.

Brentford moved above Nottingham Forest into fourth place with a magnificent 5-0 home win over struggling Sheffield Wednesday.

Josh Dasilva was at the double as Thomas Frank's side ended a five-match winless run in spectacular style.

Preston North End are looking vulnerable in sixth after QPR came from behind to defeat them 3-1 at Deepdale.

Despite Geoff Cameron seeing red for a second bookable offence, Eberechi Eze inspired a comeback with a goal and an assist for QPR, who scored three times in the last 29 minutes.
 

BARNSLEY BOTTOM AS STOKE AND BORO RISE

Barnsley fell to the bottom of the table after they lost 2-0 at home to Cardiff while fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic and Luton Town shared a goalless draw.

Middlesbrough moved out of the bottom three with a 1-0 away win over Charlton Athletic, with Paddy McNair scoring the winner.

Stoke, who started the day fourth-bottom, are up to 17th after a rampant 5-1 home win over Hull City. 

The Potters were three goals up inside 18 minutes and their midfielder Sam Clucas ended the match with a double against his former club, though they lost Joe Allen to what looked like a serious Achilles injury.

Leeds United closed the gap to Championship leaders West Brom on Wednesday, while there were welcome wins for Barnsley and Wigan Athletic at the bottom of the table.

The Baggies had moved seven points clear at the summit with a 2-0 victory over Preston North End 24 hours earlier, but Leeds cut the deficit by completing a league double over lowly Middlesbrough.

Fulham are back up to third after they left it late to see off Swansea City, while Steven Fletcher struck deep into stoppage time as Sheffield Wednesday triumphed 1-0 over Charlton Athletic.

Millwall missed the chance to move closer to the play-off places as they were held 0-0 at home by Birmingham City. There were also no goals at Ewood Park, as Blackburn Rovers drew with Stoke City.

 

KLICH-ING INTO GEAR FOR LEEDS

Marcelo Bielsa's side triumphed 1-0 for a third successive league outing, Mateusz Klich scoring the only goal in first-half stoppage time at the Riverside.

The hosts managed just two shots on target as they drew a blank yet again – they have not found the net since a 2-2 draw away at fellow strugglers Wigan on February 11.

Fulham are five points behind Leeds in the standings; Aleksandar Mitrovic missed an 89th-minute penalty but made amends before the final whistle, grabbing the winner in added time at Craven Cottage.

 

BATTLE TO BEAT THE DROP HEATING UP

After Luton Town upset Brentford on Tuesday, Barnsley found themselves propping up the rest prior to kick-off at Hull City.

However, their recent revival continued with a 1-0 victory, Cauley Woodrow the scorer for the visitors in the 42nd minute.

Wigan still occupy the third and final relegation berth but now only trail Middlesbrough on goal difference after a resounding 3-0 result away at Reading.

Kieffer Moore broke the deadlock with an audacious back-heeled finish, with Jamal Lowe and Michael Jacobs – who struck in the ninth minute of added time – also scoring for the Latics.

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