Mark Hughes throws off shackles to leave Swansea paralysed by doom | Nick Miller

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Southampton’s manager went for the jugular with three centre-forwards and Saints are as good as safe after a wonderfully chaotic relegation showdown

It is a league of billions, of the most famous managers in the world, which prides itself on being the shiniest show in town, that moneyed owners seeking a splash of reflected glory flock to. Who knew the biggest game of the season would be between Swansea and Southampton?

It was not so much a game of football, more a 90-minute test of constitutions. The top division of English football hasn’t seen a relegation play-off match in 30 years but purely on the basis of this chaotic affair it might be an issue to reconsider. Because this was essentially a play-off, and panned out like one. The volume inside the ground was that sort of loud you get when a stadium of people are too nervous to do anything but scream unintelligibly. The atmosphere was almost unbearably tense. In the corner where the noisiest Swansea fans sang, a steward tried to get them to sit down. He didn’t keep trying for long.

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Written by Nick Miller at the Liberty Stadium
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