Twenty Questions: Egil Østenstad

After relentless pursuing of Saints and Ex-Saints on twitter, I managed to get one of my favourites!

Former Saints striker Egil Østenstad wowed the Dell between 1996 and 1999, scoring some great goals and being part of that famous 6-3 victory over Manchester United in which he bagged a hat-trick (he doesn’t care what the dubious goals panel says, he’s got the match ball!).

So here it is 20 questions with Egil Østenstad!

Egil Østenstad. 109 Saints appearances. 33 Saints goals.

Egil Østenstad. 109 Saints appearances. 33 Saints goals.

1. Best Saints Memory?Among a lot of great ones; staying in the Premier League in my first season after being in desperate trouble. Great feeling. Also being voted Player of the season that same season, and scoring in front of the The Kop on my first visit to Anfield.’

2. Worst Saints memory? ‘Not being able to sort out a new and longer contract with Rupert Lowe.’

3. Favourite Manager?  ‘I will always be very grateful towards Graeme Souness for giving my the chance to come to Southampton and the Premier League. At Southampton, in his eyes, I never did anything wrong. At Blackburn I never did anything right…’

4. Least favourite Manager?Even though results were decent I thought Dave Jones had an old school approach to the game and a managerial outlook that I found difficult to like.’

5. Most talented team mate? ‘Le Tiss was the biggest British talent of his generation when it comes to pure football. His willingness to make the most out of his talent is a different story. Eyal Berkovic was a joy to play with.’

6. Biggest prankster in the dressing room?  ‘Jim Magilton. Busy man…’

7. The Dell or St. Mary’s?  ‘For me The Dell.  I only played against Southampton at St Mary’s.’

8. Which member of the current team impresses you most? ‘Adam Lallana. Not just because of his ability. More so because of his attitude, loyalty and being a great ambassador for Saints.’

9. Hardest team mate?  ‘Ulrich van Gobbel. Monster…’

10. Any Fratton Park abuse while playing for other clubs? ‘Loads whilst playing for Blackburn. Quite enjoyed that and scored the winning goal (0-1) on my first visit there. Great stuff!’

11. Derby Day memories? ‘Portsmouth were nearly as bad then as they are now when I was there.’

12. Toughest opponent? ‘Martin Keown.’

13. Favourite Away Ground?  ‘Anfield.’

14. Favourite Saints kit? ’97/98 season Home shirt.’

15. Ever had a Benali curry? Loads. Very good actually!’

16. Best friends from Saints days? ‘I appreciate the fact that I have met and occasionally spoken to Jason Dodd, Le Tiss, Franny Benali, Jim Magilton and Gordon Watson in the last years. I sometimes speak to Claus Lundekvam. It was a good group of players when I was there.’

17. Money in football. Gone too far or great for the game? ‘Too far. I really hope the rules of financial fair play will have the desired effect. Football is turning into too much of a toy for the wrong reasons.’

18. Pace or skill? ‘Average pace and average skill…’

19. Where will Saints finish this season? ‘Top 10. Which is a great achievement!’

20. And finally, you are stranded on Hayling Island (Portsmouth) what luxury item would you like to keep you sane? Access to Spotify…’

….and a bonus question just for you as we have the same taste in music.

21. What song do you think best fits the Saints experience? ‘Smells like teen spirit…’

Many thanks to Egil for taking the time to answer these questions!

Chris

 

England’s Saints? Who will go to Brazil?

If anyone was still doubting the credentials of the potential England World Cup players at Saints, surely they were put to bed in Saturday’s emphatic victory over Newcastle United?

Saints put in an immaculate attacking performance, mainly due to the superb play of the attacking three, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez.

Adam Lallana is a shoe-in for the squad, I’m sure of that, and people are just starting to believe that not only should he be guaranteed his place on the proverbial plane, but that Roy Hodgson should be finding a place for him in the starting eleven. If there is an English player around at the moment playing as well as Lallana in the support role, ripping defences to shreds with intricate skill and footballing brain, then I haven’t seen them.

Lallana celebrates with scorer Sturridge after his assist.

Lallana celebrates with scorer Sturridge after his assist.

I’m fed up of bigging up Luke Shaw. He is the best left back in the Premier League right now, coupling immaculate defensive performances with attacking runs that scare defences to death. He is consistently superb and England have already seen a 45 minute glimpse of how good he is. I have a feeling he will make the final squad, and it will be a surprise to everybody but Saints fans.

Attacking intent. Shaw is the future.

Attacking intent. Shaw is the future.

In terms of the two Saints forwards I’m not quite so confident that they will make the cut, though it will be criminal if they don’t.

Despite his excellent all round play, ability on the ball, superb passing, team focus and a Premier League assist record this season that is only bettered by Luis Suarez, Rickie Lambert still can’t shake the constant comparison with Andy Carroll, and some, particularly the English press believe it is a 50/50 shout between the two. What planet are these people on? If all those qualities I’ve listed aren’t enough, you can throw in the added bonus of goals. Lambert is twice the footballer Carroll is, and if the West Ham forward is preferred it will say everything about the progression, or lack thereof in English football.

Jay Rodriguez, has had a superb season, infinitely better than Danny Welbeck’s, sadly though I think he will always find himself behind the Man Utd forward in the pecking order. Rodriguez can do all the things that Welbeck can do, with the added bonus of goals. Surely the England manager will go with form?

Get ready for the World Cup with JD Sports:- http://www.jdsports.co.uk/page/england-football/

Forming a great understanding, but can it benefit England?

Forming a great understanding, but can it benefit England?

If Roy Hodgson doesn’t see the individual qualities of the Saints players perhaps their team dynamic might attract him. I’ve long been an advocate of using successful club partnerships to the advantage of the national team. An England team with John Terry and Gary Cahill at centre half with Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson in the middle of the park and Lallana, Rodriguez and Lambert playing a support three to Daniel Sturridge in his rightful position up top doesn’t sound bad does it? We could do a lot worse, and so often do.

Hopefully the England manager will see sense and utilise players from clubs like Liverpool and Southampton as much as he can. These are the clubs playing football in the way we should be aiming to as a national team, so it makes sense to bring them in. Surely we won’t go to Brazil, the home of ‘sexy football’ and lump it up to Andy Carroll?

Keep the Faith.

Great South Run: The Return

This is somewhat of a return to the roots for this blog, and what’s more a shameless self promotion in the name of charity.

When I originally started this site in February 2011, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it, but I had recently signed up to take part in the Great South Run and it felt like a good way to promote it and raise some money. Well, three years later I have decided to run in the event again, and to give it some extra spice I have decided to run this time for the Saints Foundation. This ties in nicely with my passion for Saints and my passion for running.

This also means that this time I will drag myself round the streets of Portsmouth in Saints colours. Nice.

Me (the one in the blue) at the Great South Run in 2011.

Me (the one in the blue) at the Great South Run in 2011.

I do consider myself a better runner this time out, but I have been slacking of late so the training starts properly today. I’m certainly better equipped this time out and have upgraded from my Army issue trainers pictured to these Adidas beauties:- Adidas Energy Boost, thanks to JD Sports.

I am looking to raise as much money as I can for the Saints Foundation, and help them continue their fantastic work in the community. If you fancy sponsoring me please visit my Just Giving page (remember to gift aid it!):- http://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Rann1

I’m also up for any fundraising suggestions you might have (within reason). So let me know by e-mailing commenting on this post!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Chris

Our 3rd Birthday!

Blow me readers! georgeweahscousin.com is three years old!

This site has successfully made the transition from a League One site with fewer readers but plucky enjoyable output to Premier League site with far more readers (most of which have only just got interested) and far more commercially pleasing output.

As has become as traditional as Saints not trying in the FA Cup, we celebrate this occasion with the awarding of the ‘Ali Dia award for services to Southampton’ sponsored by Orgran Egg Substitute.

This is an award unlike any other. It is not awarded to the best player or the longest serving but anyone who has done something that has caught our eye in their duty as a Saints. The first year it was awarded to Oscar Gobern and last year the prize was taken by Billy Sharp but who would add their name to this illustrious list?

The jury (Myself, Ali Dia, Alaeddine Yahia and Kleber Chala) found it extremely difficult this year. It almost went to Dani Osvaldo, who in just six months managed to be fined and banned for kicking a Newcastle coach, have several injuries, be fined and banished for attacking Jose Fonte and score a spectacular goal against Manchester City (thanks to Adam Priestly for the summary). When it came to it though only one man really warranted this award based on the last 12 months.

We here at georgeweahscousin.com are delighted to announce that the third winner of the ‘Ali Dia award for services to Southampton’ sponsored by Orgran Egg Substitute, for showing the level of testicular fortitude that only a maverick samba assassin can is:- Guly do Prado for his penalty against Yeovil Town.

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In what looks to be Guly’s last season at Saints it has to be said that he has suffered some unnecessary criticism at times, yet still loves the club and has been a great servant to it. To ask Jay Rodriguez for the ball and to step up in front of the Northam and take that penalty took nuts. Congratulations Guly!

Thank you to everyone who has read this blog over the last year!

Chris

Why and When? Get Coventry City back to Cov

A famous pundit once said that football is a ‘funny old game’, well sometimes it isn’t.

I was contacted recently by fellow Saints fan Jimmy Hayes with some information about the ‘Why and When Campaign’ focused on raising awareness of the plight that fans of Coventry City find themselves in.

The situation is close to my heart for a number of reasons. Firstly because I love my football club, and I know how it feels to be at the point where you don’t know if you will soon even have one, secondly because I now live in the city of Coventry and I work alongside it’s people and those who have supported the club for years. The third reason is a selfish need for nostalgia. Perhaps I am getting old, but in recent years more than ever I have felt grief for the loss of the game I first knew, and the 1987 FA Cup final was very much a part of that.

The people who started the problems at Coventry were once linked with a takeover for Saints. It doesn’t bare thinking about, but for the fans of the Sky Blues it is reality, and now they find their team playing it’s home games in Northampton. The people behind the campaign tell us more:

Andy Scaysbrook (Lifelong Coventry City fan, and award winning photojournalist) ‘I grew up watching Coventry City, from the age of 6, my family were season ticket holders. My Father and my Grandad took me to Highfield Road during the days of the Sky Blue revolution that was led by Jimmy Hill in the 60’s. 

 I started my photographic career working for the club, shooting action pictures for the matchday programme. In my 44 years of being a City fan I have travelled all over the country to support the team. We have been through some terrible times over the years but the situation at the club is now desperate. Through all of this, the fans have stood firm and sought to work to try and find a solution to the horrendous situation we now find ourselves in. 
 
I know many City fans and the desperation they feel is awful. I want to be able to put these feelings into pictures and help raise the profile of our plight, hence the Why & When photography campaign.’

 

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Jimmy Hayes ‘As a Southampton fan, I have seen us take the terrible tumble through the leagues, have seen managers, chairman and owners come and go. I, and thousands of others have felt the horrible uncertainty that comes with it. What has happened to Coventry could have easily happened to us. Football club owners should always have the best interest of the club and the fans at heart. If we, the fans, stand together, perhaps we can stop this happening in in the future.’

 

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The first phase of the campaign is based around seven images with the following message:

“We are the sons and daughters of the City of the Phoenix…

Generations have rallied together to fight side by side for what is right.

The people of our city have stood together, through wars, economic depression and social upheaval. We have survived even when the odds were stacked against us.

Coventry City Football Club has been our port in the storm, a rallying point, a shelter, a reason for hope and a chance to dream…

The spirit of Coventry is an unstoppable force. Born from adversity it has gathered strength through generations of Cov Kids. It’s time to fight again…

Our famous club is under threat and stands on the brink of losing its identity. When loyal fans, generations old and new cannot watch a game in the city they love, the time has come to stand up and be counted…

We STILL have a voice. Stand up and USE it”

#why&when

To see all the images follow this link:- https://www.facebook.com/GreenKnightMedia
The next time you take your seat to watch your team playing in your city, take a second to think about the Coventry City supporters who right now, don’t have the opportunity to do the same.

Chris

Ralph Krueger: Who is he?

One of the most interesting things amongst the fallout of Nicole Cortese’s Saints departure, was the news that Katherina Liebherr looks set to give a technical advisory role on the board to Ice Hockey coach Ralph Krueger.

Who? Exactly what I said. As somebody who has never been a fan of the sport I had no idea who he was, and I would imagine that was the same for most Saints fans (and the ‘Clive Woodward debacle springing too our minds). To that end, here at georgeweahscousin.com if we don’t know about somebody incoming at the club, we go and finds somebody who does…

Jouni Nieminen is a freelance NHL writer in Finland. Here is what he had to say about Krueger and his coming role with Saints…

Were you surprised to hear that Ralph Krueger is set to take an advisory role on the board of an English Premier League Football Club?

JN: ‘I was not surprised at all. I understand that the owner of Southampton football club lives in Switzerland and knows Ralph who has also lives there for some time now. Ralph is well-known for his talents as motivational speaker and is author of a book on the same subject in Central Europe. Austria, Switzerland, Germany, I believe.’

What is his reputation as a hockey coach like?

JN: ‘Ralph is a very good hockey coach, especially in European hockey and international hockey. Strategically sound. Knows the game inside and out. He gained respect of his native country Canada’s hockey people when he coached the Swiss in the Turin games and they beat the powerhouse team from Canada, something of a miracle.

In the National Hockey League he worked for two years as associate coach and one as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. He had a very bad, young team to coach. Considering that he did ok. Some thought he was too much of a nice guy, and should have made veteran pros accountable.

As far as reputation, after getting fired from the Edmonton Oilers, the second phone call he took was from Canada’s  Olympic team coach and respected Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock inviting him to join the Canada coaching team to go to Sochi (the coming winter games). Ralph works as special advisor/advanced scout, specialising in watching the European opponents while getting ready for the games. He was also involved in team selection process which is sometimes more talked about in hockey mad Canada than the games itself.

Ralph Krueger is a very respected man in hockey. Mike Babcock would not call otherwise.’

Ralph Kreugar: Sports Scientist and Motivator.

Ralph Krueger: Sports Scientist and Motivator.

What do you think he can transfer from his experience as a hockey coach to his role with Saints?

JN: ‘Ralph is known for his motivational abilities. Regardless of the sport, he understands the process and can help athletes mental preparation. He can build players confidence in themselves.’

He has a reputation as a motivator, do you have any examples of where this has worked for him?

JN: ‘I think his success with the Swiss national hockey team especially stands as an example. Two Edmonton Oilers hockey players come to mind also. Winger Taylor Hall is one of the premier young talents in the NHL. He had an outstanding season under Ralph, almost an all-star season. Also, goaltender Devan Dubnyk had a good season under Ralph. Both players have not performed the same way after Ralph left, which may have something to do with it. Just an observer’s thought, but there might be something in it. He can make complicated things sound simple.’

Thanks to Jouni for his time on this. It certainly sounds like Krueger will be taking a role in the scouting setup and pre-match preparation at Saints.

For further information, listen to a recent radio interview with Krueger on his role with Team Canada at the Winter Olympics, and briefly on Saints at the end:- https://soundcloud.com/630ched/january-22-inside-sports-hour#t=19:00

He already refers to Saints as ‘we’ and talks about having one of the best Academies in the world. Nice touch.

Chris

World at their feet: Saints in Brazil?

Seeing as though it was Southampton Football Club that effectively introduced the beautiful game to Brazil (Ref: Charles William Miller) it would be fitting that at this summer’s World Cup in the country, if the Saints were well represented.

Speculation is already rife as to who will and won’t make it to the finals, and here at georgeweahscousin.com we are no different!

So which of the Saints talented squad will be on the proverbial plane?

England

It seems fitting to start with our own nation, burdened with the usual over expectant feeling of entitlement, England could well be the squad with the most Saints in it.

Adam Lallana

Let’s put it this way, if Lallana isn’t in the twenty three man squad then he will either be injured or the victim of the most ridiculous tragedy in English footballing history up there with Matthew Le Tissier’s lack of caps and not building a team around Paul Scholes (confounded by playing him on the left wing).

Lallana is skilful, technically gifted and creative. He shouldn’t be English really, as he has defied the poor coaching standards here and become a talent worthy of Spain or Brazil.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 4.5

Lallana, a shoe in for the squad for anyone with the right number of chromosomes...

Lallana, a shoe in for the squad for anyone with the right number of chromosomes…

Rickie Lambert

England at the World Cup will need different options if they are to succeed, and in Lambert they could well have that. Good with the ball at his feet and an ability to hold the ball up, Lambert has proven his critics wrong time and time again, scoring and creating goals at every level he’s played at.

The worry is that Roy Hodgson may revert to type and turn to Andy Carroll.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 3.5

The moment Rickie showed the rest of the country what the Saints fans already knew...

The moment Rickie showed the rest of the country what the Saints fans already knew…

Jay Rodriguez

Didn’t enjoy the best of debuts, but Rodriguez grows with confidence game by game and has emerged as Saints top scorer this season. ‘JRod’ is another one who has the technical ability to try something different. It feels like this might not be his year England wise though with the media turning on him after the game against Chile.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 2

Just how many Saints will lineup for England this summer?

Just how many Saints will lineup for England this summer?

Luke Shaw

Uncapped so far, but with his stock rising and his mature performances both defensively and going forward for Saints, coupled with the recent decline of Ashley Cole, Luke will surely get the chance to show what he can do in the friendlies prior to the tournament.

With rumours that Man City want to make him the most expensive full back in the world, it is only a matter of time before his country calls. Undoubtedly the natural and long term successor to Cole.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 3.5

Shaw thing to be first choice England left back in the future....

Shaw thing to be first choice England left back in the future….

Nathaniel Clyne

In what is distinctly England’s weakest area it is surprising to me that Clyne hasn’t already been given a chance by Roy Hodgson. While the distinctly mediocre Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker both look unimpressive in an England shirt, Clyne has gone about his business at Saints with great success, consistently performing to a high standard.

Deserves a chance.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 2.5

While all the media talk was of getting Kosovan Januzaj to play for England, Englishman Clyne was giving him a lesson at Old Trafford...

While all the media talk was of getting Kosovan Januzaj to play for England, Englishman Clyne was giving him a lesson at Old Trafford…

James Ward-Prowse

Probably the longest shot, and almost certainly this World Cup has come too soon for the Saints midfielder. With his ability to deliver a ball now being likened to David Beckham though, England honours will surely follow at some point….

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 1

JWP bends it like Beckham into the San Marion net for England U21's...

JWP bends it like Beckham into the San Marion net for England U21′s…

Italy

It seems right to follow the potential England players with their Group D opponents. England v Italy at the World Cup will always be a special occasion and it might just be laden with Saints players.

Dani Osvaldo

Argentinian born Osvaldo opted to play for Italy, and recently has been a regular for the Azzuri. Although he has taken his time to adapt to the Premier League the skill he has shown for Italy was replicated with his amazing strike against Manchester City.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 4

Osvaldo celebrates his recent goal against Denmark...

Osvaldo celebrates his recent goal against Denmark…

Uruguay

Gaston Ramirez

Sporter of awful barnet’s, splitter of fan opinion and creator of occasional magic, Ramirez has been in and out of the Saints first team, but is a regular in the Uruguay squad.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 4.5

Opponents in the summer?

Opponents in the summer?

Croatia

Dejan Lovren

The Croatian has been an absolute steal for Saints and has made his way into many ‘top players in the Premier League this season’ lists. A regular for his country, he should be on his way to Brazil.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 4.5

World Class defender Lovren who will be in Brazil and some other fella who won't...

World Class defender Lovren who will be in Brazil and some other fella who won’t…

France

Morgan Schneiderlin

Perhaps the biggest crime in international football from a Saints perspective is the lack of recognition for Morgan Schneiderlin. Having had a brilliant first season and a half in the Premier League, Schneiderlin would walk into any other top flight side and most international teams. Come on Didier. You know it makes sense.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 2

Could France's loss be England's gain?

Could France’s loss be England’s gain?

Japan

Maya Yoshida

Having fallen down the pecking order at Saints, Yoshida is having to take what he can, and it has led to talk of a move back to Japan. He will undoubtedly be in Brazil though, barring an injury as a stalwart of their defence.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 4.75

Maya will be on the plane.

Maya will be on the plane.

Tadanari Lee

Forward Lee is well and truly out of the picture as far as the Saints first team is concerned, and perhaps his move to England two years ago has killed any chance of a World Cup place. A loan move back to Japan might revive his hopes though.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 1

Can Lee get out of the international wilderness in time?

Can Lee get out of the international wilderness in time?

Portugal

Jose Fonte

A long shot, but Jose Fonte has really come into his own for Saints this season and has been part of the formidable back five that was at the top of the European defensive charts. Sadly, when I met Joao Pinto (Now a high level official in the Portuguese FA) in the summer he had never heard of Jose.

Chances of being in Brazil (out of 5):- 1.5

Part of the furniture at St. Mary's, but deserving of international recognition?

Part of the furniture at St. Mary’s, but deserving of international recognition?

So there we have it. Do you agree with their chances? Is there anyone else in the Saints squad who might sneak in somewhere? As ever let us know!

Chris

 

 

 

And the winner is…

Firstly, apologies for the delay. I know this has been a long time coming. I would love to say it is because I have been desperately busy or have any sort of reasonable excuse but in reality, I just didn’t get round to it.

Anyway…. The correct answer to the Saints mystery rogue was of course, despicable, tactically clueless, incompetent managerial myth Harry Redknapp!

Congratulation to @mambofandgo who was picked at random from those who tweeted the correct answer.

You get to pick any of the Saints scarves from the Savile Rogue website priced at £58.95. We’ll be in touch for details.

 

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But don’t worry…..

…..we are all winners here, and Savile Rogue have rewarded you all for your interest with a special georgeweahscousin.com discount code. Just use the promotional code “WEAH2013” at checkout to receive 10% discount at their online store.

Thanks to everyone who took part!

Chris

Happy Thanksgiving American Saints!

We here at georgeweahscousin.com would just like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our US readers! Be thankful everyday that you are a Saint and not a Skate!

Here’s a special shoutout to American Southampton goalkeepers past and present.

Kasey Keller

Kasey Keller

Cody-Cropper

Cody Cropper

Have a great day!

Chris

Pompey. I’m your man….

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write to you in application of the current vacancy of first team manager at Portsmouth Football Club.

Admittedly this might appear on first glance a strange application given that I have no experience of managing a professional club. However I did successfully keep Plessey reserves in Isle of Wight combination One  in the early 2000’s.

So why should you consider me a credible applicant you might ask?

Well, firstly I am always skint. Seriously, I’m terrible with money, so I have ample experience of surviving with none. You would be amazed what I can achieve with my last fiver before payday. This level of financial trickery sees me perfectly suited to the day to day rigours of managing a football club that has nothing.

Secondly I have delusions of grandeur. I often think I can achieve the impossible which means my level of ambition would be matched with that of your fanbase, no one will be more surprised than me when we lose. I guarantee promotion this season, it’s only League Two after all.

Thirdly, my neighbour is better than me. He has a bigger and nicer house, he is earning more money than me, he is more popular and when he has a party over twice the amount of people attend than do mine. This has always been the case with the exception of a brief spell between 2005-2011 when he hit hard times and I took a lot of loans to buy things I couldn’t afford. This has meant I have built up a severe level of bitterness and a huge inferiority complex.

Finally, I am a keen historian. Things that happened long before even my dad was born are way more important to me than the present day.

I look forward to hearing from you with a date for interview.

Best Regards,

Ali Dia (BSc, BA, WTFILN)