Tag Archives: Alan Ball

World Cup of Saints Managers: 1st Round Proper

Yesterday saw the start of the ‘World Cup of Saints Managers’!

The results of the Preliminary Round are in:-

Match 1:-

Just goes to show that the draw can often do you no favours, as two of the bookies front runners faced off, and one of the fans favourites had to go. Ronald Koeman advances to the first round proper.

Match 2:-

No major surprise for me here, with the last man to bring silverware to St. Mary’s progressing.

Match 3:-

An early exit for Redknapp, and that can come as no shock. You have to ask yourself how bad your signings were though when the man that brought Ali Dia to the club knocks you out! Oh wait…. Calum Davenport.

Match 4:-

Another landslide, and you have to concede that the only chance Ian Branfoot had of progressing was if he had drawn Redknapp!

So that concludes the Preliminary Round. Ronald Koeman, Alan Pardew, Graeme Souness and Mauricio Pochettino join the remaining 12 ex-Saints bosses in the first round proper. Draw below.

1st Round Proper Match 1:-

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1st Round Proper Match 2:-

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1st Round Proper Match 3:-

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1st Round Proper Match 4:-

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1st Round Proper Match 5:-

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A HUMDINGER of a first round tie!

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1st Round Proper Match 6:-

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1st Round Proper Match 7:-

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1st Round Proper Match 8:-

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So that concludes the draw for the First Round Proper! Who will progress to tomorrow night’s quarter finals?

 

World Cup of Saints Managers

As far as jumping on the bandwagon goes, this is as shameless as it gets….

Seemingly started by Richard Osman of Pointless fame with his ‘World Cup of Chocolate, using the new twitter poll feature as a way of deciding who or what is the best at something in a Knockout competition is a bit a of harmless fun that has now been replicated for all sorts of subjects.

I decided to start my own ‘World Cup’ (although in retrospect it should be FA Cup) of Saints Managers.

This is just for fun. It doesn’t really decide anything, and based on the demographic of Twitter I only went back to Lawrie McMenemy (one of the clear favourites).  I also only included those who were permanent managers. Except I forgot Steve Wigley. Sorry Steve.

Here is the Entry List and their draw number:-

  1. Alan Ball
  2. Alan Pardew
  3. Chris Nicholl
  4. Dave Jones
  5. Dave Merrington
  6. George Burley
  7. Glenn Hoddle
  8. Gordon Strachan
  9. Graeme Souness
  10. Harry Redknapp
  11. Ian Branfoot
  12. Jan Poortvliet
  13. Lawrie McMenemy
  14. Mark Wotte
  15. Mauricio Pochettino
  16. Nigel Adkins
  17. Nigel Pearson
  18. Paul Sturrock
  19. Ronald Koeman
  20. Stuart Gray

I entered the numbers into an online random draw generator https://www.daftlogic.com/projects-cup-fixture-generator.htm and the fixtures were set.

As there were 20, this meant a preliminary round for eight of the managers. Here are the fixtures:-

Preliminary Round Match 1:-

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A MASSIVE first tie out of the hat!

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Preliminary Round Match 2:-

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Preliminary Round Match 3:-

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Preliminary Round Match 4:-

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So that concludes the draw for the Preliminary round. Who will make it to the First Round Proper?

Voting closes at 1400 today (27/01/2016).

 

Pochettino Enters Sack Race!

So it’s happened. Older fans will recognise the title of this blog as a nod to a brilliant Ugly Inside front page after Alan Ball left for Man City, and much like that situation it is difficult as a Saints fan to understand why this has happened.

As plenty have pointed out, why should we be surprised that a man who entered St. Mary’s in an underhand fashion should leave it in exactly the same way.

My problem is never with people showing ambition, but presumably Pochettino’s performances at Saints have given his own self confidence a boost. Can he meet the unrealistic expectations of Spurs fans and chairman? 5th place won’t be good enough and right now they don’t have the squad to get any higher. Who will he bring in? When given big money at Saints he signed Dani Osvaldo.

All will be revealed soon enough, but he might want to take a look at the immediate futures of the likes of Ball and Glenn Hoddle after they left Saints. The grass isn’t always greener.

They've given us a 5 year contract, which will be a lovely payout just in time for Christmas...
They’ve given us a 5 year contract, which will be a lovely payout just in time for Christmas…

Chris

Twenty Questions: Gordon Watson

It’s been a while….

So apologies to those of you who follow the site. Life and work got a little hectic for a while there, but hopefully the content will start to flow a little more now, along with a redesign of sorts.

A new feature I have long wanted to add is that of 20 quick-fire questions to anyone associated with Saints. This has more than a little nod of appreciation to the classic ‘Hayling Island Discs’ series that ran in the Red Stripe fanzine in the 90’s, so thanks to them!

So here goes, our first ever interviewee is former Saints striker Gordon ‘Flash’ Watson! I hope you enjoy it.

Gordon 'Flash' Watson.  68 Saints appearances. 14 Saints goals.
Gordon ‘Flash’ Watson. 68 Saints appearances. 14 Saints goals.
1. Best Saints memory? ‘Scoring on Home debut v Newcastle 3-1.’
2. Worst Saints memory? Leaving in January ’97.’
3. Favourite Manager? ‘Alan Ball.’
4. Least favourite Manager? Mike Newell.’
5. Most talented team mate? ‘Matt Le Tissier /Chris Waddle/John Sheridan.’
6. Biggest prankster in the dressing room? ‘No comment.’
7. The Dell or St. Mary’s? ‘The Dell.’
8. Which member of the current team impresses you most? ‘Rickie Lambert.’
9. Hardest team mate? ‘Francis Benali.’
10. Any Fratton Park abuse while playing for other clubs? ‘None.’
11. Derby Day memories? ‘Setting up goal and winning against Pompey at the Dell 96.’
12. Toughest opponent? ‘Sol Campbell.’
13. Favourite Away Ground? ‘Hillsbrough.’
14. Favourite Saints kit? ‘2003/4.’
15. Ever had a Benali curry? ‘No.’
16. Best friends from Saints days? ‘Team mates weren’t best friends then.’
17. Money in football. Gone too far or great for the game? ‘Gone to far.’
18. Pace or skill? ‘Skill.’
19. Where will Saints finish this season? ‘9th.’
20. And finally, you are stranded on Hayling Island (Portsmouth) what luxury item would you like to keep you sane? ‘Gas Mask.’
Thanks to Gordon for taking the time to answer these questions!
Chris

Saints & Toffees: Played For Both

Apologies for the lack of a Saints/Chelsea team, I was beaten by time I’m afraid! Never mind that though, the result was more than most were hoping for so we can move on and not worry about it.

I started collating this Saints and Everton team last night, and as you will see, it is a little weak defensively as we don’t seem to have shared many players at all, and certainly not many defenders (at least that I could remember/find out) so if anyone knows of any let me know!

Here goes:-

Team

Goalkeeper

Richard Wright

After failing to force David Seaman out of the team at Arsenal, highly rated young keeper Wright signed for Everton in 2002. Although he looked to be first choice he was displaced by Nigel Martyn and suffered a series of injuries which meant he only made 60 appearances in 5 years and eventually released. He signed for West Ham for free but didn’t make play a single game for them and was soon loaned to Saints in the 2007/08 season. He was brilliant for Saints, putting in several fantastic performances in his 7 games.

Richard Wright
Richard Wright

Defender

Lee Molyneux

Full back Molyneux came through the youth system at Goodison Park but never quite made the grade. He signed for Saints in January 2009 but it seemed the Championship was still a couple of grades too high and made just 4 appearances for the club which included a game against Swansea where he was sent off. A reckless tackler, he was loaned to Port Vale and then released. He has since played for Plymouth and Accrington Stanley. Who are they? Exactly.

Lee Molyneux
Lee Molyneux

Defender

Danny Fox

Current Saints player Danny Fox was another product of the Everton Academy. The left back made the first team bench at the age of 18 but never made it on to the pitch for Everton and was loaned to Gateshead and Stranraer. He was released in 2005 and signed for Walsall where he attracted a lot of attention. He moved to Coventry, Celtic and then Burnley before joining Saints in August 2011. Has made 6 league appearances for the club this season.

Danny Fox
Danny Fox

Defender

Jimmy Gabriel

Scotsman Gabriel played a defensive midfield role for the Toffees between 1960 and 1967 having started his career at Dundee. He was sold by Everton to Saints in ’67 for £42,500 and stayed until 1972 playing as part of the team’s defence. He later played for Bournemouth, Swindon, Brentford and Seattle Sounders before moving into management, mainly in America but had two spells as caretaker boss at Goodison. League and cup winner with Everton.

Jimmy Gabriel
Jimmy Gabriel

Midfield

Mark Hughes

‘Sparky’ Hughes came to Saints in 1998 after an illustrious career as a striker with Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. We played him in midfield, he was pants. Scored 2 goals in well over fifty appearances and left for Everton in 2000, he is seemingly a lot more highly regarded by the Toffees fans and played 18 games before ending his career at Blackburn Rovers.

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes

Midfield

Peter Reid

Chirpy Scouser Reid was born in Huyton, Merseyside but started his career with Bolton Wanderers. He signed for Everton in 1982 and won a plethora of honours and made his way in to the 1986 England world cup squad. He played 159 times for Everton before moving to QPR in 1989 before heading to Manchester City where he became player-manager. Bizarrely after being sacked as City manager he resumed his playing career at Saints, making 7 appearances in the 1993-94 season! Played for Bury and Notts County before retuning to management with Sunderland. Has since managed Leeds, Coventry, Thailand and Plymouth.

Peter Reid playing at the Dell 10 years before he would sign for Saints.
Peter Reid playing at the Dell 10 years before he would sign for Saints.

Midfield

Kevin Richardson

Geordie Richardson came through the youth ranks with Everton, signing for the club in 1978, and went on to make 109 appearances for them until 1986. He was a league and cup winner with the Toffees but fell behind Bracewell, Reed and Sheedy in the pecking order and eventually left the club for Watford. He had spells at Arsenal, Real Sociedad, Aston Villa and Coventry City before signing for Saints in 1997. Coming to the end of his career Richardson only played the one season at the Dell and moved to Barnsley the following summer before a spell at Blackpool and retirement.

Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardson

Right Wing

Terry Curran

Considered by some as a bit of a journeyman, Curran was certainly a showman and a self titled ‘maverick’. Having started his career in his native Yorkshire with Doncaster Rovers he was signed by Brian Clough for Nottingham Forest, after a disagreement with the coaching staff Curran spent time on loan at Bury before moving to Derby County. Again his time was short at the Baseball Ground and he signed for Saints just a season later in 1978. It was another short stay of just a season, but he was part of the team that reached the ’79 league cup final. Oddly he took the decision to drop two divisions and sign for Sheffield Wednesday that summer, but became a legend at Hillsbrough and had his longest career spell there, playing in 138 games. Had spell in Sweden and for Sheffield United before moving to Everton in 1982 (initially on loan). He didn’t make much of an impact at Goodison and was soon off again. Playing for Huddersfield, Panionis, Hull, Sunderland, Grantham, Grimsby and Chesterfield before retiring in 1987.

Terry Curran
Terry Curran

Attacking Midfield

Alan Ball

It is difficult to find anyone in football that is fondly remembered at all their clubs, but Alan Ball certainly fits that bill. Ball’s career started in dramatic fashion. Having impressed for Blackpool (having been rejected as a youth by Bolton) he made the 1966 World Cup squad, and the rest as they say is history. Many argue that Ball was England’s best player in the successful final. This prompted a move to Everton and played his part in the ‘Holy Trinity’ with Colin Harvey and Howard Kendall. Ball was a league winner at Goodison in 1970 and played for the club over 200 times. He left for Arsenal in 1971 and stayed for five years before heading to the Dell in 1976. He was a member of the Saints promotion winning team of 1978 and league cup finalist alongside Curran in 1979. He played 132 times for Saint before heading to the emerging North American Soccer League. He returned to England in 1980 for second spells at Blackpool (player-manager) and then Saints, playing another 63 times before his career ended at Bristol Rovers. He returned to management at Portsmouth and went on to lead Stoke, Exeter, Saints, Man City and Pompey again. Sadly passed away in 2007. R.I.P.

Alan Ball
Alan Ball

Left Wing

Barry Horne

Welshman Horne was briefly part of the youth setup at Liverpool before making his professional debut with Wrexham in 1984, he was part of the Wrexham side that knocked Porto out of the Cup Winners Cup, Horne himself scoring in the second leg. He moved to Portsmouth in 1987 and stayed for two seasons before crossing the M27 divide and joining south coast rivals Saints. He played 112 times for Saints between 1989 and 1992 and was part of the team that was runners up in the ZDS final of ’92. He signed for his boyhood club Everton that summer and went on to be an FA cup winner in 1995. He scored for the Toffees in the controversial relegation decider against Wimbledon in 1994. He went on to play for Birmingham, Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday, Kidderminster and Walsall before retiring in 2002. Capped 59 times by his country.

Barry Horne
Barry Horne

Forward

James Beattie

Beattie was a revelation for Saints after an initial drought after signing from Blackburn in 1998. He would become an important part of a growing success at Saints as his goals (mostly in spells) made him a firm fan’s favourite. In a tail of two celebrations, he was lauded for his ear cupping of the Pompey fans who had disgracefully booed a minutes silence for Ted Bates, but then took a shine off of his own legendary status by celebrating a goal at St. Mary’s on his sift return to the club. Having left for Goodison in January 2005 with Saints on a slippery slope, Beattie had said pre-match that he wouldn’t celebrate a goal against Saints, but did. Played 76 times for Everton but never quite had the impact they had hoped. Went on to have a fruitful spell at Sheffield United before lean spells at Stoke, Rangers, Blackpool and back at Brammal Lane. Now playing for Accrington Stanley. Who are they? Exactly.

James Beattie. The good St. Mary's celebration.
James Beattie. The good St. Mary’s celebration.

So there we have it. An odd formation, and defensively it looks pretty poor, but not a bad midfield eh? Paul Rideout is the only other player I could think of and misses out, but would love to hear of any others that people know of?

Chris

As featured on NewsNow: Southampton FC news

Be Careful What You Wish For…

Apologies for the brief hiatus! I have been working on other projects in both football and my real job. Hopefully this will be the return of regular posts!

As speculation increases as to the future of Nigel Adkins and the comparisons being made of him via social media and such I thought I would compare him to previous Saints Premier League managers the only fair way. Over their respective first 9 games in charge….

Ian Branfoot –  1992/93 season.

P9 W 1 D 4 L 4 F 7 A 11 P 7

Branfoot, like Adkins took until his fifth game to register a win, but had a relatively good start to his first Premier League campaign, picking up points in more games than not.

End result – Finished 18th of 22 in the Premier League, just one point from safety, Sacked in January 1994.

Alan Ball – 1993/94 season.

P9 W 4 D 3 L 2 F 10 A 12 P 15

Ball proved an instant hit at The Dell resotring Matt Le Tissier to the team and going on a great run.

End result – Finished 18th of 22 in the Premier League, just one point from safety (they were 21st when Ball took over). Left the club in the summer of 1995 after a great season finishing 10th.

Dave Merrington – 1995/96 season.

P 9 W 1 D 3 L 5 F 8 A 16 P 6

Whispering Dave was seemingly the players choice when he was appointed in 1995. He took four games to notch his first victory and it was a sign of things to come.

End result – Finished 17th of 20 in the Premier League on goal difference. Sacked that summer.

What I’d like to see Adam, is Saints to score more goals than the opposition..

Graeme Souness – 1996/97 season.

P 9 W 1 D 3 L 5 F 11 A 13 P 6

The fiery Scot promised to be a polar opposite change in management style from Merrington, but had a similar opening to the season. It took Souness until hi 8th game in charge to get 3 points, and despite some flamboyant foreign signings Saints struggled.

End result – Finished 16th of 20 in the Premier League, just one point from safety. Resigned that summer.

Dave Jones – 1997/98 season.

P 9 W 1 D 1 L 7 F 5 A 17 P 4

Dave Jones came to the club from the lower leagues and it was his first taste of management in the top flight. He struggled to put his stamp on the team at the start and people wondered if he had been a poor choice.

End result – Finished 12th of 20 teams, eight points from safety. Followed it with a season finishing 17th (though five points from safety) before being replaced in January 2000 after (unfounded) allegations of child abuse.

Glenn Hoddle – 2000/01 season.

P 9 W 5 D 1 L 3 F 6 A 6 P 16

Former England boss Hoddle came in while Jones was on “leave of absence” to prepare his defence. He had a fantastic start, winning his first five games in charge. In terms of a combination of results and style of play, Hoddle is still for me the best manager of my time supporting Saints.

End result  Saints finished 10th of 20 teams (they were 12th when he took over), and consolidated that the following season though Hoddle left for Spurs in March 2001.

Moving to Spurs was a poor choice…

Stuart Gray – 2001/02 season.

* – Only judged on games in full charge.

P 9 W 2 D 0 L 7 F 5 A 17 P 6

Stuat Gray was promoted from the backroom staff to caretaker manager when Hoddle left and was given the job permanently in the summer. Despite breaking the club’s transfer record Gray struggled for results.

End result. Gray was sacked on the 21st October with the club lying in 19th of 20 of the Premier League.

Gordon Strachan – 2001/02 season.

P 9 W 3 D 1 L 5 F 13 A 16 P 10

Serious question marks were raised when Strachan was appointed after he had eventually relegated Coventry City, but Saints immediately started to look more resilient.

End result. Saints finished 12th of 20 (they were 19th when he took over) and followed it in 2002/03 by finishing 8th and reaching the FA Cup final. He resigned in February 2004 with the club sitting 11th in the table.

Paul Sturrock – 2003/04  season.

P 9 W 4 D 1 L 4 F13 A 13 P 13

Luggy came in to replace his fellow Scot, but never seemed to fit in at the club.

End result. Saints finished 12th of 20, the same position as when he took over. He was sacked in the summer after rumours of player unrest.

And the award for best ‘Dressing room loser’ goes to…

Steve Wigley – 2004/05 season.

* – Only judged on games in full charge.

P 9 W 1 D 2 L 6 F 6 A 12 P 5

Steve Wigley was a highly unambitious appointment from within for the club who were possible already struggling financially behind the scenes. Fans were right to doubt him.

End result. Sacked in December 2004 with Saints in 18th place of 20.

Harry Redknapp – 2004/05 season.

P 9 W 1 D 3 L 5 F 11 A 17 P 6

Redknapp came in controversial circumstances having just left Portsmouth, but fans can be forgiven for thinking he was the man to turn the team around. Sadly they were mistaken, poor signings, inept tactics and the demeanour of a man who wasn’t really interested was what they got.

End result. Saints finished 20th of 20 and were out of the top flight for the first time in 27 years. Returned to Portsmouth in December 2005 with Saints 12th in the Championship.

Time to grit teeth and dig in?

Nigel Adkins – 2012/13 season.

P 9 W 1 D 1 L 7 F 14 A 26 P 4

Nigel has obviously had a damaging start to life in the top flight, but has a very similar results record to Dave Jones who turned it around and got a decent league finish. He has had a worse start than Branfoot, Gray, Sturrock, Wigley and Redknapp, but I wonder how many Saints fans would want them back?

It is still too early to tell just what sort of Premier League manager Adkins will turn out to be, as these openings of other managers prove.

End result. Who knows, but while Adkins is in charge we must back him.

Chris

Super Ken: From The Premier League to the Printing Press..

Yesterday, former Saints centre half Ken Monkou set off on a new footballing journey as his new magazine ‘Football Life‘ was launched at Stamford Bridge.

The dutchman made 233 appearances for Southampton after joining from Chelsea in August 1992 for a fee of £750k. He proved a popular figure at the Dell, with his commanding performances at the back essential to several survival battles.

He stayed on the South Coast until the summer of 1999 when he moved to Huddersfield Town before retiring in 2002.

Since his playing days Ken has continued to be in and around football including coaching at Chelsea, managing young players, media work and organising friendly matches/tournaments for clubs including Feyenoord and Liverpool.

His latest venture though seems him enter the world of printed media.

Football Life‘  is a stylish, insightful magazine focusing on the untold, human stories surrounding the world of football. Containing candid interviews with the game’s leading players as well as various behind-the-scenes personalities, the magazine provides an exciting glimpse into the world’s most popular sport. From the humble kitman to world famous superstars, FL offers a unique voice within football. Intriguing and offering a new perspective, FL gives an in-depth appraisal of its subject matter whilst remaining true to its core values of honesty, and integrity. 

A concept that was started in Monkou’s native Netherlands by former Sheffield Wednesday and Celtic star Regi Blinker, the magazine aims to show the side to football that perhaps we the supporters don’t often see. It will feature guest editorial contributors from the world of football, including Saints legend and former teammate of Monkou, Matt Le Tissier.

georgeweahscousin.com caught up with Ken to ask him about all things Saints…

How did you find your time at Southampton?

KM: “It was a wonderful experience and I met some great people. I had very loyal support from the fans and the people at the club which I will never forget and still means a lot to me.”

What are your best memories of Saints?

KM: “Beating the ‘mighty’ Man Utd 4-2 and of course the famous win over Norwich 5-4 to keep us in the Premiership in a crazy and memorable game. I scored the winning goal from a Matt Le Tissier corner and it was one of the highlights of my time there. I also remember fondly playing under Alan Ball who was a truly inspirational and lovely man and ‘really one of us’.”

What do you make of our current Dutch centre back Jos Hooiveld?

KM:  “He has the physical and mental presence needed to deal with the life that is the Premier League and he will make a strong contribution to the Saints in their first season back.”

How do you think Saints will fair back in the Premier League?

KM:  “I think they will do themselves proud as they have done really well over the past two seasons and they have built the foundation to have a really successful run in the Premiership.”

How did you feel when you saw the betting scam revelations by ex Saints Claus Lundekvam this week?

KM: “I was shocked and surprised as I always rated him as a good player and that is all I can judge him on. The only time I remember Claus getting into trouble was when he had his regular one way conversation with the referees.”

The first issue of ‘Football Life” goes on sale this Thursday (18th July 2012) and is available from major magazine stockists. The first issue includes a feature on Matt Le Tissier and is a must read for Saints fans!

Chris

Saints To Call On Spirit Of 78?

The England Manager has walked out, Liverpool are heading to the League Cup Final, Portsmouth are facing the possibility of relegation after financial woes, Saints have been knocked out of the FA Cup in the fourth round but occupy a promotion spot, chasing Sam Allardyce’s side to the top flight as they face Burnley on a February Saturday….

Sound familiar? Well all that happened in the 1977/78 season, the last time Saints secured promotion to the top division.

Ok, some of them maybe rather tenuous coincidences, but in the eyes of the superstitious any parallels can and will be drawn!

New Striker Boyer formed a lethal partnership with Ted MacDougall to fire Saints to Division One.

Pulling the strings at the Dell in the late seventies was Alan Ball and once they had entered the promotion spots in early January they were never to leave them.

Goals from new boy Phil Boyer and strike partner Ted MacDougall were key as they eventually finished second to a Bolton side containing now West Ham manager Sam Allardyce. They almost nicked top spot, drawing their last two games to see them fall a point short, but Lawrie McMenemy’s men were good value for their promotion and it would bring top flight football to the Hampshire coast for twenty seven consecutive seasons.

Saints beat Burnley yesterday in an impressive showing and the fans will be hoping that the recent shaky home form has been put behind them. Perhaps now the 2011/12 side can emulate that of the boys of 78 and lose just one more game between the 12th of February and the end of the season…..

The 1977/78 Saints Promotion Season Remake

Directed by

Nicola Cortese

Starring

Nigel Adkins as Lawrie McMenemy

Rickie Lambert as Ted MacDougall

Adam Lallana as Alan Ball

Kelvin Davis as Peter Wells

Jos Hooiveld as Chris Nicholl

and introducing

Billy Sharp as Phil Boyer

Also Starring (in order of appearance)

St. Mary’s Stadium……………….The Dell

Bartosz Bialkowski……………Ian Turner

Frazer Richardson……………Manny Andruszewski

Danny Fox………………….David Peach

Jack Cork…………………Steve Williams

Jose Fonte………………..Mick Pickering

Jason Puncheon……………Austin Hayes

Dean Hammond…………….Nick Holmes

Aaron Martin………….Malcolm Waldron

Danny Butterfield…………….John Sharpe

Guly do Prado…………………Tony Funnell

Morgan Schneiderlin……………Trevor Hebbard

David Connolly……………….Steve Neville

Richard Chaplow……………Peter Osgood

Dan Harding…………………….Tim Coak

Dan Seaborne……………………Mel Blyth

Ben Reeves…………Forbes Phillipson-Masters

Tadanari Lee…………………..Tony Sealy

Andy Crosby……………………Don Taylor

Jason Dodd…………………John McGrath

Chris

Crossing The Divide: Dave Beasant

“I was surprised how fierce the rivalry was when I first came down to Hampshire in the late 1970s. I’ve been involved in three other local rivalries – the Merseyside and north London derbies as a player and in Manchester as a manager – and the feeling is as high here as anywhere.” – Alan Ball 2004

With the next chapter in the South Coast saga just twenty four days away, I thought I would take a look at the men who have braved the wrath of the supporters of both clubs by crossing the Hampshire divide. Surprisingly, many have done it, and many have done it without becoming hate figures, notable twitching cockney managers apart.

Much will be made of the passion and sadly the hatred that encompasses the clash between Hampshire’s finest in the lead up to the Fratton Park fixture, but hopefully these profiles will stir nice memories for the supporters of both clubs.

First up is a man who captured the true spirit of what a rivalry is all about and managed to see the lighter side of it.

Dave Beasant

14th May 2002, Matthew Le Tissier’s Testimonial at St. Mary’s. Le Tissier’s former Saints teammate Dave Beasant is in goal for the England XI in the second half, having recently completed a season playing for Pompey.

The crowd at St. Mary’s are deep into a rendition of a Saints terrace classic “When I was just a little boy, I asked my mother, what should I be, Should I be Pompey, Should I be Saints, Here’s what she said to me, Wash your mouth out son, Go get your fathers gun, and shoot the Pompey scum and support the Saints…..”

Beasant turns to the crowd behind his goal, holds his heart like he has been shot and then dramatically falls to the ground and plays dead.

Lurch, as he is affectionately known has always been a character, and perhaps it takes that level of humour to play for both these fierce rivals, and Beasant had experienced the nastier side of the derby first hand. Beasant was Saints keeper in two derby games, firstly in May 1994 when Saints went to Fratton Park for Alan Knight’s testimonial and then in January 1996 at the Dell for an FA cup tie.

Beasant commented on the 1994 visit to Fratton afterwards ‘The intensity of the fans was something else. It just wasn’t like a testimonial. All sorts of things were going on outside. It was like a mini-riot.”

Beasant joined Saints in November 1993 after Tim Flowers had departed for high flying Blackburn Rovers. Coming armed with a calamitous reputation from his time at Chelsea, and a career very much on the decline after his 1988 FA Cup final high, which had peaked with two England caps in 1989 and travelling to the 1990 world cup to replace David Seaman.

His move to Saints proved to be a good one though, despite a shaky start Beasant became a reliable first team keeper for a Saints side that became rejuvenated under Alan Ball. Still liable to the odd concentration lapse, Beasant was soon forgiven due to his likeable nature and the odd camera save.

Beasant made eighty eight appearances for Saints before dropping down the pecking order behind Paul Jones and Maik Taylor. In the summer of 1997 the veteran keeper headed to Nottingham Forest on loan before making the move permanent.

Beasant the Saint

After four seasons with Forest it was under difficult circumstances that Beasant found himself Hampshire bound again.

Pompey had tragically lost keeper and former Saints youth player Aaron Flahavan in a car crash in the summer of 2001 and Beasant was brought in to take his place.

In a difficult season for the blues, Beasant was a steady and reliable performer under Graham Rix, but the Redknapp revolution was just around the corner and Beasant was surplus to requirements, oddly heading to Spurs and back to the Premier League aged 39.

Pompey fan @BileysMullet gave me his thoughts on Beasant’s time at Fratton:-

“Beasant was one of the few ex-scummers accepted,  as a result of some age defying performances and the fact he took the banter so well..”

Beasant the Blue.

Beasant would go on to further play for Wigan Athletic, Bradford City, Brighton and Fulham before retiring in 2004, he is now a senior coach at the Glenn Hoddle academy.

Chris

Lundekvam or Svensson or Ostenstad or Ekelund?

“Never walk, away from home, ahead of your axe and sword. You can’t feel battle, in your bones, or foresee a fight.” – The Havamal (Book of Viking Wisdom)

In my time watching the Saints, we have had foreign players from all over the world don the famous Red & White stripes. One group in particular that have found themselves taken to the hearts of the fans so readily are the Scandinavians.

So following the succes of the keepers debate I decided to take a vote amongst the users of the #saintsfc hashtag on who has been the best of the many Scandinavian players in Saints history. I was worried that their might be some controversy with this, and as predicted, many did ask as to the non-inclusion of Antti Niemi, who could have been a contender for a second successive Twitter vote victory, but I did check, and had it confirmed to me by others, that Finland is not officially part of Scandinavia. Therefore only players from Denmark, Norway and Sweden could qualify for this highly unofficial title!

In keeping with the four player format, I picked the nominees based on the impact they had on my time watching Saints. Self indulgent? Of course. This is my site. I happily accepted votes in the “other” category though.

The nominees:-

1. Claus Lundekvam. It is rare, especially these days, that a foreign player works his way to a testimonial with an English club, but captain Lundekvam did just that. Playing over three hundred and fifty times for Saints, Claus was there for the highs and the lows after joining in 1996. Premier League, Europe, FA Cup final, Relegation, in twelve years at the club, the one thing that was a constant positive were the performances of the centre half. Carried on the tradition of other Scandinavian Premier League stars Jan Molby and Peter Schmeichal, by adopting a local accent.

2. Michael Svensson. Killer was as solid as they come at the centre of defence. A quiet unassuming man off the pitch, but a warrior on it. It is no coincidence that the most successful period of Premier League life for Saints coincided with the Swede’s involvement and the 2004/05 relegation with his loss to injury. His cult hero status at the club would be confirmed a couple of seasons later though, as after being released, he defied his injury problems to return to the playing staff, sadly it wasn’t to be the comeback everyone was hoping for.

3. Egil Ostenstad. The Norweigan with an eye for goal joined Saints in 1996 and became a fan favourite with his slick finishing. He was the fans player of the season in 1996/97 and continued his good goalscoring form in a side struggling in the Premier League. Disappointingly moved on to Blackburn Rovers in a deal that saw Kevin Davies return to the club in 1999.

4. Ronnie Ekelund. In what must have been one of my most enjoyable periods watching Saints, the Dane (a gift from Johan Cruyff to friend Alan Ball) formed a sublime partnership with Matt Le Tissier as they terrorised Premier League defences in the 1994/95 season. His apparent refusal to have surgery on a back problem led to him not being signed permanently, a mistake on Saints part in my opinion. Still rated by Le Tissier as the best player he ever played with.

From over forty votes this was the final result:-

A close victory for the big Swede, it is telling that between them the quality defensive partnership of Svensson and Lundekvam dominated the voting, with most fans finding it difficult to choose between them.

The other category was a lot more popular than I had anticipated. Many finding it strange that Anders Svensson didn’t make the final four, other votes that came in were for Jo Tessem and Alexander ‘Jesus’ Ostlund, but none in the volume that would actually see them as one of the top four choices. There were even a couple of votes for Stig Johansen, but I am not sure how serious those people were taking it. Strangely neither Andreas Jakobsson (The Swedish Callum Davenport © Phil Reed) or Mickael Nilsson (The Swedish Lee Todd) registered a single vote…

So do you agree with the Twitter voters? Anyone else that didn’t get a mention at all? Let me know!

Chris