For years Southampton have been the victims of terrible refereeing decisions.
Whether it was in terms of clear penalties being denied us, and being punished for those that clearly weren’t or hideous offside calls and a plethora of other injustices, I was told by those that support the traditional ‘big’ clubs that ‘it all evens itself out at the end of the season’.
My stock response to this was always the same. Nonsense. It might do for you, it certainly doesn’t for us; but recent events have made me ponder whether Saints elevated position this season is starting to make that suggestion a reality.
Are the officials now treating us like one of the big boys? We’ve been in and around the top four now since early September and it suddenly feels like we are getting the odd rub…
So the season is almost officially over, the players have gone on holiday and people are bemoaning another England manager’s tournament selection….
…that can only mean one thing. Silly season is upon us again!
Football wouldn’t be football without this period of crazy rumours, and over the next few weeks they will go from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The first type, are those that I find are characteristic of Saints fans, the paranoia rumour. The rumour that is born from that feeling of insecurity. Since the Liebherr family have taken over, things have gone pretty much consistently well, and as Saints fans we aren’t used to that, so we have to doubt it.
Since we secured promotion back to the Premier League these sort of rumours have started to flow again, just as they did last summer, and at various points since our dramatic rise back to prominence.
The first one came within 24 hours of promotion, and they have followed steadily since.
1. Nigel Adkins has fallen out with Nicola Cortese. This was seemingly based on a few throwaway comments by Adkins in the aftermath of the Coventry game, a time when he was elated and emotional. 2 + 2 = 5. The rumours spread quickly. Apparently Mr. Cortese wants a big name manager to lead us in the Premier League. Odd. Given the emphasis he put on appointing the right man at the time, and that he went for Adkins in the first place, a man who was hardly a name at the time. Also it has been reported that Nigel Adkins was in the stands for the Birmingham v Blackpool play off with our scouts. Looking for players at his next job?
2. The Liebherr family no longer want to invest in the club. This is where our inferiority complex really comes into play. Mr. Cortese rarely speaks publicly. The Liebherr family, to my knowledge have never spoken publicly about the club. So where does this come from? Are we frightened of the Premier League? Do we need to start making excuses now? Again this would be odd behaviour considering the development of the Academy that goes on as we speak, and that they recently wrote off their loan to the club as shares.
3. Rickie Lambert has fallen out with Nigel Adkins. This one is totally left-field. I saw this on twitter and fully LOL’d. How and what have they got to fall out about?
The second type of rumour is the dreaded transfer speculation. I love this. This is the opposite of the paranoia. These rumours are born out of optimism.
We have of course been linked to about 50 players already. Most of whom are “definitely” joining the club, because somebody knows somebody who saw somebody doing something. The Daily Echo have joined in with their Rumour Roundup which of course many fans chastise them for, but isn’t it their duty to keep abreast of these things?
Twitter is an amazing outlet. Everyone has a voice, and it is here where the rumour mill really comes into it’s own. Anyone can play out any character on twitter, as we see with some of the frankly brilliant parody accounts, but a new favourite is the account with the word “agent” in the title. These people proceed to tweet such things as “Meeting with Southampton today. Exciting times” and “such and such player is wanted by Saints” Really? You are an agent? Yet you would jeopardise any deal by publicly talking about it? Anyone who knows how we operate as a club will know we don’t do our business in the open. Beware of fools wearing cheap clothing.
I could go through each player linked and give my verdict on it, but hey, what do I actually know? No more than anyone else. So I thought I would give you my three personal favourites so far.
1. Michael Owen. This one is now an annual tradition for Saints, and I guess as we go up the divisions it get’s more and more likely. When Owen tweeted this yesterday, twitter erupted:-
Could it actually happen this time? Well who knows. Personally I am not sure we would be prepared to pay his wages, but with no transfer fee involved stranger things have happened. Would I sign him? Undoubtedly yes. It’s Michael Owen, but then if I was in control of transfers we would be lining up on the 18th August with Micky O up top, Owen Hargreaves in the middle and DBeck on the right.
2. Steven Pienaar. This one came from one of our friends the twitter agents. Basically it pretty much hangs on whether Modric stays at Spurs. Modric stays, Pienaar heads to the South Coast. Yeah right. As much as I would love a player of Pienaar’s quality at St. Mary’s, this one just doesn’t seem plausible. He is probably on a King’s Ransom at Spurs, he loves Everton and his list of suitors would be plentiful. Happy to be proved wrong on this one of course.
3. Matt Jarvis. There has been a lot of noise about this. It isn’t going away, and I see no reason why this one couldn’t be possible. Has he been “seen” at Staplewood? Probably not, unless he has got a hard hat on and is doing a bit of building for fun.
So there we have it, my mini-roundup of the crazy happenings so far. There is no doubt plenty more to come, Oliver Bierhoff will undoubtedly be seen at St. Mary’s, Rudi Skacel is looking for a club and nobody has spotted Gary Lineker in Ted’s fish and chip shop yet….
No matter what happens though, be thankful for where we are and who we have and trust Nicola and Nigel to make the right decisions. We are where we are on merit and it doesn’t matter who comes in and out of the door we’ll move on together!
Oh, and Joey Barton is likely to be available….
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