Tag Archives: Staplewood

Eight ways to cure goal shy Saints….

It will not have escaped your attention dear reader, that Saints have for some time been a little goal shy. In fact the club’s hierarchy is said to be tempted to change the match-day host to Paul O’Grady† and Ben Elton is considering writing a book about us‡.

To that end I tasked myself with coming up with solutions to this issue, and hopefully see us not be subjected to another week of frustration in front of goal.

Disclaimer. If at this point you are expecting to read carefully thought out coaching suggestions, this isn’t the blog for you.

Still with me?

1. Running Man style exploding collars

I haven’t done the science, but basically invent an exploding collar that all the Saints players must wear. If they get within 25 yards of the opposition goal and the ball doesn’t cross the line (some sort of tie in with the existing goal line technology required here. Over to you Boffins) within the next 3 minutes the wearer’s collar explodes.

2, Pray to Le God

We all worship him, but perhaps our offerings of late haven’t been sufficient and he’s angry with us?

Let’s take it in turns to sacrifice our first born sons at the feet of the Ted Bates statue at midnight on the night before each game while collectively and repeatedly chanting the Le Tiss song under our breaths.

I know what you are thinking. This is easy for Chris to say, he doesn’t have any kids? Point taken, but I would be prepared to do it, and that counts.

Le God approves.

3. Play Home Games at Staplewood

As discussed this week on the Total Saints Pod, our players look superb in training. Banging shots in top bin every time, Ward-Prowse sinking free kicks like it’s the easiest thing in the world! But have we got a team of Willie Thorne’s?

4. Recycle the Clappers

Not my idea, but the brainchild of @saintsmadmomma, and it’s perfect. No one asked for the clappers, no one likes the clappers, so why not make use of them?

5. Hypnosis

Get McKenna in. It’s a cut and shut job for the master of minds. All he’s got to do is collectively hypnotise the squad and tell them that every time they hear the song ‘My Way’ or any bastardised version of it they will believe they are a combination of Le Tissier and Shearer.

As a bonus, while he’s got them under, we can ask Paul to also tell them that every time they hear the song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ you suddenly become football’s answer to Frank Spencer. It worked on Lovren.

6. Change the Changing Room Music

Whenever the club releases a playlist of the squad’s choosing it is overrun with terrible R&B tracks. No one in the history of anything has been inspired by anything written or performed by Drake. No wonder half of them look like they’ve just had bad news when they are playing at the moment. Soul? Soul destroying.

Luckily I’ve created a pre-match playlist for them. You can find it here:- https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/saints-matchday/idpl.u-1V3F8keGYj

7. Play in Cartoon Format

Who misses those guys from the kit release cartoon? So accurate, yet Pellegrino has ignored them so far. Ridiculous.

8. Put an Instagram Frame Round the Goals

They love an Instagram post. Some might say they are over focused on posting dull updates on their lives in which they are inevitably wearing hideous clothes and listening to terrible music (refer to point 6). Put the frame up and they won’t be able to get there quick enough!

So there we have it. None of them are realistic or will likely work, but all I’m saying is they can’t do any harm.

Keep the faith,

† – Least famous presenter of Blankety Blank, but only one not dead.

‡ – Elton wrote a book about infertility.

St. Mary’s Meals: Saints Foundation Charity Launch!

Last week, having recently made a donation to the charity Mary’s Meals via the Saints Foundation I was lucky enough to be drawn out of the hat to attend the launch of the two charities partnership at Staplewood. Unfortunately, as I now reside permanently in the desert (Dubai) it was a little difficult for me to get there, but the upshot of that was I was allowed to return a long overdue favour. With Saints in Europe for the first time in over 10 years, I was gutted to be so far away and not involved, so I appealed on twitter for anyone who might fancy picking me up some programmes from the games as a way of having some memorabilia. Paul Dawson messaged me and said he was happy to do it, and I was astounded that this stranger to me was not only pleased to help, but insisted on no financial compensation for his trouble. A truly selfless act, and when the package arrived in the post I was deligthed to find a Saints v Vitesse pin badge included! When I realised I couldn’t attend the event there was only one person I hoped could attend in my place! Over to you Paul! – Chris

After a plea and a tweet from a Saints Fan abroad on the first night of our European adventure back in August, an invitation was kindly offered to Debbie and myself to attend the launch of the Clubs new Charitable partnership with Mary’s Meals at Staplewood. Warmly welcomed by Ralph Krueger, and split into smaller groups by Greg Barker, our tour guide was the Head of Education, (I didn’t take her name as we were a bit giddy by then)! and also we met the Campus Cat along the way, cute thing that took a shine too the Christmas Tree. 
 
We were given the full no holds barred tour, including the Press Conference Room (which also doubles as a team debriefing room due too the 70 seats, ideal for all of the age groups of the team or indeed the 1st team).

IMG_0123

Next up was the corridor down to the changing rooms, which is in the same style as the ‘tunnel’ at St Mary’s, but with the noticeable difference that it has pictures of Saints ‘Legends” Mick Channon, MLT, Matt Oakley, Franny, Kevin Keegan and Peter Shilton ect. but also had the Hydro Pool, and showers, and of course the hairdryer!

The first team’s changing room, has no apparent segregation, as the club try to encourage togetherness and it helps with banter! As we were allowed to nose and poke around all of the changing rooms, it was noticeable that the younger of the age groups rooms were the tidiest, with the first teams room being very reminiscent of ‘teenagers bedrooms’!
At the end of the corridor was the boot room, and while it stank of wet grass and sweaty feet (think of a Ski hire shop smell x 10, and you’re still not even close)! Cedrić and Clasie’s feet are the smallest I have ever seen on a grown man!

IMG_0138

Just around the corner was ‘Kitman Forbsey’s’ place of work, and he gave an insightful speech about the amount of kit they wash each day (around 300 per day), and how they wash and clean Goalkeepers Gloves – and as the camera was snapping away we found the clubs underpants!


IMG_0146

Next we were taken upstairs too the Under 21’s and below canteen, with the sofa’s, TV’s, pool tables, and the explanation that they were not allowed into the 1st team’s canteen, they had to earn the right to enter that canteen! Into the first team canteen, which was almost the same, but bigger maybe and with more comfortable seats! Also on the wall of the Kids canteen was the list of some of the ex-players that have passed through the system.

Then through into the corridor where all of the coaches, and Ronald’s office is – and the Director of Football etc. and the analysis office, which has the fabled ‘black box’ room, while very well publicised it was obviously turned off!

We then braved the weather and trooped down too the area that hosts the Foundation, Education and all of the kids needs, which is about too be moved when the next phase of the building work gets underway.
The placements of all of the individual pitches was explained, how the kids progress around the campus, ending up on the first team pitch. We were also given access to the ‘dome’, the new indoor structure for the all weather training (there were a group of under 13’s training, and also colder inside than it was outside.  What was nice was that they all came over too our group and shook our hands and said ‘hello’, as all of the kids going through the system are expected to shake everybody’s hands they meet for the first time that day and say Hello, (a bit like the first team do on the Matchday Uncovered videos), and that was really nice too see, and all of the kids looked at ease doing so.

Back into the main pavilion, via the hallway too all of the changing rooms, and there was a batch of urine samples sat on the side(!), see pic, upstairs too the first team canteen for the launch of the new partnership!

IMG_0170

Ralph and Katherina spoke very passionately about why Mary’s Meals has been chosen to be the club’s foreign charity, and Greg explained how the Saints Foundation would be working and learning alongside Mary’s Meals going forward, I simply can’t do Mary’s Meals and the partnership justice, the best way of doing so is too click the clink and support the cause!

IMG_0174

Saints: A Year in Review Part Four

So here it is, the fourth and final part of my year in review of Saints, using only tweets. Hope you enjoyed it and I would like to wish everyone who has taken time to read any of the articles/calculated nonsense on this site in 2014 a Happy New Year!

To recap see Parts One, Two and Three!

October

Sep14 November

Nov14

December

Dec14

 

We march on.

Rumours…

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?

@Footie_Agent listens in on the deal to bring Sergio Aguero to St. Mary’s….

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….

Chris

p.s. If you have enjoyed reading the blog over the past year, why not vote for us in the “Club Specific” category at the Football Blogging Awards? Either via Facebook here. Or, tweet the following:- @TheFBAs @crstig #Club