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Rickie Lambert Retires
Tuesday, 3rd Oct 2017 08:33

Saints legend Rickie Lambert has announced his retirement from football, a man truly one of the most revered players in the club's history.

Rickie Lambert is a true Saints legend, one of the few players who played for the club whom you do not need to mention his full name, just use the word Rickie and all Saints fans will understand exactly who you are talking about.

But when Rickie arrived at Saints in the summer of 2009 he was not a household name, a couple of good seasons at Bristol Rovers had raised his profile, but Saints were not fighting off clubs from the Championship and above for his signing.

His first season was a triumph with 30 League goals and also one at Wembley in the JPT Final.

His second season was a little more sedate with only 21 and there were those that questioned whether he would be able to cut it in the Championship turning 30 during that season, the answer was a resounding 27 goals in the league and Saints and Rickie were in the Premier league.

But surely this would be the end of the fairy tale ?

Nigel Adkins perhaps thought so in the opening game he left Rickie on the bench and played new signing Jay Rodriguez and Guly, but non came Rickie scored a goal and the roller coaster ride was up and running again, 15 Premier League goals was a decent strike rate and enough to see him in the top 10 Premier League scorers.

But surely this was it, he was now 31 Saints were signing big names including Osvaldo, the writing was on the wall.

But what was to be his last season at the club would be a great ending, 13 league goals was seeing his powers wain, but an England cap and début goal would be a fitting end to his time at Saints.

Even the fact that he perhaps went to Liverpool in too much haste was overlooked by the fans such was their love for him, certainly Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana who quickly followed were lambasted but not Rickie.

The good thing in this was he went from St Mary's at the top of his game, he was 32 we did not see a drop in standard, he didn't have to endure the fans on his back as age caught up with him, he left with his reputation intact.

But in going to his boyhood idols Liverpool he perhaps effectively ended his career as a top class player, no one can blame him from going to Liverpool it was his team, his home town and it gave him the chance to truly earn a big pay day, something he had never really had till Saints got in the Premier League.

After leaving St Mary's he would start only 7 league games for Liverpool, only 5 for West Bram and then finally last season only 13 for Cardiff, but the goals were not forthcoming either, only 2 at Liverpool, 1 at West Bram and 4 at Cardiff in three seasons.

Rickie perhaps knew that the time was right to retire.

For Saints fans though he is a legend

League games 197(10) 106 goals
FA Cup 11 (2) 5 goals
League Cup 4(4) 3 goals
JPT Trophy 7 3 goals

A truly amazing record and a true Roy of the Rovers story of a player who went from the lower leagues to the Premier league and England and took his club with him.

Rickie was like Markus Liebherr, a symbol of the club rising from the ashes from the brink of extinction, he was truly an icon for the supporters.

In his statement Rickie spoke of the fact that the club he truly saw as his best playing days and whose fans he had the special relationship was Saints and the fans feel the same way.

There are some who felt that he should have stayed an extra season or that he should have returned after Liverpool, but I was not one of them, his story at St Mary's was perfect, it did not deserve to be spoiled.

Good luck Rickie, you will always be welcome in Southampton and St Mary's you were more than just a player, you were a legend.

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SaintBrock added 09:10 - Oct 3
Better loved you canna' be

In our hearts for ever, Ricky!

AirFlorida added 09:40 - Oct 3
Just like Rickie.. Thinking of our club by timing his retirement at exactly the same time as our current crop of 'strikers'. That said, I think Redmond retired as a striker last season and applied for the role of cul-de-sac winger.

GeordieSaint added 10:10 - Oct 3
Apparently he is top goal scorer in English football since the millennium.

bstokesaint added 12:18 - Oct 3
Yeah, Rickie is truly deserving of the title of club legend. He deserved far more respect than Liverpool were ever prepared to give him, instead of using him as a cheap lure to bring in the players they really wanted. Even when they were having a goal drought they avoided playing him. What fools. Rickie was so much better than that. I'm glad to have had the pleasure of watching a true Saints' great. What a great story he had too.

steve73 added 12:19 - Oct 3
Away to Plymouth 2011, the (slightly early) promotion party, one of the best football days of my life.

Thank you Sir 👏👏👏

BoondockSaint added 13:41 - Oct 3
Congratulations on a "Rags to Riches" career Rickie! You put a lot of hard work to achieve your success.

And if you are looking to get into the coaching business, I know a club that is sh!t at penalties.......

simmo400 added 14:10 - Oct 3
A top player and man in every respect. He could have turned up for Pompey and fans still would have cheered him that's the respect they have for him. Always gave 100% and. Will always be in that no. 7 shirt.

SanMarco added 14:46 - Oct 3
I echo all of the above. I suppose the point re his moving to Liverpool would be that he was gradually moving out of first team contention at Saints and it was a dream move and feck the consequences for him. He must have known that he would be fairly peripheral there.

Whatsforpud added 16:08 - Oct 3
Always enjoyed watching him. A proper target centre forward, with great ball control when receiving and holding the ball. Felt he always had a good understanding with Lallana, which would have been useful at Liverpool if they had used him. He was perhaps in the top six of Saints' centre forwards, and in the top two of penalty takers.

sfcsuperfan added 17:40 - Oct 3
I love our Rickie. I would say he was the best centre forward we have had since Ron Davies. He was the most intelligent footballer we have had and his football brain 2nd to none. Strikers would benefit from watching his game . He held up the ball so well and brought others into play. His lay offs were always into space with the right weight of pass. His deadball and penalties were a joy to watch and he made superb contact with the ball with power and precision. Sfc please get Rickie here as striking coach and teach our current crop how to improve and play. Name a stand or build a statue to the legend that is Ricky Lambert . I wish Rickie the best and he will always be welcome here.

WestSussexSaint added 17:41 - Oct 3
The term legend is used too much these days but for Saints not only did he score a sackful of goals he was an integral part of the the side that took Saints back to the Premier League. On top of that he was a humble and thoroughly nice bloke.

Nick shows Rickies goal return above but would be interested to see how many assists he got as he was so much more that just a goalscorer.

All the best Rickie. A Saints Legend.

SaintPaulVW added 21:30 - Oct 3
It's great when a player is just totally in sync with his club, fans and team mates. We were lucky to witness it. Happy Retirement SRL.

AirFlorida added 09:22 - Oct 4
Osvaldo wasn't fit to lace Rickie's boots and Rickie saw him off. I know it's fantasy but I'd love Saints to offer him a one year goodbye contract. It's also what he brought to the team off the pitch. He'd lift that changing room right now! Even bring him on towards the end of games (or if we ever needed goals..!)

sambat added 17:22 - Oct 5
Let’s face it, the way our forwards are performing Rickie could easily come and play for us again.
One of the best holding players we ever had.
Even as a penalty coach.

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