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Virgil Van Dijk ! Good Riddance To A Disgrace
Thursday, 28th Dec 2017 09:45

It cannot be argued that Virgil Van Dijk was crucial to Saints success over the past two years, but that was ruined when he showed his true colours and disgraced the name of his profession back in the summer.

Over the years football has had it's fair share of players who have blemished the name of the game, indeed Saints themselves have had a few we would care to forget for their behaviour and disregard not only for the club but their profession itself.

Now I am not one of these who demands that footballlers be squeaky clean role models and spend all their time doing charity work, but there is a certain standard required of players even in these times and that is to fulfill the terms and conditions of your contract.

The problem is that football in the past 25 years has started to breed a type of player who cares not for the football club he plays for, but only satisfying his own greed and lust for adoration, you only have to watch TV footage of todays Premier League player getting off a team bus, you rarely these days see friendly characters engaging with fans,you see spoilt brats with headphones on clutching washbags that they are staring at with enormous interest to avoid actually having to come into contact with those who make their lifestyles possible.

Virgil Van Dijk was the very image of this, if he did have to scribble the odd autograph, no interaction with the young starstruck fan who had asked for it, only a blank staring into space that made you think that in another life he could have been an extra in The Walking Dead.

Not to say that Van Dijk and his numerous colleagues at every other Premier League club are totally to blame for this, in truth they have been bred like dogs, they have been part of one massive puppy farm where they have not been taught to be kind and considerate, but arrogant and selfish, because only those with the most of these traits truly make it to the top, whilst many fall by the wayside and are metaphorically speaking put in a sack and thrown into the nearest river by clubs that have feted them for years until in their late teens they are of no more use.

But what makes Virgil Van Dijk stand out from 99% of his colleagues in football, is that he has failed to realise that he actually has a job to do and whilst he has a contract he has to fulfill it.

There are plenty of players that I dislike or did dislike a lot more than Van Dijk, but they do what they are paid to do and that is play football to the best of their ability for the club that pays them.

This is where Van Dijk fails as both a professional footballer or as a person with a shred of moral fibre in his body.

Ironically Jamie Vardy is probably the most odious man in the Premier League at the moment, ironic because he was the man who ran his studs down the back of Van Dijk's ankle and put him out of the game last season, Vardy is an easy man to hate, but not if you are a Leicester fan as despite being upset when refused a big move he got on with playing for his club and fulfilling his contract.

Six months ago I had nothing against Virgil Van Dijk, I saw him as potentially the best central defender in the Premier League, I knew his time at St Mary's would be relatively short lived from the moment he first pulled on a Saints shirt, all I expected was for him be part of our production line, play well earn a big money move and then we could repeat the process.

But that was not a part of Van Dijk's plan and his behaviour in the second half of this year has been disgraceful, I can understand why he would want to go, but he surely understands the way football works, he was happy to sign a big contract in the summer of 2016, he was happy to pick up those not insignificant wages for six months on the sidelines, so the vilest thing to do was to treat the club that had treated you so well with such contempt.

Van Dijk was not the only player to have the same frustrations about a move, indeed his longed for destination of Liverpool were fighting to keep Coutinho at the same time, the Brazilian as desperate to get out of Anfield last summer as Van Dijkwas to get into it, but compare the performances of both players over the course of this season and there is a big difference.

Indeed there are comparisons to be made at Saints, both Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama did not get their moves when they demanded them, but made to stay they put in a decent shift in their last season, no one could accuse them of not trying, however then there is Jose Fonte, perhaps a man with cause to be moregrateful to Saints than anyone else, but once he sniffed the money he changed, with his career in tatters in the name of greed, his biggest headlines are now for his sniping at Southampton Football Club over the treatment of Virgil Van Dijk.

Now I don't blame Liverpool Football Club for signing Van Dijk or for that matter a number of our former players, after all this is football, this is the nature of things, the pecking order if you like, they are perfectly entitled to try and sign who they want, yes last summer they made big mistakes in the way they handled things and the way they behaved, but underneath all that why should they not chase Van Dijk or for that matter any other player, every club does it, even us when we are after a target.

But the worry for Liverpool fans is why Van Dijk has signed for them, he could have had the pick of any club, indeed if he had knuckled down this season for Saints he would have been coveted by the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, so why was he so desperate to go to Anfield ?

I like Jurgen Klopp and being of a certain age I was brought up with a Liverpool FC that did things the right way, I know things have changed, but I cannot fathom why Van Dijk was determined to go there.

Van Dijk said all the right things in his statement about both Saints and Liverpool, but the words seemed hollow when referring to both, from our perspective if he wanted to thank us all, then why didn't he do that with actions rather than words in his final months, if he had put in a shift these last three months then we would have waved him off with a little bit of respect at least.

In what he says about Liverpool. it could have been cribbed from Dejan Lovren's speech on arrival on Merseyside, it was so scripted it was cringeworthy, with respect to Liverpool fans and I count many as friends who understand the game and who don't buy this type of BS, these were not honest words and were spookily similar to the ones he uttered 18 months ago when signing a six year deal at St Mary's.

The only question is whether Van Dijk becomes a Liverpool legend or a Liverpool Lovren, if it is the former then will he behave in the same way if Barcelona and th like come a calling ? A leopard does not change his spots.

So good riddance to Virgil Van Dijk, we can do a lot more with £75 million than a 100% committed Virgil Van Dijk, we could do a lot more with even £7.5 million than the embarrassing disgrace of a professional footballer gave us in the last three months.

When Adam Lallana left he broke Saints fans hearts, Van Dijk means nothing like that to us, what he has done has made us a little bit more of our love for the game, not or club, but the way this is now a game of Virgil Van Dijk's and greed and no one of Matthew le Tissier and loyalty !

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GeordieSaint added 10:06 - Dec 28
Don't let it get to you nick, life's too short. I just hope they actually spend the money and spend it wisely.

saintstuinoz added 10:13 - Dec 28
Once again we've sold a player for good money, and once again there is an outpouring of bile from loads of Saints fans. FFS, we are not a massive club, but we've been fortunate to have some wonderful players in our team over the past few years (Lallana, Mane, Lovren, Clyne, Shaw and Van Dijk, amongst many others). These players are able to play at the highest level, and as such move to clubs playing regularly in the top 6 and competing for trophies. Rather than slating them when they go, enjoy the fact that we've been able to attract such players, and have them improve our club for a few seasons. In the main we're making a healthy profit, some if which is being re-invested in the club. Virgil Van Dijk is the best centre-half I've seen at Saints since 'Killer' Michael Svensson, and I loved the time he was with us. I wish him the very best of luck for the future (except against of us of course), and hope the club invest the ridiculous fee wisely.

Chesham_Saint added 10:14 - Dec 28
Attitudes like his are what will ultimately kill the game. In any event, let's hope he plays well enough to get noticed by the likes of Barcelona (but not well enough for Liverpool to win anything - unlike you, I'm no fan of scouse football) and does the same to them, the petulant fvcker. I'm assuming that Les will have negotiated a sell on clause....

BuenosSaint added 10:21 - Dec 28
The Le Tissiers of this world are so so rare as we all know. Do footballers put fan adoration and loyalty first or money and personal glory first? These days it is undoubtably the latter. All ego driven with greed for VVD. How much money can someone really have and need? How can he be the 9th highest paid footballer in the UK and at £180k a week to boot?. no doubt with personal endorsements and bonuses on top. I know we all smile when lovren screws up regularly and i dislike myself for wanting the same to happen to VVD but when footballers do this it is v.v.hard not to wish him well. Anyway time to draw a line under this sorry saga and strengthen the squad with the spoils.

steadyeddie added 10:25 - Dec 28
Good piece Nick. Like you, I remember the days when top footballers behaved like normal guys, but the huge amounts of money and Agents, have changed that.
They are Robots, programmed to perform and behave in a fairly predictable manner when they don't get what they want.
Unfortunate, but £75M!!! He ain't worth it!!!
Let's hope we don't waste it !!!

perazi added 10:28 - Dec 28
One of your best articles Nick - VVD is a class CB but his behaviour at Saints has been deplorable and hard to forgive. Why did he go to Liverool? My guess is the 180k pounds a week, nothing else. A low individual in an age where Football loyalties are non-existent.

mattlegod added 10:37 - Dec 28
Well good riddance to one of the most unprofessional people in football. To have behaved in the manner that he has since signing a 5 year contract is quite frankly disrespectful to the game of football, let alone to the club and the supporters. I do have to applaud the club for the way they handled the situation, the majority of supporters wanted the club to make a stance in the summer and they did and as such drove the price up by £15 m in a few months, it is just a shame his petulance managed to disturb the balance of the squad in doing so. I wish VvD a Lovren style Liverpool career, smattered with a number of troubling injuries.

hawthorn1 added 10:42 - Dec 28
Look no further than VVD agent. This is the same agent that dragged Koeman away from SFC just after VVD had signed a 6 year deal. Shortly after RK left, VVD (allegedly) stated that he phoned RK on several occasions, but would not divulge the contents of the conversation. Shortly afterwards VVD signs up to the RK agent, and since then VVD showed a steady decline into wanting to leave SFC.

I would suggest that we never negotiate any transfer deals with this agent again.

With every passing season, I get more and more dissolutiond with football, my 58 years of supporting SFC is waning, and am finding RU to be a more acceptable sport to watch, I feel the money in football will be it’s ruination.

A lot of people think £75 mi for VVD is good business, wait until Liverpool sell Coutinio for £140, or Mane for a similar amount, I think our a good many people will think we have been shafted by LFC.

LordDZLucan added 10:45 - Dec 28
It could be a good bit of business as long as we've already spent all of the £75m on players who will join very early on in the transfer window. If we haven't got the new players lined up then we're in trouble.

Nomaesaints added 10:51 - Dec 28
Lets hope the balance left over after paying Celtic is given straight to the manager to buy a goalkeeper, centre back, midfielder and a forward who can score. After a good start by Lamina its now apparent why he was on the bench at Juve-he has no engine. I am hoping that the Club has already agreed signings and hasn't waited until the selling of VVD was announced, after all we all knew he was going!

landerwal added 11:02 - Dec 28
The whole affair leaves a sour taste in the mouth but at least we have been paid £75m for a player Liverpool could have bought for a fraction of that two years ago. For all the criticism levelled at him, I'd rather have Yoshida in the team always giving 100 per cent than a greedy, self absorbed, sulking prima Donna like Van Dijk. He and Liverpool are welcome to each other. May it all end in tears.

Number_58 added 11:07 - Dec 28
If any good has come out of this I hope it's than people now accept that we are a selling club and that it's utterly pointless keeping a player who blatantly doesn't want to be here. We got a couple of good years out of VVD, as we did with Lovren, Clyne, Wanyama, etc. Would supporters rather we acquire a team full of Forsters, Yoshidas and Davis's who no other club want to buy?

skiptonsaint added 11:10 - Dec 28
Lets hope Mr Gao spends it because if he tries to pocket too much of it and it goes wrong he will be the biggest loser.

Very interesting month ahead

highfield49 added 11:20 - Dec 28
Hopefully, as others have already said, there are players lined up ready to sign because the need has never been greater. Please, please, please don't squander the money on £10m donkeys, it has to be quality and experience.

densham41 added 11:56 - Dec 28
Great read Nick.
This might sound strange, but I will now be upset if Saints go down. The premier league can only be won by one of four clubs. Then there's 2 others who chase Tey to compete for Champion Leagues spots.
With our income we will never be up there. We make up the numbers for Sky / talk sport / and all the other media. VVD IS everything that is wrong with football. Nick summed him up well. The majority of players do not give a toss about us. Look what they do at the end of an away game. Yep a token gesture clap form the half way line. Can't even be arsed to come over within 20 meters to say thanks for driving 8 hours round trip to support us. Oh and they will be on a private jet back while we're stuck of the .ucking M6.
I'll keep gong because Southampton is in my DNA and it always will be. But the likes of VVD and the premier league are making it a lot harder by the season.
I for one would be happy with a trip to Brentford for QPR. At least then I know I'm closer to spit and dust football that I used to adore.
Rant Over

underweststand added 12:12 - Dec 28
Clearly money / ambition wins over loyalty 99% of the time, but it's another bit of good business from Saints perspective.. maybe the Black Box really does work (?)...
Now VvD has gone, I don't wish him ill, although he could never be worse than Lovren..

If VvD scores the winning goal in a derby game at Goodison, he'll become a folk hero overnight at Anfield, meanwhile tomorrow is another day.. and we wait to see who you have lined up for our next signings ...Les ?

beynali73 added 12:14 - Dec 28
Good riddance indeed. The reputation for nurturing talent and selling high which gained momentum over the last few seasons is how the big 5 (some of them anyway as it's notable that Chelsea and Man City don't covert our best players) see Saints.

We are in a different era of football now where the differences in income streams is so distorted that the big 5 can spend stupid money on wages and signing on fees and the footballing authorities applaud the negative effect this has on competition rather than intervene to enhance competition.

The big question is why do we lose all our talent so readily whereas other teams around us tend to keep hold of it and therefore remain competitive. Part of it is hype from the media towards Saints who applaud us but then also in the same breath say 'big clubs will be watching them'. Hopefully the lack of success in replacing our top talent will take the focus away from us.

In the meantime lets hope that with this bloke gone the team spirit returns and the money is spent on a striker or even that Mauricio can pick a settled side and play to Gabbi's strengths and get him scoring again.

The situation isn't apocalyptic we do have a good set of players the manager just needs to grab the reigns and lay down the law and be strong and positive.

beynali73 added 12:15 - Dec 28
Oh, and the players need to listen to him of course.

patred added 12:25 - Dec 28
We have seen the end of a saga that has disrupted our club for over 2 seasons and held up our progression in the same period.
We have not, as a club, exactly behaved in an appropriate manner. However no club has ever had to deal with such a trecherous, greedy player, with an agent to match. On top of that we were dealing with a buying club with no scrupples, with enough arrogance for the whole PL, and then some.
If we use the cash wisely and get back on track we can celebrate this transfer and rid ourselves of a nasty smell amongst us. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and I hope VVD brings as much success and enjoyment as the previous centre back we sold them.

SaintPaulVW added 12:54 - Dec 28
Agree, given what we've seen this season, for whatever reason, better to cash in. Can't wait for him to go into a sulk at Liverpool when he wants a transfer in 2 years time.

Would like to hear owners/board state what the aim is for rest of the season and how money will be used. Yes it's good this distraction is over but we need a statement of intent. Back Mo or get rid but say what the plan is.


SanMarco added 13:08 - Dec 28
I will obviously be unpopular for saying this but I think the article might go slightly over the top in its bile. VVD behaved badly in the same way that Lallana and Lovren did and was caught out when we said no. For that reason we were right to keep him and have now got a good price. VVD comes out of this badly so I don't wish him well but life is too short for petty hatreds. I actually think Liverpool FC were the real villains in the summer: I am glad they have paid through the nose for a player who may go on to greatness or may even be (hopefully) past his best. Either way I am glad he's gone - if his form suddenly returns to 100% as soon as he walks out at Anfield then we can all dislike him a bit more but in the end what the heck. It is 40 points that matters now - not some overpaid prima donna.

I see the Echo are reporting that Saints are only planning to spend some of the money and we are being warned not to expect lots of quality signings. I do hope that the speed in which this has been done didn't just come about due to Liverpool's needs and that we are intending to buy early in January. We all know what we need - let's hope we buy at least some (most please) of it.

BoondockSaint added 14:10 - Dec 28
We should never have sold to the Scouse even if others didn't offer as much. Don't say "Oh we would have lost money to spend on players." because that money won't be spent anyway. The owner(s) are just going to pocket the money as they did with the previous deals. (The money we have spent on players is only part of the TV money).

The real disgrace here is Les and the board who have now turned our team into the laughingstock of the league. The Scouse were in a Leeds-like nosedive a few years ago until Les started their rebuilding program. Any player they want, he hands over.

When the FA came down on the Scouse, everyone was wondering why the Saints didn't pursue harsher I predicted back then:

That was because Les was going to do the deal in the next window, which is now.

Chelski and Citehad interested? Nothing came of those deals? Les turned them down because he already had this deal in place with his masters since the summer.

It's a fv@king joke. Les has gutted this team, and to top it off has consistently helped the team of the most smug, self-entitled, victim-card-playing fans in the world. I hope he's proud of his accomplishments. He'll Never Wa*k Alone.

wibbersda added 14:45 - Dec 28
We have only got 60mil after 10% to Celtic and 10% to the player. Irrespective of that don't expect Les to buy anyone in Jan.

SanMarco added 14:47 - Dec 28
Happy new year Boondock - I enjoy your posts and more often than not agree with them but I don't see big conspiracy here. Chelski and City were interested but Liverpool threw an extra 15 million on top to secure the deal. Should Les have sold him somewhere else for 15 million less? Les needs to clear his desk asap but not for this deal...

ChristchurchSaint added 14:48 - Dec 28
Good article Nick, you summed up this obnoxious business very well, and now the spoilt brat is going and we have done well out of it. As others have said, just draw a line under it, and just hope he turns out like Lovren, because that would certainly bring a smile to my face. The fact that he has gone to cesspool grates, but City made it clear that they would not pay the same fee, and the extra £20 million or so will go towards another player. Also, as others have said, we cannot compete with the top six, without major investment ( and I think we would see snow on the equator before that happens with our present “silent” owner), so we have to accept it, and just make sure we are amongst the best of the rest.

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