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A Season Changing Moment For Saints !
Tuesday, 20th Feb 2018 08:49

On Monday night there was a season changing moment for Saints, although they themselves were not playing in the actual game in question.

Last season was one of the worst I have seen in many a year fro pessimism in the Saints support, after several years of progress there was an apathy in the supporters that continued into this season and if anything has got worse.

There is an element in our support who now cannot see anything good in the football club and see everything as a negative, be it another defeat, the arrival of a new foreign owner or literally anything else you care to mention, there are some who will claim that this is an example of why the club is now rotten to the core from the tea lady up to Gao !

We seem to be in a never ending circle that will doom us to repeat ourselves endlessly, nothing will be good enough for some and no action will be evidence enough that the club is moving forward, some see everything as evidence that the club is preparing for life in the Championship and the owner would prefer it that way, even spending £20 million on a new signing proves nothing to some, it is merely part of a big masterplan and Gao is prepared to write off £20 million he could bank in his own pocket in order to continue the subterfuge.

So something needs to break the circle, it could perhaps have been the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, certainly most supporters whther they be conspiracy theorists or not would agree that he is not performing to the standards expected of a manager of this club, but for some reason the board have kept faith.

At th weekend there was hope that the win at West Brom was setting up the FA Cup as a catalyst, but then three hours later those hopes seem to have been dashed when we were drawn out of the hat with either Wigan or Manchester City.

There wasn't a Saints supporter who thought that we stood a chance at the Etihad, however they didn't think that Wigan stood a chance either.

Now the headlines are all about Wigan, but for Saints fans the story is not about their giant killing act, it is about how the course of our season might have changed with a goal from a journeyman striker who has never scored with regularity above League One level.

Suddenly the season has opened out for Saints, we have gone from getting the draw in the quarter finals that everyone feared to the one that everyone wanted.

With respect to Wigan we have a much better chance against them than all of the other sides left in the competition unlessRochdale pull off a bigger shock.

We beat Wigan and we have a trip to Wembley and we can pull off a result against any of the other sides left in.

But for some this is still no grounds for optimism, they say that Wigan have beaten three Premier League sides in the competition without conceding a goal, although they don't mention that all put out weakened sides.

Wigan will not be a push over, I certainly will not be understimating them, but the reality is we have a better chance now and we should be capable of beating them, after all we have beaten two Premier League sides in our run so why should we be afraid of a League One side.

So this result could well change the season for Saints, it gives us light at the end of the tunnel, it gives us motivation not only to try and get to Wembley twice and perhaps win the FA Cup, but to use that as a catalyst to win games in the Premier League.

A couple of days ago I suggested that Mauricio Pellegrino was only six wins away from perhaps presiding over the best season in our history, many derided this and said we had no chance in the FA Cup, I was wrong it was actully seven wins, six for us and one for Wigan, but make no mistake this competition has now opened out for us.

So perhaps it is time to stop being pessimistic, there has been too much moaning about things before they have actually happened if indeed they actually are, it is time to stop claiming that Saints are already down, stop saying that Wigan have better players than us (Yes I have read that on more than one occasion in the last 12 hours) stop saying that Gao is asset stripping and just deal with reality and that reality is that we are only 90 minutes from Wembley and yes Mauricio Pellegrino might just emulate a manager who when he won the Cup for Saints had put us in a far worse position than we are now.

The last few years have seen the club in a better position than it has been in over three decades, but football is not a smooth ride, not for any club be it Manchester City or Accrington Stanley, it is a roller coaster ride, you have to take the ups and the downs, as anyone who was around when we were being relegated to League One will tell you, when you stick with the team in it's bad moments it makes the good ones all the sweeter.

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DorsetIan added 09:31 - Feb 20
Well said. Spot on.

I told my sons after the first few games of this season that it was going to be a long hard season, and I've not been disappointed. Watching wins turn into draws or losses is no fun, but I do think things have been turning around.

The quarter final will be around 17th March, and, yes, that will act as a massive incentive for everyone in the games between now and then.

And, yes, Wigan will be no pushovers, and we may need a replay, but what a game that's going to be up there!

Sanguin added 09:31 - Feb 20
I honestly think the tea lady is the main problem at St Mary’s, she’s only involved in the club for financial gain. She doesn’t truly care about Southampton Football Club; there was a photograph of her during the Liverpool game sitting at home watching it on TV rather than at the stadium supporting the team.

Her only goal is to make as much money as possible from the club’s assets. Any casual search on eBay will find teapots with the Southampton logo and half eaten biscuits purporting to still be slightly damp with Stuart Taylor’s saliva. It’s a plot she concocted with Les Reed and they’re splitting the profits.


skiptonsaint added 09:34 - Feb 20
To get Wigan in the quarter finals is a real slice of luck and now we can take 4800 noises hardcore fans. Won’t be easy but surely this will lift the team for these crucial league games coming ups.

Every squad member will know if they can put a few good performances they stand a real chance of a Wembley day out.

We were due a big slice of luck in this difficult 12 months since Gabbis goal was disallowed and we just got it .

How odd if this did become technically our best ever season and we got Europe again

Would stand a real chance with Promes then

chasaint80 added 09:59 - Feb 20
DosetIan there will be no replay, the QF are settled on the day now

AirFlorida added 10:14 - Feb 20
Unfortunately being a saints fan has made me pessimistic by experience. I actually don't see the Wigan result as a season changing event. How often do we get excited by drawing a lower league team and fail horribly? We are rubbish at being favourites and good at being the under dog: the two leg Liverpool final last year an example against a manager who'd never lost a semi (ooh matron!). We'll say the right things about not underestimating Wigan and respecting them but they'll be lost words as Wigan come out more fired up and hungry. Ironically, I'd of fancied our chances more against City away (didn't do too bad last time). Point is, this is not a bye to the semis. I believe Wigan of div 1 will be harder to overcome for us than City because we won't match their graft and passion..and MP doesn't have the skills to pay the bills.

SaintBrock added 10:23 - Feb 20
"We seem to be in a never ending circle that will doom us to repeat ourselves endlessly"

You said it Nick, I couldn't be bothered to read anymore. Not one of your best!

SaintNick added 10:47 - Feb 20
SaintBrock If you couldnt be bothered to read beyond the second paragraph how do you know that it wasnt my best, ironically that is the issue with this club at the moment, too many people are presuming that the worst will happen without actually seeing any firm evidence that it will.

If a football club loses a game of football it doesnt mean that the club is rotten to the core, if it loses a lot more games of football again it doesnt mean the club is rotten, it means some key individuals are not doing their job

SanMarco added 10:57 - Feb 20
I think the gloom and doom is related to the way football is going in general. The packaging and endless hype leave people expecting glamour and excitement. If you think about it most clubs in the prem have had some sort of 'crisis' this season. Entering St Mary's is like taking your seat at the theatre and you sit back to be entertained. We sacked Puel because entertainment was more important than results - WBA sacked Pulis for the same reason. I think a lot of us older fans prefer away games because they are more like the 'old days'. Indeed that match last night, for good reasons and bad, was more like the 'old days'. I am not nostalgic for the 70s and 80s with the cages, fences and violence etc but a rip-roaring match at the Dell was a more visceral and memorable experience than many today.

It maybe age speaking but I do feel that football is duller. That's why the Newports, Rochdales and Wigans in the FA Cup this season have been so good. Of course the upper reaches are always dominated by a 'big five' or a 'big six' but now I feel that the whole set up of commercial tv dominated football is for the benefit of those 6 - the rest just make up the numbers. Did the tv execs want Wigan to go through - of course they didn't - yes, be plucky like Rochdale but know your place and don't win. We wanted Chelski, Manure, Man City and Spuds in the semis...As it evident this year the money is eventually buying English clubs dominance of the so called Champions League. Will anyone outside the clubs care who wins two all-English semis. I certainly won't.

Sorry - don't know where that all came from - all I sat down to say was: "yes - let's be cheerful - our chances of a semi have just gone up from 1% to 50%. Very pleasing."

helpineedsomebody added 11:04 - Feb 20
high nick
over the 60 years that ive been surporting the club the old directors never left the club with a burden of over £200 million pounds that THE CLUB HAS TO REPAY THE NEW OWNER how long is that ever going to be repaid .
you say nick the club has never been in abetter position over the last 30 years could you explain in a bit more detail so i can understand where you are coming on this please.

Chesham_Saint added 11:32 - Feb 20
helpineedsomebody: hope you don't mind me butting in, but I don't see how the Club has to formally repay the new owner anything. Its just a 'thing' that Gao has bought and now owns (much like the old directors owned the club - albeit, we think with the club's best interests at heart - I assume here you mean the likes of Woodford?).

Of course Gao would like to see it increase in value (as it has done so substantially in recent years) but we do now have a pretty good ground, excellent training facilities and a cashflow beyond anyone's wildest dreams (if we stay in the division) and (some) very good players. So I 'agree with Nick'' in that we have never been in a better position in many ways.

SaintNick added 12:19 - Feb 20
As Chesham said, Gao has made an investment in the club and bought 80% of it from the Liebherrs, as of yet he hasnt leaveraged that money as the Glaziers did immediately when they bought Manchester United.

So yes as it stands the club is in a far better position than it has ever been, back in the 90's members of our old board bought up shares and then floated the club and made a few bob for themselves, back then we ran as a business, but we had no other investment,.

Gao has given no other indication of what he is intending to do yet, other than hein doing nothing he seems to think the club is being run wel and there is no reason to change it.

It could be argued that if he was trying to asset strip then he would have sacked the likes of Krueger and Reed by now and put his own men in

bstokesaint added 12:32 - Feb 20
I don’t get a kick out of being negative, but for some strange reason I used to feel more optimistic back in the Le Tiss days than I do now, primarily I guess because I loved the players, believed they loved the club and would put 100% in to every game. Last night was potentially a great result, but it doesn’t change our current league position. And others have mentioned we still remain much in the dark about the new owner’s intentions. I still don’t see how he is adding anything and we can never in a million years claim to be in the best position we’ve ever been because that would obviously have been under Markus and Cortese at the helm. Kat in my opinion has done a great job in trying to transition a vision which wasn’t her own, but I don’t trust the new owners one jot. I’m worried there was too much emphasis on just getting out! Why would we go with anyone who needed to borrow big to buy in?

landerwal added 13:18 - Feb 20
I think we have a good chance of going through as all media focus will now be on Wigan. I expect they will be flavour the the month within full of interviews with players and manager numerous Wigantonions being stopped on the street and asked their options on their team's prospects of getting to Wembley and pictures of shop windows decorated with images of players, the FA cup,scarves etc. This will intensify in the week leading up to the match and hopefully distract the Wigan players from the match itself. It has occurred so many times for Cup Giant Killers in the past. Saints players meanwhile can train in peace and hopefully see us through to the semi final and beyond.

ItchenNorth added 13:30 - Feb 20
Spot on

SaintStu7 added 16:14 - Feb 20
Thanks Nick for yet another intelligent article. I’m glad you are standing up to some of the depressing pessimistic posters who seem to think we would have a better chance of beating Man City than Wigan, think the owner wants us relegated, think we owe the owner £200m etc etc. I agree that football has definitely lost its appeal with all the greedy players and agents pulling so much money out of clubs but our job is to support our team through thick and thin and despite what people seem to think we are probably in the best position as a club than we have ever been. Just a couple of league wins away from hopefully making people a little more cheerful

BoondockSaint added 16:21 - Feb 20
As one pundit I saw a week ago said:

"For the amount of money that has come into this club the last two years, they should not be in the relegation zone."

KriSaint added 16:54 - Feb 20
Good article. Hopefully it makes heavy pessimists re-consider their pessimism.
I always thought that Katarina L. would sell some day soon after her father died. I hoped for an english business man buying in, but that was not to happen.
I was never happy with a chinese business buying my club.
Have other clubs on chinese hands improved after chinese take overs?

saintmark1976 added 17:10 - Feb 20
At risk of being called a pessimist may I simply point out that we are no further forward today than we were yesterday. Nothing has happened. We are still in the relegation places and face an away tie in the next round of the F A Cup. No games have been won, draw or lost so please let's keep a sense of proportion.

BlackRod added 18:41 - Feb 20
Right on saintmark. All we have done is to beat Fulham, Watford and West Brom. Not really much to cheer about. We have been swinging from side to side for the last few weeks. What if we lose to Burnley, will it all be doom and gloom again? What if we lose to Stoke as well and then Newcastle. What will we make of the tie against Wigan then? We really need nine points from those three games but I can't see us getting more than four.

Boris1977 added 09:32 - Feb 21
Good morning nick, and thanks for a thought provoking article. Fans need perspective as you say and we are in a much better place than we have been for some time - from certain perspectives. We need to be positive so that we can stay behind the team and keep turning up. However, with the article above I can't follow the logic. Wigan beating city is unrelated to saints inability to regularly gift goals to the opposition and do not currently have a fit goal scoring forward. We may beat Wigan as long as we keep them to 0 but as city failed to score against them with their fire power what is to say well break them down? We've got 9 PTS to play for before that game and the city result is not going to help saints win those games or sort the troubled defence/impotent forward line. I'm all for staying positive, most football fans need to, but we also need to realistic and logical.

oldeastterrace added 10:15 - Feb 21
We now need positive results in the league to enable us to go into the Wigan game in a good frame of mind.

We need positive team selections in all of these upcoming games to maximise our chances of turning the season around. If we go into the Wigan game well clear of the bottom three then we can really put everything into booking a semi final place and yes 'possibly' even go on and win the FA cup. We have been given a golden opportunity here.

Our season lies firmly in the hands of the 1st team management . Let's see what they do now.

helpineedsomebody added 12:28 - Feb 21
different system in the epl
playing a div3 team in the FA CUP wigan will be in our faces for 90 minutes + the ball will spend a good deal of the time in the air .
may be our only hope do what liverpool did to us play 5 in midfield & play walking pace football .

PezzaSaint added 13:25 - Feb 21
From my perspective posting on this site is very similar to posting on any social media site, it is easy and quick to do and the posting is often made when the individual is in an emotional frame of mind, for instance after a lacklustre 2nd half performance against Liverhampton! I therefore don't think that there are more pessimistic supporters than have ever been, it is just that people are getting more use to making their views known through this medium.
My malaise around football and supporting Southampton lies in the realisation over the last couple of years that the Saints will never break through the glass ceiling in to a permanent position in the top 6. Money is talking in football now more than it has ever done and we simply can't compete. Leicester was a complete freak! So when some say playing in the Championship might be more fun from a supporter's point I get that because at least you are playing in a Division that you stand a chance of winning.

That said the relegation battle is proving interesting this year and after the freak result the other night the FA Cup has gained some more interest as well!!

COYS on both fronts!!

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