A Year On Time For Some Deja Vu At St Mary's
Monday, 22nd Mar 2021 09:33
In March last year having played 29 games Saints as with the rest of football had to take a break, we sat in 14th on 34 points and some Saints supporters worried about what would happen when we returned, can we repeat what happened next!
A year ago as we started lockdown as mentioned after 29 games we were in 14th place on 34 points, having won 10 games drawn 4 and lost 15, we had scored 35 goals and conceded 52 giving a goal difference of -17.
Now after 29 games we go into a different sort of break, a scheduled International one and it is spooky how our record this year is almost identical to last season, won 9 drew 6 lost 14 scored 36 goals and conceded 51 with a goal difference of -15.
But we were only 6 points above Bournemouth who went into lockdown in the 3rd and final relegation space, leading some Saints to worry that when we returned that we would struggle when football returned.
We all know what happened next when the season restarted 3 months later, in the final 9 games we won 5, drew 3 and lost only 1, we cruised to safety and a satisfactory 11th place finish.
So what we need to have in the final months of this season is for that feeling of deja vu to keep going, the games have come thick and fast since the New Year as the Premier League looked to catch up with the schedule of the season after starting a month late this time.
To match last season will be hard, but truth is we have other fish to fry, a couple of wins in the League will be nice in that it will put to bed the relegation fears and will also restore a feeling of confidence around the club, both on the pitch and in the seats, albeit that these seats are in fans homes not the stands of St Mary's.
The bigger fish though is the FA Cup semi final and that offers us a great chance of an FA Cup final, three years ago there was a feeling of despair around the club that meant that many supporters could not even bring themselves to go to the semi final against Chelsea, moaning that we were only going to get beat anyway or the tickets were too expensive (the cheapest ones were less than the cheapest for the league game against Chelsea at St Mary's) or that the cheap seats were too high up.
Whatever the excuse it meant that we went to Wembley with no enthusiasm and that showed itself on the pitch.
This year needs to be different, of course it will be as there will be few or no fans at the game itself against Leicester, but if the aura around the club is positive then that will be good for the squad.
The Brighton result was poor and the team showed a lack of desire to win that game, ironically no different than in the 29th game last season when we lost at home to Newcastle last season, for some it seemed they considered it terminal, but all teams have games when they are just not at the races and we showed against Bournemouth on Saturday that the hunger and desire is still there and with a little confidence we can achieve this season.
Many will point at our awful run in the Premier League, but we have to put that behind us now and get back to winning ways, when we return after the International break we will hopefully have Danny Ings back and Theo Walcott and that will give us options we did not have during that run.
We support Saints not because we win trophy's, we support them for the hope that we may win a Cu or two, in my years of supporting the club it is only occasionally that, that hope turns to a real chance of glory, this is one of those seasons, the lesson I learned after our glory years of the late 70's early 80's faded was that when you get to a semi final cherish it, enjoy it and more importantly be positive about it as you don't know when the next one will come along, after we lost to Liverpool in the 1987 League Cup semi final, we had a 16 year wait for the next one, some fans love to moan about the club's lack of ambition etc etc, but truth is we have now reached 3 semi finals in the last 5 seasons, the last two saw many not grasp the enormity of that and the rare enjoyment that can be had from those rare big games.
So let's not let that be the case this year, a bit of deja vu will see us pull well clear from the relegation battle and it could also see us in another FA Cup Final and dare to dream a trophy !
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #41 by wessex_exile
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