Saints Confirm That Shane Long Has Left The Club.
Friday, 1st Jul 2022 14:58
Southampton Football Club has confirmed that Shane long will not be at St Mary's in this coming season, every Saints fan should wish him well going forward for the great service he has given to the Club.
Shane Long has ended his time at St Mary's, Saints have issued a statement confirming he has left the club, although they have not confirmed whether it was a club decision to not offer him a new deal or whether the Irish Striker has decided to move to pastures anew.
One thing is for certain if there is any Southampton supporter that does want to thank him for his service and does not want to wish Shane all the best of luck wherever his career or indeed life takes him, then they not only have very short memories and are very uncharitable and yes he like every other professional footballer in the Premier League was well paid for their services, that doesn't come into it.
Long arrived in 2014 to a club in turmoil after the departure of CEO Nicola Cortese and also manager Mauricio Pochettino, with a raft of big name departures that summer, many Saints fans took to the message boards to predict relegation for the club in 2014/15 season.
They pointed out that selling the likes of Adam Lallana & Dejan Lovren and replacing them with unknowns such as Sadio Mane, journeymen like Shane Long & Graziano Pelle and reserve team loan signings such as Toby Alderweireld was a recipe for disaster, that the club was a selling club, had no ambition and was a shambles.
The rest as they say is history and Shane long played a full part in that history, Ok he was not the most prolific scorer, but his job was making and creating chances for others and this was to be Long's lot for most of his time at St Mary's, never the main attraction and always the work horse.
That was perhaps best exampled near the end of that first season when Saints beat Aston Villa 6-1 at St Mary's, the game is remembered for the fastest hat trick in Premier League history by Sadio Mane, what is forgotten by many is that it wasn't Mane who was the real man of the match it was Shane Long who created two of Mane's goals and scored two himself, one a long distance effort which was the goal of the match.
His second season could perhaps be described as his best, again Pelle & Mane took the plaudits, both scoring 11 goals in the Premier League, but Long was only a single goal behind them both on 10 and when you take into account his work rate and assists he was a more valuable player than both that season although you would not think so speaking to some Saints supporters.
2016/18 was one of change again in the club and although Claude Puel has been vilified in some quarters, fact is he had one of the top 10 seasons in the entire history of SFC, getting 8th place and a League Cup final.
Long played a vital role in this run, at Liverpool with Saints desperately defending a 1-0 lead from the first leg semi final game at St Mary's, Saints had a rare break and up popped Shane Long to score in the 89th minute and suddenly the 4,500 Saints fans behind that goal knew we were at Wembley, if you were there that night and let's remember that many didn't go because they whinged on message boards in the week before the game that we were going to get beat so why bother, meaning we sent back 1,500 tickets, then this was a moment that none there that night would want to have ever missed, the sheer joy and explosion of relief and celebration when that goal went it was one of my best ever Saints moments.
Things were always going to slow up for Shane Long after this season, he was now the wrong side of 30, but he remained a vital part of the squad, strikers came and went but he stayed.
Those that said he stole a wage and again there were more than was respectable for a player who uncomplainingly just got on with things, were short sighted.
In April 2019, Long wrote his name into the Premier League history books by scoring the competition’s fastest-ever goal, taking just 7.69 seconds to break the deadlock against Watford.
In his past few years he was obviously never going to be a first choice, he was a player that relied on work rate and pace and the body catches up with you after 30, but he adapted his game and by the end of the season just gone he had become a vital member of the squad.
He was now a player to come on and kill the game when we were holding on to a lead or even a point, he would come on, hold the ball up, draw fouls and harass the back four, he saw us home in some very tight games, Palace away, Spurs away, Leeds away, Arsenal at home and perhaps most fittingly Everton at home when he came on and with his first touch scored to put Saints 2-0 up and stop the Everton comeback in it's tracks.
That would be his last goal for Saints, but what a way to end your scoring career.
In his 8 year career with the club he started 95 Premier League games plus another 103 as sub scoring 28 goals, given the change in his role over the years that is a very respectable tally.
Perhaps some of his best moments and form came in the cup competitions, in the FA Cup he started 17 games plus 4 as sub and scored 4 times, the last being at Swansea this season to take us into the next round, that goal helped pay some of the wages that some say he stole.
In the League cup 7 starts and 11 as sub with 4 goals and in Europe 4 starts plus 4 as sub with just the 1 goal.
Thats an overall total of 245 games for Southampton FC and 37 goals, but perhaps his greatest contribution to Saints will never be properly measured or appreciated and that was his work rate and the chances that it created as well as the way you closed down defences and defended from the front, something that was underappreciated right up to the end.
So I think I speak for the majority of Saints supporters in wishing Shane Long well for his future what and wherever it may be, thank you for the way you conducted yourself in all your time at Southampton FC and if we had had a few more players with your work rate and application and dedication to the cause during your 8 year spell, we might just have done a little bit better than we did.
Photo: Action Images
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