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The ShirleyMush View - Markus A Tribute
The ShirleyMush View - Markus A Tribute
Wednesday, 11th Aug 2010 22:55 by ShirleyMush

Goodbye and thank you Markus Liebherr.

 

For passionate Saints supporters, it is no exaggeration to say that but for Markus Liebherr, part of our whole way of life would have been lost. Thousands of fathers and mothers and sons and daughters would have had to find a different place to go together. For some, Southampton Football Club was the catalyst for cherished friendships and relationships. For others, it is the glue that holds those friendships and relationships together. The alehouses of west Hampshire still buzz with the chatter of generations of Saints fans because of this reclusive godfather figure.

 

When Markus’ grinning face was first seen at St. Mary’s it was as though saints fans had collectively rubbed Aladdin’s lamp and a genie had appeared in the form of a cheery Swiss billionaire. He had an air of kindness about him that wealthy investors at other clubs lacked. Of course most of us never knew him personally. He seemed like an avuncular and rather jovial gent, reportedly deeply religious and moral. Yet without us even having met him, he touched all our lives with an act of unfathomable benevolence.

 

Even as liquidation approached in the summer of 2009, the gaping void in our lives, especially on a Saturday afternoon, was still almost impossible to imagine. The constant worry and sense of impending grief can only be likened to that which one experiences when caring for an ailing loved one. It really was that visceral. Markus’ gift was given to a town undergoing an identity crisis in the midst of a recession and sweeping changes to it’s landscape. The club was part of the soul Southampton’s soul, yet it was struggling to breathe the cynical air of modern football and contemporary life. Yet thanks to Markus a palpable sense of optimism came flooding back as his generosity built a team that we could once again believe in. The atmosphere at games began to change, particularly at away matches, to which we travelled in our thousands. Spirit. Friendship. Family.

 

Life, for Saints, will go on. Yet Markus, having facilitated our second coming, is gone. Saints are part of his legacy. Children who have yet to be born will experience the joy and pain of following their local team. The club will produce young players who endear and exhilarate just as Shearer, Le Tissier and Walcott once did. The drama and beauty of association football will continue to be experienced here just as it always has this past 125 years.

 

Thank you, Markus. For rescuing what for so many is a part of community and family life. For the signing of Rickie Lambert, Saints’ first folk hero of the decade. For our day at Wembley, that was as much an outlet for civic pride as it was a sporting event. For whatever our future holds, thank you Markus Liebherr, from the bottom of all our hearts. We shall not forget you.

Photo: Action Images



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the_rover added 23:15 - Aug 11
Great tribute SM. Could not come close to expressing my gratitude as eloquently.
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Wints76 added 08:10 - Aug 12
Well done ShirleyMush, a great read & fitting tribute
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Lostboy added 08:49 - Aug 12
Excellent words on how he touched all of our lives SM.
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jehram added 09:04 - Aug 12
Well said Shirl.
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CharlieSaint added 10:13 - Aug 12
Someone should sent a copy of this to his family, and to the press... A wonderful sentiment delivered with perfection, Good on ya Shirleymush!
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