Consistency. It has been Saints’ problem all season but, with eleven games remaining, Nigel Adkins seems to have cracked it. After some disappointing away form, few would have predicted the side would collect maximum points from their last four games, and doing so has placed them in prime position for second spot.
And how’s this for an omen. According to The Daily Echo‘s Gordon Simpson, the last time Saints won at Charlton, in 1977, they got promoted. If Saints make it five out of five tomorrow night, it could be a very good sign indeed.
In other news, The Saints Fanzine is going on an extended break. I will continue to post on here from time to time and the mag may be back, under new owners, some time soon. For more info, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @saintsfanzine.
First things first- what a performance on Saturday. United may have been below par but Saints passed them off the field in the first half and for some of the second. Ultimately a lack of killer instinct cost us and United, with annoying inevitability, took the few chances that came their way. But there is no disgrace in losing to the leading team in English football and in many ways, it did us a favour.
After all, the cup is not a priority this season – at all. Our exit frees up room in the fixture list that is bursting at the seams thanks to the winter postponements. The league table shows how tight it will be this season – promotion will be a fight to the death and we need to make sure we are not edged out. So losing in the highly respectable manner we did represents a good outcome.
Transfer deadline day is here again, and Sky Sports are reporting are reporting that Chamberlain will stay. Fingers crossed. If he does stay, hate to say I told you so.
We have a couple of hundred zines left over from the United game and aim to sell them at the Carlisle game in a couple of weeks.
Please pick up a copy of our cup special before the United game tomorrow, we will be selling in our normal positions (at end of Northam Rd and on road that leads to Itchen End. Look out for us shouting and generally looking cold. £1 as ever, and including:
– bumper interview with Francis Benali
– an eye-opening account of Cortese’s dinner parties
– a fan looks back on Saints v United clashes
– Prof Bedford and nostalgia corner articles
Cover below, would be great if you could get one, only a £1, perfick for your half time needs.
It’s an interesting one. On the face of it, he is going to go- surely. He is a phenomenal prospect, with interest from Spurs, Arsenal, Man U and Liverpool, none of whom would balk at the suggested 10m price tag. Bridge went. Walcott went. Bale went. They all go in the end, don’t they?
Well, no. Look at Lallana, who signed terms this month to remain at the club for years to come – few observers of the midfielder this season would conclude anything other than the fact he could play at a higher level. But he’s staying.
You also have the 17-year-old’s reputation as a very grounded individual, who is happy at Saints and has his feet on the ground. Add to that his father Mark, a former player who will surely know his son’s development would be best-served through regular playing-time in the lower league with Saints. Look at Walcott – he went early, and he stagnated there. Even Bale, though he may be a world beater now, enjoyed a miserable starting period at Spurs.
To outsiders it seems obvious – the youngster will go. But those who know Saints – and obviously Chamberlain and his family – know there is a much more complex set of factors and historic precedent at play.
I’m going to go out there on a limb and say it: I think he’s going to stay. If he does go I expect he’ll be loaned back for six months at least – but I don’t think Cortese will settle for this. More than that, I think Chamberlain and his entourage may surprise a few people with his decision. Time will tell, but it’s going to be interesting.
OK, so not many papers were running with the above headline this morning, but someone new to English football would have struggled to pick the top-flight team from the third tier one such was Saints’ dominance yesterday. The margin of victory could have been much, much higher than 2-0, despite Adkins fielding a reserve team defensive core, with Bartosz Bialkowski, Dan Seabourne and Aaron Martin providing able cover.
To be fair to ‘Pool boss Ian Holloway, who took offence at our chants of ‘Premier League, you’re having a laugh,’
he fielded an almost entirely second-choice XI but it was a cracking win, and St Mary’s was bouncing by the time Guly Do Prado smashed home the sensational second goal. It’s well-worth a watch on the highlights.
To round off a great week for Saints, with Adam Lallana signing a new four and a half year deal on Friday, they were drawn Man Utd at home in the fourth round. Now that will be a corker. But will United upset the odds and win at St Mary’s? Time to get the grey shirt jokes out again…
An entertaining footnote to yesterday’s Dagger’s win was the post-match interview between manager Nigel Adkins and Solent man Laurence Herdman. The latter pressed the Saints boss on whether a budget existed for him to buy players, to which he gave a typically non-commital answer: “We are going to sit down and see what materialises.”
Fair enough, you might think, given Saints’ new cards-to-chest media policy. Not, however, for Herdman, who wouldn’t drop the line of questioning and ended up pushing Adkins into giving the nearest thing to a straight answer he could: “Correct.”
The best thing, however, was Adkin’s response to the increasingly confrontational approach, sadly cut from the snippet put on the BBC site, something along the lines of “that is good reporting and reportmanship from you.”
It’s hardly Watergate, but good to see Solent’s not afraid to ruffle feathers.