Monday, July 24, 2017

Pre-Season Part 4 - The Shithouse Gene: Van Dijk vs Lallana vs Lovren

"You Taught Me Well Oh Master, but now, I am the Bigger Shithouse. Just Watch"

As a fan it’s tempting to only see things from your own club’s point of view but every so often you need to think about things as a whole.  Being a Southampton fan, we’ve seen all of the top 3 divisions in the last few seasons and I can categorically say that the season we spent in the Championship was the season I enjoyed most since Markus Liebherr bought the club.  If you do well in it, then the Championship is excellent.   You do however, have to be doing well because unless you’re a masochist, doing badly is not fun.  The Championship when we got relegated in 2005 was not a good time because we were dreadful – but the league as a whole was great.  Less prima-Donna players, less diving, shit referees who were genuinely just shit instead of big club dodgy, kids getting thrown into the first XI because teams couldn’t afford to carry a massive squad of experienced pros.  Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday – not Monday, Thursday, Sunday 12 noon, Wednesday, nothing for two weeks, Sunday at 4pm because your opponent was in Europe on Thursday.

This brings me on to the Premier League and the problem with it.  There are many problems and here’s just one of them – Shithouses.  In our promotion season in the Championship, Saints had players like Billy Sharp, Dean Hammond, Richard Chaplow, Jos Hooiveld, Danny Fox, Fraser Richardson, Kelvin Davis – players who were not infested with the ‘Shithouse’ gene.  They would still be at Saints today if we hadn’t gone up and ruined it all for them.  Great characters, solid characters, decent blokes and above all, not Shithouses.   Even in some of the other players like Adam Lallana and Jose Fonte, the Shithouse gene had not risen to the surface and taken over but it was laying dormant beneath the surface.  It was only activated by Premier League, international honours and 'super' agents or as most fans prefer to call them, cunts.  These agents however, play on the power of the dormant Shithouse gene and convinced their clients that they would be best served by shitting on everyone who had helped them so far and the big clubs would throw loads of money around in their direction.  Is it good for your career?  Who bastard well cares, think about the money, money, money...

The Premier League is horrible – it needn’t be but it is.  It’s just about the Big Clubs and money, that’s it.  Not a big revelation there but it’s gone to shit.  If for some reason, one of the big clubs had a horrific season and were in danger of relegation, I’m sure that Brand Premier League would kick in and decide not to relegate anyone that year or at least instruct the referees to ‘sort out’ some of the games.  No danger of any of that coming to pass though because of the money that the big boys can afford to hawk around compared to the others.  I used to kick off whenever the possibility of a European Super League was mentioned because of the effect it would have on the English game but right now I’d love it and in time we’d have English football that somewhat resembled the pre-1992, pre-Sky competition that I grew up with.  Yes, we still had the elite and the also-rans but it was much more even.

So, the Big 6 can all fuck off as far as I’m concerned and Sky can pour all their money into that and the top division of English football can get back to a more sustainable, shithouse free environment.  The European Super League would soon get very very boring for those involved but domestic football in time, would be a much better experience for the fans.  The hardcore don’t care who their own team is playing and I for one, would not care in the slightest if we didn’t play the big clubs every year.  Replace Chelsea, Spurs, City, Liverpool, Arsenal and United with Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham, Leeds, Norwich and Derby from the top end of last season’s Championship.

The game as it stands has gone fucking mad.  Look at some of the transfer fees this summer – Bournemouth have paid £20 for a Chelsea reserve who has played about 20 Premier League games.  He looks decent but on 20 games, is he worth it?  No he’s not.  I see £50 million for Kyle Walker, a Forrest Gump full back who cannot defend or cross the ball, I see £50 million (possibly) for Gylfi Sigurdsson, a 28 year old ‘good’ player who has already failed once at a big club.  ‘Good’ not ‘outstanding ‘.  Some could argue that Southampton have played their part in that with the players we’ve sold in the past something has happened recently.  Last summer we sold Sadio ManĂ© for £32 million, this summer it would be £60 million plus. 

From a perspective of Southampton buying players – it’s simple.  We will not be spending more than £20 million on anyone so that rules out virtually everyone in the Premier League, certainly anyone in the top half.  Mamadou Sakho, a player Liverpool do not want is valued by them at £30 million and his wages are over £100k a week.   That’s the other thing – once a player has been at a big club, especially if he’s been transferred to it, the wages are obscene so that rules us out as well. 

The ‘something’ that has happened recently is the TV deal with Sky.  I can’t be bothered to look up the amount but it’s obscene.  It means that income through the turnstiles now makes up a miniscule percentage of a Premier League club’s turnover which begs the question – Why are ticket prices still so fucking expensive?  Anything over £500 a season is expensive to most people so why not cut it right down – halve it.  It makes little difference so cut it down, fill the grounds, expand the grounds, grow the fanbase etc.

So, Fuck the Premier League.  It’s just about the money, money, money and fuck all about fair play and an even competition.  If there was any virtue in it, Liverpool would the sitting there, gnashing their teeth over a transfer ban.

Meanwhile, back in Southampton…

The first pre-season friendly was a virtual training game in Switzerland against St.Gallen which ended 0-0 with not a lot of incident aside from Gabbiadini looking sharp.  Virgil didn’t play but I think most accepted the excuse that he hadn’t resumed full contact work yet.  The man himself then muddied the waters in the way that players do these days with a cryptic social media bout about ‘great to be fully fit’ which directly contradicted what the club had just said.  Hmmm, accidental or shithousery going on?

On we went to Brentford and a game which was having all proceeds donated to the Grenfell Tower fund.  Again there was a statement regarding Virgil but this time the gloves were off – he was refusing to play as not psychologically ready and he wants to move.  Here we go up a notch.  Virgil is taking it to new levels of pathetic spoilt-brat behaviour and he won’t care.  He’s under some sort of spell, cast by a combination of his agents, Liverpool FC, Jurgen Klopp and the media.  He’s incapable of resisting, his head has been turned and even though Liverpool have officially bailed out and left him to it, he can’t resist and will do all their dirty work for them.  Whilst many a person in all walks of life has been influenced to do bad things by unscrupulous third parties – at the end of the day, the path you take is down to yourself.  Liverpool seem bomb-proof from any criticism from anyone that matters so Virgil is willing the take the fall and shit all over the club that pays him incredibly well, made him captain and got him fit again and of course, take a massive dump over the fans.  Fans – players like Virgil just think we’re shit on their shoe.  They don’t care, they just get new shoes and throw the shitty ones away.

Mauricio Pellegrino passed his first test with flying colours showing calm authority.  The boy (as in ‘stupid little boy’) will be training on his own and we only want players who are 100% committed to the cause.  Whilst this turn of events was entirely predictable, it’s still a kick in the nuts as Virgil plummets down in everyone’s estimation.  To put this into context – the players who handled their moves away from Saints the worst in recent memory are Lovren and Lallana – both to Liverpool which is a massive coincidence I’m sure.  Lallana refused to play (he disputes this of course) and Lovren said his head was already in Liverpool.  Lovren as far as I know, never refused to train and he was never the captain and he’d only been here a year so actually, in context, Lovren wasn’t that bad and we only give him the most stick because he’s crap and because his missus felt the need for her head to be elsewhere as well.  Lallana was as bad as Virgil as he was our captain but even he wasn’t banished to training on his own.  So – Virgil’s behaviour is pretty fucking appalling and in all likelihood, the worst of the lot.

So - the Shithouse of Recent Times award goes to: Virgil van Dijk.

Where this leaves us is interesting.  I still think we’re miles away from him going to his and his agents only preferred destination of Liverpool.  It will be a massive climb down from the board if he goes there having reported them to the Premier League and the fans won’t forgive that unless there’s such a massive deal that it’s a no brainer – I’m talking something like £80 million up front + Sakho + Liverpool pay Sakho’s wages for 2 years + they pay the 10% to Celtic.  Liverpool will also be shit scared to trying to make an approach for a player that they have been forced into saying they are ‘no longer interested in’.  I was going to say ‘resurrecting their bid’ as opposed to ‘make an approach’ but there’s nothing to resurrect as they haven’t actually done anything yet officially.  No bid, no official approach, no anything aside from tapping up behind the scenes and ex-players in the media.  Graeme Souness was the latest to chip in and Steve Nicol had his say again.  He’d probably forgotten he’d already commented. 

The media went into a frenzy of course and I heard Alex Crock on Talkshite.  I don’t see much of what Alex Crock writes as he’s blocked me on Twitter but he said one interesting thing that in his opinion – Virgil wasn’t on strike.  I realise that this is a legal definition but surely a player who is refusing to play matches when fully fit is on strike and we should therefore be perfectly entitled to not pay the twat for being in breach of contract.  It would be interesting to know what the PFA think of this, bearing in mind they are very quick to comment when clubs are hard on players.

Wanker Klopp has been asked a couple of times about it but no one has had the guts to ask him to confirm that he personally met Virgil at some point.  Meanwhile, Barcelona have put a bid in for Coutinho and Klopp has been very ‘not for sale and the matter is closed’ about it all.  I believe we said that as well Jurgen.  So, it appears that no means no but no sometimes means yes.  Dangerous values for a bloke to have unless of course, you are a shit, arrogant, hypocritical bloke or a sex offender.

Of course, what I’d love is for Liverpool to put in a bid (this will no doubt be about £30 million), Les Reed to go full mental and slap in the Tapping Up Dossier to the Premier League and force them to sort it out.   This dossier would contain pictures of Jurgen Klopp in compromising photgraphs with Adam Lallana and a tub of Nivea.  Even if faced with 100% solid gold evidence of rule breaking, the Premier League would do absolutely sweet fuck all.

The Brentford game saw a debut for Jan Bednarek and he looked a bit shaky as we conceded an early goal.  After half time, Charlie Austin showed that summer allegations of cheating (at Monopoly) had not dulled his goalscoring edge and he scored twice, once from a hilarious mistake in the defence where one Brentford defender wellied another one instead of the ball and once when he connected sweetly with a left footed strike from McQueen’s pull back.  There was still time to snatch a draw as Fraser, complete with new 5 year contract in his pocket, dropped a routine cross into his own net in ‘Under 8 player who has been pressganged into going in goal fashion’.  Not good but never mind.  I will repeat again, if Virgil leaves then we absolutely have to get a physically dominant centre half to partner either Jack or Maya and of course, we need a new captain – now.  It will make absolutely no difference to Virgil and his decision to stay or not.  He doesn’t give a shit about us so why not do it now.  I don’t think he can carry off the “they stripped me of the captaincy so I want to leave” angle.  He'd probably fucking try it though.

Next, the squad are off to France for a training camp and to play a friendly against St.Etienne.  Virgil is not with them but he has been spotted in Paris, at Euro Disney.  Perhaps he’s signing for Pompey with their new owner and all that and the Disney connection. 

I'm off for a lie down in a dark room.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pre-Season Part 3 - Corruption, Bullshit and New Signings

The FA Not Investigating Liverpool.  I Wonder Why

There has been nothing but silence from the Premier League since Liverpool’s grovelling apology over their pursuit of Virgil van Dijk.  Then the most respected and well placed Saints man in the media, Jeremy Wilson, wrote that because Saints had not offered any more evidence and accepted the apology, the Premier League deemed the matter closed and no action would be taken against Liverpool.  The article didn’t really provide any new information in the form of quotes so we can only hope it’s not true and Liverpool get the transfer ban that they deserve. 

It would not be remotely surprising though if it was true and Liverpool were let off for breaking every rule in the book regarding transfers.  History will probably be re-written and the whole episode will be remembered as being Saints fault somehow.  The justification for this will be the time honoured ‘everybody does it’ approach and Liverpool will play the victim – they’re good at that after all.  There still has been no word from Klopp which is surprising considering the main stream sports media all gather for a group wank whenever there’s any reason to get Klopp’s face on the TV.  However, they can’t possibly ask him any difficult questions.

So the moral of the story is – break as many rules as you like, as many times as you like and if you get caught, apologise and you’ll be allowed to get away with and repeat time and time again.  I hope that we try the apology approach if we give a penalty away next season and then the referees will let us off and give us a free kick instead.

Meanwhile, there has been no word from Virgil, just rumours of a move to Chelsea though I guess this may change soon with players back in for training.  Two players who I guess won’t be back straight away are JWP and Nathan Redmond who played prominent roles for England U21’s in their run to the semi-finals of the European Championships where we predictably lost to Germany on penalties in the semi-final.  JWP was class throughout the tournament and put his penalty in the top bin.  Nathan was decent in the group games but unfortunately was the fall guy, missing the vital penalty.  He’d missed it in the walk-up where he looked absolutely terrified.  Jack Stephens and Matt Targett didn’t make it onto the pitch in the whole tournament which was tough on Targett in particular who had to watch the abysmally bad Ben Chilwell of Leicester play in his position. 

Jan Gets Sent Off.... Straight to Southampton

Last seen getting sent off against England was Jan Bednarek of Poland and he’s since joined us for a fee of about £5million from Legia Warsaw.  He looked raw as you like in the games I saw so I feel that this is one or the future and is a bit of a no lose gamble.  He does however look like Toby Alderweireld’s long lost brother so if he plays anything like our ex-loanee then brilliant.  I imagine though that he’ll be 4th choice behind Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida and Virgil, if he stays. 

Sam Gallagher signed a new deal which shows that he’s going to be in and around the first team this season after a good season on loan at Blackburn.  He wouold have been useful this season just gone with the way we played.  At least then we may have had someone with a bit of physical presence in the box when we threw all those hopeful crosses into the box.  Also signing on for another 5 years is Jack Stephens who proved he potentially has what it takes at the end of last season.  As I’ve said before, I feel that his performances were somewhat over-hyped in Saints desperation to find something positive to say about the second half of the season and whilst he had some very good games, there were some real shockers in there and plenty of mistakes.  Going into the season with Jack and Maya as our first choice partnership is not something I want to think about too much.

Going out the door was Jay Rodriguez and I have no reason to disagree with the commonly held view that this is the best thing for all parties.  His Saints career died at the Etihad 3 years ago when his knee went.  A year and a half of recovery, a new injury and a stop-start season last year and it’s time to move on.  He was a player that you always wanted to do well but in the end I think it became obvious that he was never going to get back to where he was or be the sort of player who would ever become a first team regular again.  The extra yard of pace that made him different and able to play in wide areas was gone and though he’d beefed up to cope with the demands on his body, he never looked comfortable as an out and out striker.  The odd flash of the old Jay like Bournemouth away was mixed in with performances where he looked like player with a hangover, not sharp in the slightest and somewhat lacking in determination. 

He’s joined West Brom which will be interesting.  Tony Pulis is a huge fan of his but it’s hard to see where he fits into a Pulis team.  Unless he plays off a big lump of a striker then he’s going to be out wide which as discussed, is not his strength any more.  If he does get regular games then maybe he will get back to his best but that was very unlikely to happen here so good luck to the lad.  Maybe he’ll reinvent himself as a centre back as Pulis tends to have at last four on the pitch at any one time.  I really hope he does well though because in a world of shithouses, Jay stands out as a genuine good guy and in that respect, it's shame that he's going.

 A Good Guy... and a Shithouse

Training restarted with Mauricio meeting the players for the first time.  Virgil was present and correct which prompted another round of delusion from Red Bastard Scouse Land.  ‘He’s only there to hand in his transfer request’ and ‘he should be on strike’ etc etc.  A more spectacular shower of wankers you will struggle to find anywhere in the football world.  His birthday seemed to trigger some more rubbish as an article was re-hashed which basically said he only wanted to join Liverpool and no one else.  It had no new quotes or anything factual so fake news I guess but it’s focussed my mind on what I think about all this.

The fact is that our captain is a shithouse.  He could put all this to bed at a stroke by giving an interview, apologising (even if it’s insincere) and pledging to get his head down.  The fact he’s done none of this suggests that shithousery is still the order of the day and it also makes me think that Liverpool are still hanging on in there.  I don’t see how he could join Liverpool and them not get charged and found guilty of tapping up.  As far as we’re concerned it’s the Fonte situation from last summer.  Captain wants out, sulks like a spoilt little prince, is the proverbial bad apple, gets his way in the end.  I think most could deal with him moving.  Personally I don’t give a shit either way but we can’t sell him to Liverpool, even if they’re the only team in for him.  It would be too much of a climbdown and why the fuck should Virgil and Liverpool, the two parties who have behaved with a lack of class, a lack of respect and a lack of decency throughout, get what they want.  The Premier League have a lot to answer for – they could have laid down a marker for the good of the game but they chose not to.  Personally, if I was Les Reed I’d wait for one more tiny squeak out of a Liverpool source and then go in all guns blazing with another complaint.

So, our last three captains on the field have been Virgil, Fonte and Lallana.  We thought all three were stand-up characters but they’ve all shot that out of the sky.  I think a bit more care needs to be taken over the next choice.  I would argue that it needs to be someone who is not likely to be chased by a big club so that kind of rules out Oriol Romeu who would be a fantastic choice based on leading by example and being a solid character. We could go safe with Steven Davis or we could think long term with JWP who is obviously earmarked for the role at some point.  He’s still only 22 but why not?  I have a feeling that he’d become a better player with the responsibility.

We’ll be getting our first taste of a Pellegrino team in action in the next few days out in Austria.  Nothing will be gleaned from it in terms of preferred personnel but there may be the odd thing of interest like if Virgil plays or maybe a player playing in a slightly different position – Boufal further forward or Gabbiadini on the pitch at the same time as Austin perhaps.  The only thing that is sure is that there will be more and more Liverpool connected wankers speaking in the media as they get closer and closer to the season starting and them still having Lovren in their defence.

As time has gone by and Liverpool, neutered by their own actions and grovelling apology, have relied on an army of ex-players and Scousers in the media to keep their pursuit of Virgil in the limelight. Jamie Carragher, Steve Nicol, Micky Quinn, Jamie Redknapp, Danny Murphy, Sami Hyypia and Steven Gerrard have all felt the need or been told to pipe up about the issue and then you have the biggest wanker of them all , John Aldridge.  If it goes quiet for a day or so, then another pipes up out of nowhere - Mark Lawrenson hasn't had a go yet so I'm sure he'll be next.  Coincidentally, they’ve all felt the need to do this despite the apology and silence from Official Anfield.  As I write I hear that Klopp was actually questioned about it and said nothing, almost blaming the fact that the media ruined it for them.  You and your club broke the rules pal and you got caught.  That seems to be lost on anyone of a Red Scouse persuasion.

An Apology:

I’ve just read this back and I apologise that a majority of it seems to be about the Red Scouse Bastards.  Be vigilant, if you drop your guard for a second they’ll seep in like a bad fucking smell.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Pre-Season Part 2 - Cartoon Villain's, Private Jets and Pellegrino's

You are My Bitch now Jose

So, another quiet pre-season for Saints then.  My last blog was up to the point where Liverpool apologised for being scummy twats….

The latest update to the Virgil van Dijk situation came on Friday 11th June when Yahoo sports published more details of the alleged tapping up. I use the word alleged in the context of it definitely fucking happened.

It was all what we knew already, the text messages, the meetings but in addition apparently Virgil was sent a load of videos with details of exactly where he'd fit in to Liverpool's current team. As if that wasn't fucking obvious anyway as he be fitting it in between Milner at left back and Matip at centre back, in the space currently occupied by the man currently looking for a new gardener, Dejan Lovren. I can imagine Klopp's voice overdubbed on a video of Liverpool fucking up at the back. "Virgil Ja! you play in the position that useless cunt Lovren is supposed to be in".

The role of the Wasserman Group, the agents for Virgil, was painted in a really unfavourable light as well as they apparently want him to move to Liverpool because it gets them the biggest fee for their services. Yeah, they've done a really great job for their client and his football career haven't they? There are much better clubs than Liverpool that he could play for.  In fact, if I was in any position of power at one of the proper big clubs, I’d be questioning whether I’d deal with the Wasserman Group.

The other snippet that that was revealed was that Virgil thought that he could kick off and Saints would cave in and sell him for £50 million. The Yahoo article categorically stated that this was never going to happen.  Every player has a price but don’t take the piss.

The information is attributed to a source close to Southampton. As the whole of the football media seems to be Liverpool biased or ex-Liverpool players and it's lovely when the boot is on the other foot. I can only laugh at the thought of Liverpool is owners and that wanker Klopp, squirming as more of this comes out.  They probably really don’t need to be being linked to Dusan Tadic as well.  This in my opinion is because the media are too stupid to realise that there is unlikely to be any business between Saints and Liverpool. The main crux of the stories seems to be the belief that Dusan has a £13 million release clause.  This story came up in January when he was linked with Arsenal and again a few months back when he was linked to West Ham.  West Ham I could see but there’s no way he’s moving to a top 6 club.  Agent talk.  If the FA could just get on with issuing Liverpool with the transfer ban that they clearly deserve and should get, then we could all sit back and laugh.

Meanwhile, Virgil has taken being badly advised to a whole new level by tweeting a picture of himself looking out of the window in a moody and fed up manner, whilst lying back on a private jet. I thought footballers were supposed to be more savvy about social media these days. I'm sure he would've gone on a course or something at some point where they would've said something along the lines of posting a sulking tweet whilst sat on a private jet is not going to make anyone feel sorry for you, in fact it's just gonna make you look like a right cunt. “Woe is me, I only earn more in a week than most people earn in a year and I only have a small private jet. I want mooooooore…. I wanna big private jet. How can a man live with just a small private jet for fuck's sake?”

How to Make Yourself Look a Complete Cock on Social media

Still, it’s the working mans game and all that.

Talk about hero to zero. He's obviously spent the whole of his time injured plotting to get away from the club that was nursing him back to full health. What a complete wanker.  Just another wanker.  Another Lallana, another Lovren.  If you’re a Saints fan and you don’t agree with this yet then it’s only because he’s still our player.  If he played for any other club and was behaving like this – you would not be so forgiving.  Remember kids, the name on the badge is more important than the name on the back. 

Finally, after what seems like and unnecessary three week wait, Claude was fired and the wait for a new manager officially began.  I covered the reasons I thought he should be fired here:

It was an open secret that he was going and one can only assume that a new manager has been identified and there are just the formalities to sort out.  As I said in a previous blog, I was of the opinion that Claude had to go but he leaves with no damage to his CV and good luck to him.  A decent guy but not right for Saints or English football in general.  I’m a bit surprised that we’ve actually sacked him as opposed to him being mutually consented citing family reasons etc.  There’s a rumour that I’m about to start, that Claude has been tapped up by Liverpool to be Klopp’s number 2 to try and improve Liverpool’s attacking play against deep defences cos Klopp clearly has no idea.

Claude’s exit was in keeping with his year in charge in that it was understated and somewhat shambolic.  He showed his class in a statement thanking everyone which he didn’t need to do.  It showed if proof were needed that he was a decent guy but it just wasn’t right.  I’m guessing the review was to see if there was common ground between what Claude thought of the season and what Les Reed thought of it and I’m guessing that there was no way forward.  In my opinion and looking back, his days were numbered from the moment the final whistle went against Hapoel Be’er Sheva at home.  That certainly seemed to be the turning point with the Board and some of the fans and players.

So – who are we getting?  The name on seemingly everyone’s wish list was Thomas Tuchel who has just left Dortmund.  I just wondered if post-Dortmund, he was going to able to handle the white-hot atmosphere of the Kingsland/Chapel corner.  I couldn’t see Tuchel being the man for a couple of reasons – one is that he’s a spiky character who would clash with Les Reed and the other is he’ll be waiting for a bigger job.  Personally, I want a manager who gives the board and players a hard time so I’d have been happy if it was him but Tuchel ruled himself out. 

Les has to get this appointment right so another underwhelming one won’t go down well – but whilst Roy Hodgson is still out there…. The short list now contains Mauricio Pellegrino and Frank de Boer.  If Pellegino is a cross between Mauricio Pochettino and Manuel Pellegrini then he’ll do.

Hodgson: Get to Fuck

The fixtures came out and boy, do we have to get some points on the board early.  Our first 12 games are all winnable with only Man United at home against the clubs that finished above us last year.

With Swansea at home up first, we then got another home game straight after, as our first away game has now been switched. It was supposed to be at West Ham and their virtually free ground but the World Athletics Championships is on there. It finishes a full week before the scheduled game but that's not long enough to convert the ground for football.  It seems that the retractable seats are in fact just a big pile of scaffolding and Karen Brady and the Dildo Brothers are searching the yellow pages for a better deal so it takes 11 days to convert the ground. Wankers. They should get fined for not having a ground.

I'm pissed off because we've agreed to switch home and away games with them so now we start with two home games and we have something like five aways out of 6 in March. I can't go to the switched game as I'll still be on holiday. I won't get my money back on the ticket exchange because August games don't sell out. There will be many more who can't go to the new home date than those who couldn't go to the original March home date.  We’re just fans though so oh well.

Aside from that, why have Saints agreed to it? We're always dodgy at the start of the season due to having a new manager and the March away run is now a nightmare, coming in top of the December nightmare when we have all of big guns in the most congested period, as usual.  Fume.

We've got a new kit, same as every year but this year the Home shirt is an 80s throwback to the thick white band of the Air Florida / Rank Xerox kit. Keegan, Channon, Moran, Armstrong, Williams etc. The animated video to accompany the launch was amusing, culminating in animated Maya Yoshida kicking an animated Evil Genius in the face. The fact that the Evil Genius looked like Ronald Koeman is purely coincidental I'm sure. There were sly digs at Pompey and Liverpool in there as well and Animated Fraser saved everything. Virgil hardly featured... I wonder why, seeing how he's captain and all that.

Any likeness to any person living or dead is purely coincidental

A couple of days of rumours and general ridicule of Ryan Giggs’ right to even be mentioned in the context of getting a Premier League managers job.  Ryan says Southampton would be a great job for him to start his managerial career at.  Fuck Off round your brothers house you twat.   Talking of twats, the Liverpool media Cuntshow kicked into gear again.  Firstly there were articles about them asking Saints if we’d softened our stance on Virgil.  No reply from Saints.  The John Aldridge, has-been Scouse Gobshite clearly suggested that Virgil should go on strike to force a move to Anfield.  This is exactly what he advocated when Sterling wanted to move to Man City, Suarez wanted to move to Barcelona and Torres wanted to go to Chelsea.  Only it wasn’t of course.  Interestingly he still works for Liverpool which you would hope the Premier League will notice.  As far as we know, the tapping up investigation is still going on and to paraphrase Kevin Keegan, I would love it if they got a transfer ban, love it…. the cunts.  Isn’t it funny that Lallana and Lovren and now Virgil van Dijk all have ‘strike action’ strongly rumoured with their transfers from Saints… what’s the common factor with all these players and their transfers… it’s Red and it’s Scouse and it stinks of Fucking Bins.


Back in the real world it became a straight choice between Mauricio Pellegrino and Frank de Boer.  On Thursday 22nd de Boer was announced as imminently arriving at Crystal Palace and on Friday, the seemingly inevitable happened and Pellegrino was revealed as the new Saints manager.  On the face of it I’m pleased with this and some very respected people have made encouraging proclamations of his ability, flexibility and style of football he likes to play.  His opening statement of wanting the fans to feel engaged with the team every week was decent as that has definitely been lost this season just gone.  Bring it on.  Let’s hope he hits the ground running.

So – never a dull moment in a standard summer for Southampton FC.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Striking a blow for the Little Guy

What are these "Rules" You Speak Of

This was written on the evening of Thursday 7th June 2017 – it all may have changed by the time you read it.

So, I thought that I’d have a bit of a break from writing about Saints.  As I write Claude is still a dead man walking and the transfer window isn’t open.

Do you want the long version or the short version?

Okay, short version. Liverpool tapped up Virgil, Saints got the arse and reported them to the Premier League and then Liverpool knew that they were guilty as hell and apologised and pulled out of the chase in the hope that the Premier League didn't impose sanctions.  

The even shorter version is that Liverpool are cunts.

The full version is that news broke on Monday from several Liverpool media outlets that Virgil van Dijk had indicated that he wanted to join Liverpool as opposed to joining Chelsea or Manchester City or heaven forbid, staying at Southampton. In the normal scheme of things, no one as good as he is would choose to join Liverpool ahead of Chelsea or Manchester City.  The media world was in a frenzy with the BBC writing a piece to declare that Virgil would be signing for Liverpool as he indicated that as its preference.  It was written in the usual style of ‘Big club gets what they wants, small club doesn’t matter – just accept it and be grateful’.

Woah boy - Hang on just a goddam minute, he's got five years left of his contract to run and Saints categorically said they do not need to sell and that we don’t want to sell. Then more details began to emerge and they were that Virgil was swayed by Jurgen Klopp’s personal involvement in trying to sign him. Wow, hang on a fucking minute. So, if this is to believed, the manager of Liverpool has got personally involved in trying to sign a player that he had no permission to speak to and so M’lud, one must logically conclude that this is a clear case of tapping up and that my friends, is against the rules. 

My head was already racing with all this going round and I actually had a short Twitter exchange with Phil McNulty, who is the head of sport at the BBC and writer of the BBC article.  I have an issue with the BBC reporting gossip, what with it being funded by licence fees and all that but all he was interested in was the Liverpool side of the story regarding them being the club the Virgil wanted to join. I said to him that surely the tapping up angle was the story here as Liverpool have already picked up a ban from signing use players for using underhand inducements to a 12-year-old. In other walks of life but that’s called grooming. McNulty wasn’t interested in the slightest in that angle and just arrogantly signed off with a condescending, we'll see and I'm convinced that I'm right attitude.

In the meantime we had to tolerate a ridiculous amount of arsehole Liverpool fanbase gloating and the Liverpool media waving their collective dicks around.  “Oh my God, a player has decided to join us ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea, it's the Klopp effect… We are on our way back… We’re the biggest and best club in the land… You’ll Never Walk Alone…. Fuck off!!!

From a Saints fan angle, of course we were all thinking that the board had caved in yet again and despite saying they didn't need to sell, they were going to sell to the first bidder who came along, directly contradicting what Ralph Krueger had said in an interview about a week ago.

On Tuesday, the Saints board had obviously met and the local Daily Echo journalists then ran a story saying that Saints had got the right arse over the reports and had asked the Premier League to investigate if Liverpool had it done anything wrong.  Talk about negotiating from a position of strength as they obviously had.

In the meantime, John Cross of The Daily Mirror, never the most reliable of publications, had printed details of Liverpool flying Virgil to Blackpool of all places to meet Juergen Klopp and then receiving several text messages afterwards regarding the potential move. I don't know whether all of this was true but if it was, the personal involvement of Klopp was going to be like a noose around Liverpool’s neck. Phil McNulty the BBC didn't get back to me after that despite my repeated goading on Twitter. ‘Hi Phil, remember me from yesterday…”

Wednesday went by and then at about 5 o'clock came the glorious moment...
"Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs.

“We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk"

“We respect Southampton's position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”

Apparently it was a misunderstanding – misunderstanding my big fat hairy arse. What a shower of cunts. With a grovelling apology, came the news that the Premier League would be dropping the investigation. This is of course the only reason that Liverpool apologised in the first place because they fucking knew they were guilty but good old John Cross from the Mirror, who is my new journalistic hero, went to print again to say that Southampton still wanted the Premier League to investigate and the most interesting part of that was that apparently, other clubs were lining up behind Saints to give Liverpool a kicking.

Then of course, all the dodgy deeds of the past came falling out of the woodwork to remind everyone what a scummy operation Liverpool is.  The near identical tactics to try and sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham a few years ago – tap up, get reported, apologise.   They are like the football equivalent of Katie Hopkins who has a modus operandii of ‘Tweet a load of shit, delete it once everyone’s read it and then apologise’.  Liverpool only apologise when they get caught.  So, get your popcorn and watch this space.

The investigation into Liverpool transfer dealings should absolutely still take place.  No way should this be brushed under the carpet.  The player has been unsettled and that is specifically what the rules are supposed to prevent. Saints now have to deal with, unhappy player who has responded in textbook fashion by changing his Twitter bio in removing a picture of him in a Saints shirt and replacing it with one in a Holland shirt and changing the sentence ‘professional player with Southampton FC’ to ‘professional player’. We also have to deal with the fact that our captain, whilst he has been injured and getting fit again, has being fucking off to meet Juergen Klopp to try and try and arrange a transfer for himself. So, in short, he's acting like a right wanker and so there are bridges to be built there.

Where it leaves us with Virgil is anyone's guess – he could still leave for elsewhere but we have to applaud the board for standing firm and striking a blow for the little guy.   Another sale to Liverpool would have been too much and I think that they knew that.  Virgil changing agent in the middle of last season to the Wasserman Group (I think they’re called) was always going to make things more difficult for Saints and their role in all this is an interesting angle as well.  Maybe he’ll throw them under a bus and that could be a way to repair any damage done.

I really hope that the Premier League throw the book at Liverpool and they get something like being banned from making any transfers for the next three transfer windows. It would serve the bastards right. The arrogance of Liverpool and in particular, Juergen Klopp staggering. He is an over-hyped bang average manager who in four attempts against us last year, in a year when we really weren’t very good, couldn't even get his team to score one fucking goal.  The irony is that we are probably getting rid of our manager because we weren’t very good at scoring goals.  It's unbelievable that Klopp had these meetings and messages with Virgil in the first place. He knows the rules but the arrogant fucker obviously didn't think they applied to him. Yes they fucking do, dickhead.  Hopefully the ‘Klopp effect’ will mean that they can’t sign anyone for a while. 

The LFC Media is interesting to read.  The ‘proper’ papers like the Liverpool Echo are up in arms at their incompetence and really fearful of the consequences and incredulous at what Liverpool had done which is bad enough to trigger the complaint and subsequent embarrassing grovelling apology.  Of course, the media that poses as pseudo-official is still talking in delusional tones about how they could still sign him.  Are they for real?  The tone of the Liverpool fans on Twitter has somewhat changed – some directing anger at their owners, some at Saints obviously because we should just roll over and let him join a bigger club but strangely, none directed at their manager.  Having to issue an apology (apparently Saints insisted on it being public) is crushingly embarrassing but on it’s own it’s not enough.  They’ve done that before.  Katie Hopkins is still using the same tactics.

Let us not kid ourselves that tapping up doesn't go on, of course it does but Liverpool have obviously crossed the line here in their absolute desperation to get back to where they used to be. Saints will have known that Liverpool were talking to him – anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.  Whatever happens now, the constant procession of transfers from Southampton to Liverpool is over for a long time and they are going to have to be squeaky clean with every transfer deal they do from now on because if any selling club suspects anything, they are going to be straight in touch with the Premier League.  Ironically, there will probably be a massive rush for Liverpool to get other deals over the line before they get a transfer ban.  Make it happen Premier League.

Summer as a Saints fan – never a dull moment – and the transfer window isn’t even open yet.
In case you were wondering, Phil McNulty, Senior BBC Sports Writer, is still not returning my calls.

If Liverpool Was a Person