Last week, Southampton legend, Matthew Le Tissier suggested that the Hampshire club would find it difficult to survive relegation for a second consecutive year.
“Obviously looking at the league table at the moment, it’s a pretty scary thought,” he said, “It’s an unusual position to be in, because the history of this club over recent seasons means we shouldn’t really be there.”
Le Tissier, who played 540 times for The Saints, remaining at St. Marys for the entirety of his career. During his time with the club he was crucial to their survival in the Premiership season after season scoring some truly spectacular goals on the way.
He will be exasperated with Southampton’s current plight. Lying in 23rd, 5 points from safety, things look far from promising. It’s a sad demise of a club that managed to survive in the top flight for 27 years.
The sale of talents like Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Kenwenye Jones while provided much needed cash for the struggling Southampton. Ultimately this was detrimental to the club, as the there was little quality left in the squad.
The constant flow of departures from the club have not helped. Harry Redknapp was drafted in to work his magic and keep the Saints up. However he was unable to reproduce the feat of keeping Portsmouth in the Premiership, and Southampton were relegated.
With the departure of Redknapp to Portsmouth, George Burley was brought in. There were sign of progress under Burley with Southampton reaching the play-offs in 2006-07. However the were defeated on penalties by Derby in the semi finals.
Ever since Southampton have suffered from a sharp decline of fortunes. Board room wrangling, potential takeovers, and Rupert Lowe. Lowe has been a controversial figure in the Southampton board room.
Lowe who resigned as chairmen of the club after enormous pressure from fan groups like the ‘Saints trust’. However he has since returned to his former position joining Michael Wilde as chairmen. This has led to discontent amongst the Southampton faithful.
So this combination of factors has led to the situation Southampton now find themselves in. Unfortunately there is no Matt Le Tissier to rescue them from danger anymore. Youthful prospects like Andrew Surman, Adam Lallana and David Goldrick provide some hope for disillusioned fans.
Should Southampton drop into the third tier of English football, it’s difficult to see them ever playing in the top flight again. Formed in 1885, it will be a sad day for English football to see them plummet even further down the leagues.
Le Tissier hopes that there may remain a small chance of survival still. He cites team spirit as crucial to any hopes they have of escaping the relegation zone.
“It’s something that we’ve thrived on in the past,” he added.
“When you’ve got a squad that probably isn’t as good as everybody else, the one thing you can compete with is team spirit.
“It can make a difference and that’s the one big factor in all the relegation scrapes we had.”
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