Tag: Southampton

Match Of The Week: Bournemouth 1-3 Southampton

At some imperceptible point, somewhere between January and March, the football season switches its rhythm. No longer can one look at the league table, work out the gap between your team and the automatic promotion places, and blithely say, “We can make that gap up”. Every match matters, even though three points won in April are, in the overall scheme of things, worth no more than those won in August. Matches between two teams near the top or bottom of the table become “six pointers”, in which a single win or loss can suddenly make the difference between a promotion race that will go to the wire or an insurmountable gap being opened up. In League One, Brighton & Hove Albion have stumbled upon that most happy of coincidences – they’re playing well and riding their luck. Last Saturday, a last minute winner netted them two extra points from  a knockabout match against Carlisle United. On Tuesday night, an own goal goal them all three points from a trip to Brentford. If they may now be considered a shoo-in for promotion at the end of the season (and something particularly horrid would have to happen to them now for them to lose the eight point gap – with two games in hand – that they have built up so far this season), attention now turns to the second automatic...

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FA Cup Match Of The Week 2: Southampton 1-2 Manchester United

When Dimitar Berbatov drove the ball into Richard Kingson’s goal to complete Manchester United’s turn-around at Blackpool during the week, there was a near-nationwide shrug of resignation at what is starting to feel like the inevitability of their coronation as the Premier League champions. That sort of performance, the digging in and refusing to accept a defeat that had seemed destined to slip away from them, was championship form coming from a team that, if history can act as a guide to anything, usually gets better during the second half of the season. The bigger question is that of whether a team that has not looked outstanding for much of the season can now push on and finish it unbeaten. This Manchester United team, however, isn’t the Manchester United team that played on Wednesday night and the Blackpool manager Ian Holloway may have cause to take a sharp intake of breath at the side that Alex Ferguson has chosen for this evening’s match. Presumably, Ferguson’s defence will be that he selected a team that he believed could go out and win this match and the argument that “people want to see the stars play” doesn’t hold much water, either. Southampton, formerly of the Premier League but now trying to fight their way back up from League One, won’t care that much should they beat them at St Marys this...

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Southampton And Shrewsbury Town Clash Over Ticket Prices

One of the more welcome developments in ticketing arrangements in recent years has been the slow realisation on the part of clubs that they cannot always charge the absolute maximum that they can for some matches. Crowds have declined alarmingly recent years in both the League Cup and FA Cup, but what is starting to become apparent is that clubs would rather have people in their grounds than staying away because they can’t afford tickets on top of the cost of their season tickets. The issue of cheaper tickets being, by definition, isn’t a completely black and white issue, though. In the FA Cup, in which gate receipts are shared – after various costs have been removed – between the competing clubs, and this can create tension between them. In the case of next week’s FA Cup First Round match between Southampton and Shrewsbury Town, this is exactly what happened. Southampton wanted to cut the cost of the tickets for this match from their usual price of around £25 to £10. This may, on the surface, appear to be motivated by altruism, but it makes sense for the club to do this. A bigger crowd, they may reason, would be advantageous to the players and would also push up other revenue streams such as catering, which don’t have to be shared with anyone else. For Shrewsbury Town, on the...

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Tiss Time, More Than Any Other Time

The recent publicity regarding the newspaper sting carried out upon the Pakistan cricket team during their test match against England and the ensuing debate over the completion of the test match between the two countries has led EJH to wonder why, when something similar happened in football, no action whatsoever was taken. These are the things that people do not know. They do not know because they are not told. “Vince” Hilaire Belloc There is, as you may have struggled not to know these last few days, a certain amount of media and public interest in “spot-fixing”, specifically as regards certain members of the Pakistan cricket team and their agent. The allegations against these men are, of course, both unproven and the subject of a police investigation. They will not, therefore, be the direct subject of this article. What I would prefer to write about, instead, this being a football site, is the incident that came into my head almost as soon as I head about the cricket allegations, not long after close of play at Lord’s on Saturday. What came to mind was Matt Le Tissier’s confession, last year, to having done exactly what Mohammed Amir et al are presently accused of. As widely reported, Le Tissier admitted, in his autobiography, that he had seen fit to bet on a throw-in taking place early in a game at...

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RIP Markus Liebherr: The Man That Saved Southampton

Southampton supporters today were shocked to learn of the death of their club’s owner, Markus Liebherr, at the age of sixty-two. Here, Southampton supporter Neil Cotton pays his own tribute to the man that bought the club when they were at the point of extinction. A former colleague once related that on her way to watch Southampton play Ajax she was cut up by another motorist. Far from being upset by this she bore the assailant no ill-will as she believed that the car was ferrying new-owner and club saviour Markus Liebherr to his first game; the driver no doubt unfamiliar with the city and the vagaries of its traffic lanes. The car may or may not have contained Mr Liebherr however, the story says much about the esteem fans held for the new owner. Leibherr emerged after a dark summer where the club, now celebrating its 125th year stared into oblivion. Torn apart by boardroom infighting the club, long proud of its Premier League status, had been relegated the third tier, was in receivership and if that was not enough faced the added burden of starting the new season with a 10 point penalty. Fans had turned to the man credited with single handedly maintaining that hallowed Premier League status during the 1990s Matt Le Tissier. However, despite saving the club on-pitch time and time again off-pitch was...

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