Thursday, July 24, 2008

Championship Preview - Southampton

Welcome one and all to a glimpse at what the new season holds for the giants, minnows, underachievers, overachievers, should do's, won't do's, no chances and surprise packages of the Coca Cola Championship 2008/09.

I am going set the ball roiling with a look at Southampton. Last season was one the saints will truly want to forget about. There was turmoil in the board room, on the pitch and off it. Southampton barely stayed up after being involved in a relegation battle for much of the season. For Saints fans it's bad enough to have one eye starring along the coast at the miracles being achieved at Portsmouth without having to put up with board room wranglings, tales of debt, caretaker managers and players getting themselves in trouble with the law.

Unfortunately I can see no light at the end of the tunnel for Southampton. The new season will bring a new manager in the form of Dutch gaffer Jan Poortvliet, the former Telstar and Helmond sport coach ( yep, neither had I!) has arrived on the south coast with promises of total football. This should send shivers down the spines of the supporters and cheers throughout Portsmouth. Total football is all well and good when you are fielding 11 top class players who can pass the ball to a high standard. Poortvliet has a little to work with. While total football (which was made famous by the Dutch national side in 1970's) is very pretty and entertaining, it is extremely naive to expect a Championship side to execute the style effectively, especially away to Burnley on a rainy Tuesday eve. The fact is that a lot of teams in the Championship will not allow you to keep the ball (The Championship skill level means an average of 6-7 passes before possession is surrendered) long enough to allow your defense to get into forward positions. If they do manage that they will soon find the ball being closed down on their unprotected keeper as soon as they give up possession.

This naive approach, coupled with the lack of signings this summer, should set the alarm bells ringing. The Saints lost the influential Youssef Safri and are about to lose, the even more influential, Rudi Skacel (To Ip..Ip..Ip...them of all teams.)
Jan Poortvliet and "Total Football" ... Good luck with that!

Off the field two Southampton players have found themselves in court up on Burglary charges after items were stolen from a local night club. Also off the field the club announced it is running at a loss and has no cash to spend on incoming players. Their biggest signing this summer has been Spurs fourth string keeper Tommy Forecast. Pootvliet has even had to have emergency talks with midfield star Jhon Viafara to persuade the Colombian international to stay at St Mary's. It is also likely that want away forward Grzegorz Rasiak will be elsewhere next season (hopefully Norwich!), leaving veteran Stern John and goal shy Marek Saganowski to lead the line backed only by inexperienced youth.

I can't see any improvement for Southampton this year and it could be a very tricky season for them*. Poortvliets inexperience in English football, his desired style and their lack of signings to replace the outgoings stars could mean another relegation dog fight this year. If you look at the current Championship table with no games played, Southampton sit 21st in alphabetical order. This is where they will stay.....If they manage to stay!


*Sorry saints fans here's a clip of better times to cheer you up....


The NY Kid said...

Ahh, Bigus - the "jump" html continues to elude you.

But great preview!

Bigus Dickus said...

Elude...Give a f---. Is there a difference? :')

The NY Kid said...

that'll learn ya!

Bigus Dickus said...


strong like bull smart like tractor said...

Man, Le Tissier was a dopey-looking fucker, wasn't he?

Bigus Dickus said...

He was also one of the most talented players of his time. He scored some amazing goals from zip.

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

No question. He more or less singlehandedly kept the Saints in the Prem for a few years in the late '90s. Still - dopey-looking fucker.