ALL IS NOT LOST
Take yesterday`s football, for example. Pride of place once again goes to rampaging Gillingham, who beat Dean Holdsworth`s Aldershot 2-1 at Priestfield to cement their place in the play-off spots in League Two. There seems to be no stopping Andy Hessenthaler`s team who were, once again, the only winners of the teams that Snopper Street care about.
Charlton made an overnight trip all the way up to Rochdale in Lancashire for a League One game, only for the game to be called off at a 9.30am pitch inspection following heavy frost. So, our pacy flanker, his chums, friends and family had a wasted journey, which is odd, as I always assumed that `oop north,` with their diet of tripe, onions and black pudding and their penchant for whippets and pigeon fancying, the natives of Rochdale were made of sterner stuff. No matter, at least Charlton can claim that their unbeaten run under new manager Chrissy Powell, continues.
My beloved Saints, without my own attendance due to my principle of refusing to allow any of my cash to find its way to Old Trafford (yes, I know all about noses, spite and faces) were live on Sky for their FA Cup match with Manchester United. Despite leading 1-0 at half time, the Saints were eventually undone 2-1, thanks to some panic substitutions by United, tiring legs and missed opportunities. No complaints - almost the perfect result; bowing out of the Cup following a creditable showing, allowing us to concentrate on the league.
There were, I suggest, two or three differences between the sides. One was the quality of the bench - United could have called on Rooney, Berbatov, etc., having already brought on Giggs and Nani; Southampton had Fraser Richardson along with untried youngsters in Ryan Doble, Aaron Martin and Oscar Gobern. Then there was the gulf which exists between the Premier League and League One, not just a gulf in class but also financially. And there`s the thing - after years of financial problems culminating in Administration, Southampton are now debt free, balancing the books and living within their means. United are £765million in debt and rising.
But in the end, it was what happened on the pitch that mattered to the players and the fans of each team yesterday at St. Mary`s. For Manchester United, they go marching on to the next round of the Cup. For Southampton, whilst it might be tempting to find solace in patronising phrases such as gallant losers, plucky lower league minnows, call them what you will, it was a day to be proud of the team, the stadium, the support and the club. So, despite the old saying, "Show me a good loser and I`ll show you a loser," all is most definitely not lost.