Sunday, February 23, 2014


For well over ten years now - such is the depth of my superficiality - I have belonged to an on line forum devoted to all things concerning Southampton Football Club.   Now my Collins English Dictionary defines `forum` as "meeting or medium for open discussion or debate."  Sounds simple enough.

When it started all those years ago, the forum was what it was supposed to be - a vehicle for the exchange of views and opinions which led not only to healthy debate but, surprisingly, a catalyst for real friendships to be formed which persist to this day.   The most useful point about those early exchanges was that the contributions to the forum were either from those who had actually attended the games, home or away, or from Saints followers in distant lands who were unable to do so.

I think too that the forum was more representative of the true fans who had stuck with the club all the time it was struggling with financial problems, administrations, capricious management, back-to-back relegations and thus habitual nervousness.  Since the return to the Premier League, (The best league in the world (TM)) the stands at St. Mary`s Stadium have seen the return of those stay-away `fans` for whom life in the lower reaches of the Football League held no kudos to prop up their insecurities.  

It always strikes me as odd that football fans seem to be divided between those who are genuine supporters and those who are attracted to a bandwagon which provides them with a cache to swagger into the rest of their lives.   Consequently, with a few exceptions, the forum has now become the preserve of those who are slow to bless and extremely quick to chide.   And yesterday`s 3-1 defeat away at West Ham provided the perfect excuse for rants to appear demanding the head of the manager, an end to Rickie Lambert`s place in the team and general disillusionment with the way the team is selected and playing.  

Such reactions are really quite extraordinary and totally unacceptable.   Last time I looked (about an hour ago) Southampton were lying eighth in the Premier League with any thought of relegation a distant memory.  In yesterday`s game they had 70% of the possession, 25 shots on goal to West Ham`s 10 and 11 corners to West Ham`s 5.   The only thing wrong was that West Ham scored three against Saints` one - the only statistic that matters, of course.   But the team are playing well, enjoying a good season but having a blip when it comes to burying the ball in the back of the net.

A few hardy souls have suggested this reality on the forum but in doing so have incurred the wrath of the WUMs, the self-appointed ITKs and those for whom a result like yesterday`s constitutes then end of their sad world.  It`s like BBC Radio Five Live`s 606 but writ large.  Some people really do need to get a life.  

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