Sunday, September 14, 2014


Yesterday was a good day to be a Saints fan.  Not just the thumping 4-0 win over Newcastle United but also the conclusion of ex-Saints left back Francis Benali`s epic run for the Cancer Relief charity.   Over the past 21 days, Franny has run 1,000 miles - averaging 46 miles a day - and in the process has visited every Premier League stadium, from Newcastle to Swansea and all points in between, culminating in his arrival at St. Mary`s, where he was lauded by the near 30,000 attendees.

The photo above shows Newcastle`s current manager, Alan Pardew, when, in happier times as Southampton manager, he welcomed the signing of Rickie Lambert in a £1million swoop from Bristol Rovers who themselves have fallen on hard times following their relegation to the Football Conference.   Lambert was not the only astute signing made by Pardew - others included Jose Fonte, now Saints captain, Dean Hammond, Lee Barnard, Dan Harding and others who formed the team that began to see the Saints rise from the obscurity of League One back to the Premier League.

It was as recently as 2010 that I made the trip to Wembley to see Saints win their first silverware since 1976 by beating Carlisle 4-1 in the final of the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy. Pardew quite rightly took much of the credit for the club`s success and so it came as a surprise when, just a few short months later, he was dismissed among rumours of low staff morale and conflicts with the club chairman.   In December of that year he was appointed manager of Newcastle United.

Sadly for him, recent results have seen Newcastle tumble to the bottom of the league and yesterday Pardew cut a lonely figure as he sat in the `dugout` watching his team capitulate to yet another embarrassing defeat.   Some 2,500 Newcastle fans had made the long journey to Southampton and they were quick to renew their siren calls for Pardew`s dismissal. Banners were waved, insults bellowed and calls for his departure echoed around St. Mary`s.   Now it`s the way of football I suppose but it was perhaps less than fitting for the Saints fans to join in the derision aimed at Pardew and starting the witless chant of `You`re getting sacked in the morning.`

Now I hold no particular candle for Alan Pardew - he`s a multi-millionaire football man who seems to have done very well out of the beautiful game and to that extent perhaps sympathy might be a misguided notion.   But I did find it disappointing that the Saints faithful seemed to have short memories for the contribution that he made to the club`s resurgence quite literally from the jaws of annihilation.   He may well be sacked one morning before long, but it seemed unbecoming  for the Saints fans to wish it on someone who deserved their thanks rather than their mockery.

1 comment:

Ray Turner said...

46 miles a day, for 21 days.
That's incredible.