Sunday, February 01, 2015


In almost seventy years of following the fortunes and misfortunes of Southampton Football Club I, like most Saints fans of any lineage, have developed a kind of fatalistic attitude towards things.   Que sera, sera writ large.   Indeed, it has been established through medical research over a long period that the default state of mind for being a Saints fan is one of almost perpetual anxiety.

This state of mind has resulted from years of watching the team struggle for survival, enduring great escapes from the constant threat of relegation and when relegation eventually happened, it happened not once, but twice, leaving the club on the brink of liquidation (such a graphic term) and finding them rooted to the bottom of League One, minus ten points for going into administration.

At that point, all anxieties seemed to fade away - things could not get any worse and so we made our pilgrimages to St. Mary`s Stadium simply for the pleasure of being there with no expectations beyond a convivial afternoon with good friends, keeping what little faith we could muster.

What`s different these days is that the anxieties associated with the prospect of dismal failure have been replaced by the anxieties associated with the prospect of unexpected success. After yesterday`s home defeat by Swansea, some Saints fans, normally of sound mind and body, are now anxiously concerning themselves with the prospect of failing to finish the season in a top four Champions League place in the Premier League.   I think the great Sir Roger Bannister summed it up perfectly when he said that "the essence of sport is that while you`re doing it, nothing else matters, but after you stop, there is a place, generally not very important, where you would put it."

Just as my anxieties vanished when I realised that things could get no worse for my beloved Saints, I refuse to allow my anxieties to return now that things can hardly be any better.  


Ray Turner said...

As I recall, it was qualifying for Europe as a consequence of reaching the FA Cup final that seemed to trigger the downhill slide that resulted in those relegations.

A depressingly early exit from European competition just seemed to set the trend. A rapid decline followed from which the Lowe-era club never recovered...

Snopper said...

Yes, Ray, I remember it well. It was being drawn in the first round against Steau Bucharest, home and away. We did OK under Gordon Strachan in those games, even with the Saints fans going to the away game dressed in dinner suits, as they felt the need to be `ambassadors.`

But not long after that, Wee Gordon left and that was as much to blame for the decline as anything else, I feel.