Thursday, June 08, 2017

A TIMELY WITHDRAWAL ?...

Amongst all the sound and fury of today`s General Election and all the other mayhem in today`s world, there is at least one news item to raise the spirits of us Saints fans.   I refer, of course, to the apology issued by Liverpool after being caught red-handed for allegedly making an illegal approach for the signing of Saints` centre back, Virgil van Dijk.

Now, Liverpool have form on a number of counts over issues such as this.  Back in 2012 they were forced into an embarrassing apology to Fulham for attempting to prise Clint Dempsey away from Craven Cottage.. More recently - in April this year - Liverpool were handed a two year ban from recruiting academy players from other clubs following the alleged `tapping up` of a 12 year old Stoke City player.  So much for the innocence of youth.

But perhaps their most telling offence has been to systematically recruit players from Southampton over the past couple of years.  Now we Saints fans might have accepted the financial need for Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Callum Chambers to end up at Arsenal and even Gareth Bale leaving for Tottenham; but Liverpool prising away Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and even Rickie Lambert Southampton`s Goal Machine (RLSGM) has been almost too much to bear.

And now Southampton along with their fans have themselves received a grovelling apology from Scouseland over the Virgil van Dijk affair.   It begs questions as to how all those others have slipped away and hints once more at the dark arts of football agents.   Of course, it is entirely possible that van Dijk will leave the beautiful south for richer pastures new but for once Southampton FC have shown some resilience by referring their concerns to the Premier League who have predictably decided to take no action following the Liverpool apology having been accepted.   Even so, one is left to consider whether that apology and subsequent withdrawal of any further interest in van Dijk might just have been to stave off some harsher punishment given their previous history.

But at last the Saints have (for now at least) resisted the prospect of a huge transfer deal, hopefully because they don`t have to sell a prized asset any more, whereas now their options may be to sell only if they wish to.  Be that as it may, I fear we are still in for yet another of these interminable summers of chaos, confusion and bewilderment - all default conditions of being a Saints fan - amid rumours of other players departing along with the manager who took us to a Wembley final and a top ten Premier League finish.   And so once again events at St. Mary`s Stadium seem only to mirror those in the rest of the mad world in which we live.

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