"We Must Accept Lallana & Shaw Will Go" - Southampton End Of Season Review 2013/14
What's going right?
An awful lot, really. We have a manager who is respected throughout the club, getting the team playing superbly with a core of young, home-grown players and with more coming through, and reestablishing Southampton’s reputation for attacking verve and exciting football. We’ve also retained that sense of being a ‘nice’ club, staying true to our values despite a bit of behind the scenes upheaval and the spot-light of attention this season.
There are reports of debt growing again and transfer debits owing. There has been a bit too much heard this season from behind the scenes, but Krueger seems like a hard-nosed bastard who will tighten everything up and that warms the cockles of my heart. The FA Cup capitulation was annoying, but no more than that.
Got the right manager?
One hundred per cent: both for his footballing ethos and his development of young players, Pochettino is trusted by the dressing room and the fans.
This is tough. Shaw has matured from a glorious prospect into a first team regular who looked very comfortable for England. Lovren has excelled and Rodriguez has shown why we spent so much on him. But the stand-out must be skipper Lallana. A classy performer and a thoroughly decent man.
Who would you like to sell?
The Osvaldo saga needs a resolution. His goal against City was extraordinarily tantalizing, like a kiss from a beautiful girl who then never calls again. But he’s failed to deliver and his temperament is unsettling. I think for Southampton, this question should read ‘who would you like to hold onto…?’
Want to sign?
I think we need another striker: with Rickie more of an impact player now, the injury to Jay Rod left us looking a fraction bare in that particular cupboard. Personally, Artur Boruc also makes me a bit nervous. Gazzinga has potential but a strong challenger to the Pole in goal would make sense. I’d kill to see Vincent Enyeama play for us.
Playing Chelsea away, they struck up with “Champions League: you’ll never win that”. Saints’ fans responded with “Johnstone’s Paint Trophy: you’ll never win that”. Funny and, probably, true.
Best opposition player/team you’ve seen?
Oddly for a Saints fan, my favourite game was the 3-0 loss to Liverpool: we played brilliantly for much of the game and showed class and resilience. For contributing to that spectacle, I’d go for the Reds. My favourite player has been David Marshall, heroic time and again in a losing team.
Biggest w***** of the season?
Either Alan Pardew or Jose Mourinho. I’m not a fan of managers who become the story, and both have conducted themselves with little dignity this term.
Funniest Moment of the season?
Jay Rodriguez’s goal against Palace, scuffed and bobbling towards the goal as he falls on his arse, and then sits up, arms aloft, as it somehow manages to crawl over the line.
Next season's prediction?
Probably about the same, in truth. I think we can target 8th-10th comfortably, and get a decent cup run too. We will sell Lallana, and likely Shaw too, but the core of players will remain and with a couple of decent additions, we will be fine. For me, the priority is keeping our style and philosophy intact.