Friday, 6 March 2009


Much to my delight, new Southampton manager Mark Wotte seems to have given a flailing side a new lease of life...and some points to go with it. Nine out of nine in fact.

Saints are struggling financially, which in recent seasons has taken its toll on the field. Jan Poortvliet decided to deal with this problem by disregarding the more experienced players with higher wages, almost without exception. The goalkeeper, Kelvin Davis, and defenders Chris Perry and Rudi Skacel were the only first team regulars from last season that Poortvliet picked on a regular basis earlier this season.

But Mark Wotte has been less stubborn since taking over at St. Mary's in late January. He seems to have found a balance between youth and experience in the side by recalling the likes of Jason Euell and Marek Saganowski from a loan spell at Brondby in Denmark. He has also reverted back to using the 4-4-2 formation - which was out of the question under Poortvliet - and it has reaped its rewards - especially at home.

Here's how Saints picked up three wins on the spin in their last three games...

Saturday, 21st February: SAINTS 3-1 Preston

Three first half goals were enough to secure Saints only their second home win of the season.

Andrew Surman opened the scoring after 19 minutes by placing home from close range after Marek Saganowski laid the ball into his path.

Saganowski made it 2-0 ten minutes later following good build up play by Adam Lallana and Simon Gillet. The Pole latched home ruthlessly from the edge of the box to give Saints a strong lead at the half time whistle.

Ross Wallace pulled one back for Preston 17 minutes from time, but a strong Saints back line headed by Chris Perry and new signing Jan-Paul Saeijs held out.

Saturday, 28th February: SAINTS 1-0 Cardiff City

Saints ended Cardiff’s 13-match unbeaten run to strengthen their fight against relegation.

David McGoldrick converted an 11th minute penalty after Cardiff’s Mark Kennedy was adjudged to have handled a Jason Euell cross.

Saints’ keeper Kelvin Davis pulled off a magnificent one-handed save from Cardiff striker Paul Parry in the first half.

The Bluebirds tired towards the end after their midweek cup clash with Arsenal and Saints managed to hold on to a vital three points.

Mark Wotte: "I am very proud of my team and the way they have been fighting for each other in the last few weeks."

Tuesday, 3rd March: Ipswich Town 0-3 SAINTS

A resurgent Saints side dominated play-off chasing Ipswich to pick up their third win in a row.

Jason Euell headed home his first goal of the season from an Andrew Surman free-kick shortly after a Jan-Paul Saeijs header was disallowed.

Saints had another goal disallowed in the second half after Chris Perry had tapped home from a Simon Gillett corner in a game where 3-0 flattered Ipswich.

Euell took full advantage of a defensive error calmly netted his second with five minutes to play. Late substitute Matt Paterson fired in Saints’ third shortly after as David Norris lost possession for The Tractor Boys in their own half.


Southampton are still two points from safety with their relegation rivals also picking up form at the right time.

They face a tough away day tomorrow at second-placed Birmingham City, but there is renewed hope at St. Mary’s following recent performances under Mark Wotte.


  1. What I don't understand is why Southampton and Portsmouth fans hate each other so much. With Liverpool and Manchester United it had its roots in the horrible side of sectarian Irish emigre politics with United roughly being republican and Liverpool being essentially at one time Unionist. So essentially you've got idiots symbolically fighting a long dead civil war that they almost certainly know nuthin' about. But what's the Portsmouth and Southampton thing since they are just two small and not very remarkable towns in the middle of what amounts as a Belgium-like part of the British Isles. Can you explain the politics of that?

  2. I believe Southampton hates Portsmouth because of a dispute in the coast a long time ago. They didn't give people from Southampton access to their ports or something. I got told a while ago, and would have to ask again.

    Plus, you may think Southampton is an insignificant town, but I've been brought up to love my team and you were probably brought up in a similar way up North!

    And on the politics of the south coast, doubt I could go anywhere near as far as I can with the Football side of things!

  3. Bad luck on the demotion.
    Please add a link to to your blog somewhere. Yrs Chris Horrie.