Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The Saint has returned!!!

Its been a while, a combination of a loss of faith and an excess of work has kept me away but I have returned.

Saint's start to the season has been so mixed that I haven't known whether to laugh or cry!! For the neutral it has been a joy. Before the weekend our games had contained the most goals in the football league. But from the weekend there seems to be a hope. Dailly has made such a big impact since coming in. His experience and quality seems to have rubbed off. Even Alan Bennett who started the season looking like a pub league player against an average Palace attack, has become a confident, composed player against a far better Cardiff front line. We just need to end our defender injury jinx and we should be fine.

Couple this improvement in the defense with some good finishing by the strikers and we have a recipe to push for promotion. My first impression of Stern John was that he was pretty lazy, lacked pace and presence, but like Rasiak, he just scores goals!! Can't ask for more! Below is the goal from Sunday, great ball through by Idiakez.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Bournemouth 1 - 2 Saints

Today at the Fitness First stadium Saints continued their preparations for the new season with a solid, rather than spectacular performance. Goals from Kenwyne Jones and Bradley Wright-Phillips gave ten-man Saints victory. Saints were reduced to 10 men when Powell was involved in some "hand-bags" with one of the Bournemouth players. It seemed like a telling off would have sufficed, but the ref thought otherwise. It was good to see Claus complete 45 minutes and Jones looked in fine form. As I said before though, it was a solid rather than great performance.

A selection of photos are at:
or here's the slideshow:

There was no sign of two triallist that had joined Saints for their first three pre-season games. Today, George Burley said that he was trying to arrange a season-long loan deal for Vignal from Lens. But he said that they would not be pursuing interest in Hungarian international centre-back Tamas Vasko. It still leaves a hole in the centre of our defence which urgently needs filling.

Still, pre-season has been encouraging thus far, with a Saints opening with a 4-2 win over Eastleigh and then 12-0 and 4-1 wins on the tour of Norway. So if Saints can strengthen the defence in the couple of weeks, a good season should ensue.

The whole potential takeover situation has become a bit tiring and after the club released a statement to the LSE announcing that there were three interested parties and talks were ongoing, I've decided to just wait and see and not get my hopes up. Takeover or not, this season looks like it is going to be fun!!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Bye Bye Baird, but Hello Hammill

So Chris Baird has eventually left for Fulham. It's a shame to see him go, but if he really wanted premiership football then fair play. It was interesting to see him snub a move to Sunderland in favour of waiting for one to Fulham. There are probably two good reasons though; Lawrie Sanchez and Mrs Baird (apparently she doesn't want to leave Hampshire). Plus we could do with the £3m we received to bolster the defence. We still need at least two centre backs and maybe another full back.

Looking at a full-back is exactly what Burley is going to do, Saints have taken Gregory Vignal on trial from Lens, where he would be available on a free transfer. He first came to England when he signed for Liverpool back in 2000, when he was one of the most promising french prospects, despite winning some cup winners medals, he struggled withg injury which led him to be sent out on loan to Rangers. He then opted to join Pompey (under Perrin), but was released when Redknapp returned. He sounds a good prospect and hopefully he can impress over the next week or two and can win himself a contract.

Another missing piece of the puzzle was a winger, someone to add pace, creativity and a cutting edge going forward. Hopefully this may have been filled with the arrival of Adam Hammill on a years loan from Liverpool. The 19 year old winger, who can play on either flank, played most of last season at Dunfermline in the SPL, where he helped them to the Scottish cup final. Hopefully he can proved an excellent addition to the midfield and add some really quality.

In takeover talk, something may or may not happen tomorrow or at the beginning of next week. But that is what's been said nearly every week for the last couple of months. The talk this week has sounded more believable with many people in the know (ITK) all agreeing on a big story, but not letting anything slip to the rest of us. Although, it has been commented that the proposal of one of the possible interested parties would rock the whole footballing world. To be honest this probably sounds to good to be true, which it usually is for Saints. Anyway, getting bored of the whole saga, lets just hope the whole thing is sorted (either way) sooner rather than later, so we can get back to concentrating on the football!

A musical tribute to Adam Hammill from the Dunfermline fans:

Friday, 6 July 2007

Takeover fatigue

Following all the "inside information", rumour and speculation surrounding a potential takeover of the club has really taken its toll. All the talk was of Paul Allen sweeping in with his billions and lifting saints to the next level. But this all seemed to go cold, after a great deal of rumour about what went wrong (if anything). All seemed to have gone silent over the last week, until new rumours have surfaced suggesting something may happen next week. Not Allen, but someone who would may be at least as good for the club! But again this is "inside information" with no source named to back it up. Could all be more rubbish/optimism. Have to wait and see I guess.

In actual news Saints managed to complete the signing (eventually) of Marek Saganowski. The fee reported to be about £700k is an absolute bargain in he is half as good as he hinted at with his performances at the end of last season. He should be a real asset!! On a sadder note, Cranie and Best have left (out of contract) to Pompey and Coventry. Saints will get some compensation for them as they are under 24, this might be nearly £1m between the two. I will be sad to see Cranie leave as I thought he had provided good cover at the back, although didn't get as many chances as he probably deserved. Not to bothered to lose Best, whilst he was improving, he also seemed lazy (almost as bad as Rasiak) and was offside quite frequently.

It was also reported today that Chris Baird will probably be off to Sunderland for £3m. This will be a great shame as Chris had a fantastic season past, and was clearly the undisputed player of the season. But with the finances at Saints the way they are currently, £3m is a good price and hopefully Burley will get most of it to invest in 2 new centre backs and a midfielder. If we can sure up our defence and get a tough midfielder in, we could have a great season coming. I actually feel quite positive at the moment, takeover or not.

Behind the scenes, Glynn Snodin left as first team coach to rejoin Curbishly at West Ham, he was replaced yesterday by the returning Jason Dodd. He's southampton through and through and should bring back some fight and leadership back. Never know, if we don't some defenders in, he might get to make his 400th league appearance for Saints (currently on 399)!!

Upstairs and there are some battles going on in the boardroom. Brian Hunt stepped down as a director, but he was not replaced by another non-executive, but by Andy Oldknow the commercial director. His appointment upset the remaining non-execs who stormed out of the board meeting and have left the board completely split. The makeup of the board is now totally unrecognisable to that promised by the 'Football First' manifesto the new regime unveiled this time last year. I just hope that this doesn't mess up any new potential investors and that hopefully someone will come in soon and sweep away all the rubbish. It would be nice for Saints to have a stable, liked board for once.

Fingers crossed for next week!!

Sunday, 17 June 2007


So the fixtures were released on thursday and Saints seem to have landed themselves a tough run-in. The final four games (in reverse order) are Sheff Utd (H), West Brom (A), Burnley (H) and Charlton (A). Let's just hope we have enough of cushion and we don't manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The season starts on August 11th with a visit from Crystal Palace, followed by the League cup 1st round match at Peterborough (13th) and a trip to Norwich in the league (18th). A link to the full list is on the right.

Obviously no more takeover talk over the weekend. Still clinging to the faint hope of PA interest, below is a video about Allen's second largest yacht, the Tatoosh. Bling bling!!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

It's becoming like a circus!!

So, its been yet another crazy week at the Saints. Ridiculous really! The week started with optimism, with hopes that a takeover would be imminent. But this has not transpired. The national press quoted a spokesman for Paul Allen's Vulcan investment company as say he had never had any interest in investing in the football club. The daily echo, then followed this up by stating they had been receiving emails to that effect for the previous fortnight. The story then got carried on The Saint (the club radio station). At this point the prospects of an Allen takeover looked extremely bleak indeed.

At this point there were still many people claiming to have inside information, say that talks were still ongoing with Allen's people, but they had not been smooth. These statements were backed up when Radio Solent reported that an inside source said talks were still ongoing. At this point the Echo put out another story saying pretty much the same thing. Information coming out now, from relatively reliable sources, suggest that the talks had been in difficulty, but the board were trying to rescue the situation. The reason for these problems has not become clear. Whether it is to do with members of the board, the sale of Gareth Bale, or related property issues is unknown.

This is all a bit of a downer compared with this time last week!! One thing is for sure, talks with someone are still ongoing as the company is still in a bid situation. Who with is also a mystery, rumours of a Souness-led consortium or business men from the far east are all vague.

What is clear from all this is that Saints need some investment. Transfer activity seems to have frozen in the last week. Reports suggesting we had signed Saganowski have dried up, as has talk of an approach from Guthrie and no more word on Baird's potential exit. This could be because Burley has been away on holiday, or it could be because the takeover talks in a delicate stage and assets can't be offloaded or acquired.

I am not one of the people who are panicking and demanding swift action, but it would be nice to see that this is going somewhere and progress is being made. In order for Saints to really compete next season we need to sign a couple of big, strong centre backs, and along with the potential signings of Saga and Guthrie, we should be able to challenge for the automatic positions next season.

Lets all just keep our fingers crossed for some good news soon!!

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Potential Takeovers

So still no word on a prospective takeover and so I've recently become addicted to following the Saints Forum, where the PA takeover thread provides great entertainment, frustration, hope, disallusionment etc etc. At the time of writing the thread had 95,964 views with over 2000 posts. There has been lots of speculation, with a few people claiming inside knowledge (some more credibly than others!). The general consensus is that Paul Allen is in the process of a takeover attempt, but this might also be dependent on him acquire much of the surround land to create a new development. This is what may be slowing up the proposed move. If this is true and is eventually completed, this is hugely exciting prospect, not just for the Saints, but for the city as a whole. A benefactor like Allen, redeveloping some of the old industrial area would surely breath life back into a large part of the city.

Over at the Forum, the stock market is watch constantly, and attempts are normally underway to locate/track Mr Allens three super-yachts. The fact that the share price has been at a constant high of about 62p for a week or so is very promising. I have personally tried to contact Mr Allen's people through his press office, but have had no response. I guess if it was a complete load of rubbish they would have said that and be done with it.

So, hopes are high that a takeover will happen, although the timing is anybodies guess, could be monday, could be september (or later). A waiting game is required here, the patience of a Saint!!!

In other news, Chris Baird handed in a transfer request after clear interest from Fulham. Saints rejected an initial bid of about £2.5m, and since Baird requested to be transfer listed. You may ask why, if a takeover is imminent? But it may be the case that he knows no more than us, and he wants the chance to play top-flight football next year, while at the peak of his career. He would also be joining his former international boss Lawrie Sanchez, who is clearly a huge fan of Baird. I personally can't really blame him for requesting a move and wish him all the best for the future. But I still can't help feeling a little disappointed by his decision. He had a great season last year, and Saints really made progress. I might have hoped he could have repayed the fans (who voted him player of the year) with one more season. Never mind! Unless the board are trying to delay selling him a bit longer, hoping that a takeover will happen and we can persuade him to stay.

So keep the faith all, keep your fingers/toes/arms/legs/EVERYTHING crossed, that we get some good news soon and the club can really start to build for the future.