Southampton dreaming big
Nothing is more exciting than potential. Spotting talent before it blossoms, getting sucked into the dream of something big.
But with all future prospects, there’s the reality of the here and now. That’s when it gets tough – your team losing week in week out. You need to be steadfast and remember what you can see in the future, not what is stumbling before you now.
This team I’m describing my friends, is Southampton FC. Bottom but one in the league. Papers and pundits circling for a managerial sacking, written off after of a tide of defeats.
Yet, on the terraces the crowds roar week in, week out for the manager Nigel Adkins, no matter the result. All 30,000 of them believe something special is being built at St Mary’s. The Chairman’s dream: to create a squad playing beautiful football, constructed from the Southampton Youth Team.
And right now, the Saints are the youngest in the Premier League – a mix of homegrown and bought talent:
Luke Shaw, 17. Pacey left back, made his full debut only this month.
Nathanian Clyne, 21. Attacking right back. Bought from Crystal Palace, England U21 star.
Morgan Schneiderlin, 22. Silky smooth French midfielder. Core to the back to back promotion squad.
Jack Cork, 23. Tackling, ball-winning midfielder. Played in the summer for Great Britain at the Olympics.
James Ward-Prowse, 18. Product of our youth system: visionary midfielder
Adam Lallana, 24. Graduated with Walcott from the Saints youth system, but stayed with the club for through thick and thin. Tricksy, playmaker. Only recently called up for the full England Squad.
Gaston Ramirez, 21. Signed for 12 million in the summer, one of the biggest young talents in the world right now.
Ben Reeves, 21. Another youth team graduate – attacking midfielder, massive prospect.
Lloyd Isgrove, 19. Another trainee – talented winger who made first team debut in October.
We used to be a feeder club for rich clubs looking for new talent to poach – Bale, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain. But now it’s different, now we don’t need to sell.
And we try to play football like a dream: chips, passes, flicks, attacking, one touch in the spirit of Le God. Trying, failing, trying again, and slowly getting better.
So while everyone else is seeing doom and disaster, Southampton fans are imagining a team that keeps hold of its youthful talent, imagining what this talent could achieve with a few months more Premier League experience. Imagining the manager – Nigel Adkins, who had the talent to create back to back promotions, soon finding his feet in this challenging Premier League, and fulfilling the Chairman’s dream.
With a bit more experience we won’t be talking about potential anymore – we’ll be talking Champions league! You might laugh (and highly unlikely this season…ok, definitely not going to happen this season) but a club with our ambition and resources can go far – you heard it here first!
Written by Louise Kyme