Season review 2013/14 – Southampton

As Mauricio Pochettino is confirmed as the new boss at White Hart Lane, and with Lallana and Shaw linked with big money moves away from St Mary’s this summer, we ask @louisekyme to put aside the panic and anger and look back at another excellent season on the pitch for Southampton.

Pleasure to watch or utter disaster?

It won’t be a surprise for anyone to hear a Saints FC supporter say what a phenomenal season it has been. This was the season when even the most patronising ‘top 6’ fan got scared to play us. There have been peaks and troughs – from beating Liverpool at Anfield, sitting pretty in 3rd place 11 games in, followed by a tough Christmas period, then regaining form in the New Year, before finally finishing with the highest points tally the club has ever experienced. We stated we were aiming for the Champions League, and we weren’t far off. From day one to the last, following this team and their efforts has left every resident of Southampton bursting with pride. And it’s not just the results, it’s the way they did it – sublime, dominant football. With a team full of home grown talent. And proper nice guys. That has been the Southampton Way.

Who’s been this season’s hero?

England’s star at Brazil? (photo: Football365)

Adam Lallana – captain, player of the season, he took his play to the next level this season. He’s always been the most talented Saints player on this pitch, but under The Manager’s influence he got more ruthless, more direct, less lightweight. The Manager compares him to Messi, and while some might mock, the fact he’s being discussed as England’s big hope in Brazil shows how much we need him to be that great. And I think he will be – the thing about Lallana is he’s always involved – there’s never the Rooney-style risk of loss of form or ‘disappearing’ from the game. Lallana has been on form from start to end of season, and his workrate is as good as any defensive midfielder. Get ready for something special this summer.

And the villain?

Dani Osvaldo. Headbutting team mate Jose Fonte. The less said the better!

Manager’s report

The Manager had a fantastic 2013/14 – he’ll be elsewhere in 2014/15 sadly. And, knowing Spurs, somewhere else again in 2015/16 (photo: Express)

I could write so much about him, but news today is he’s left for Spurs, and right now I’m struggling to write his name. Hopefully I’ll be in a better place next week, because he deserves to be written about as a Saints legend. But right now, that’s what makes it all the more sickening.

Best signing

Lovren. Taught our defense how to communicate. Classy player.

Worst signing

Osvaldo. Needs no explanation!

Rising star

Tough to pick as so many rising stars at Southampton. But I’ll go for Sam Gallagher – an 18 year old who made his debut against Arsenal and pulled them apart. He hasn’t quite hit his stride yet, but I don’t think it will take long. His movement just needs a visionary to spot. Maybe Gaston Ramirez is the one to provide that. If he stays…

Highlight of the season

Too many highlights to choose from. But in order:

  • Rickie Lambert scoring for England on his debut with his first touch.
  • Sitting at 3rd in the table 11 games in.
  • Lallana, Shaw and Lambert selected for World Cup.
  • Beating Liverpool.

Low point of the season

Right this moment. The picking apart of the most talented team in the League. A team that were proving you can challenge the depressing inevitability of the English Premier League.

And Cortese leaving – because we all know what is happening now wouldn’t have happened under him. But, by god, what a five year journey it was under Cortese. I feel privileged to have experienced it. Thank you Nicola.

It’s now up to the Southampton board to show their hand. Are they aiming for Champions League? Or are they satisfied with lower/mid-table results? We’ll understand more once we see how ambitious their managerial choice is…

I’ll remember this season for…

The most exciting, raw, talent-filled sporting experience to have witnessed. I can’t overstate how much fun it’s been. Even if it’s now disintegrating.

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