Saturday, 8 November 2014

Quick to cuss, yet not so quick to compliment...

I have to admit, I have a lot of time for what is going on at St. Mary's Stadium; and not just because they play in red and white!

The football fan in me will always root for the underdog - unless they're Anderlecht - and as cheesy as it sounds, one of the smaller boys going up against the so called top tier of the Premier League will always make me smile.

Many tipped Southampton to struggle this season after losing Mauricio Pochettino to Spurs; Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert to Liverpool, and Luke Shaw to Manchester United. Funnily enough, it was the second time in a matter of months that people were predicting their fall from grace after Nicola Cortese left his throne at the club.

As we regularly see in the UK, we're ridiculously quick to knock people when they're down and I often sense some take a little too much pleasure in predicting the worst.

And while I don't expect them to finish in the top four, it's completely logical to see them bettering last season's best ever Premier League finish of eighth.

I see a lot of people eating their words and praising the continuity set by the likes of Les Reed and the way he has made the start of Ronald Koeman's tenure easier. You can also see a lot of complimentary comments about the players - new and old - who have dealt with the change of manager well.

But funnily enough, I can't recall seeing any credit - at all - being given to owner Katharina Liebherr. This is the same woman who inherited the club when her father passed away. The same person whose agenda was immediately questioned; along with her knowledge of business and football.

Liebherr admitted she wasn't the world's biggest football fan, but that doesn't make her stupid or ignorant. She's an intelligent businesswoman who has grown up in a world where running big organisations are the norm. She was probably balancing books while I was singing along to Top of the Pops!

When she took over at the club following Cortese's departure, the [football] world - media AND fans - was up in arms. One article in the Daily Mail basically ripped her and her intentions to shreds, with the journalist who wrote it and a Saints fan suggesting this would end with the club spontaneously combusting. Or something like that... *

As we've seen at many clubs you can't predict the future. But while we're sharing out the applause, shouldn't we be tipping our hat to the person who actually made it all possible?

I honestly don't know if it was her gender, nationality or lack of love for football that was the biggest issue for the doubters but a quick search will show that most of those in the know, never thought she would oversee this current rise at the club.

For someone who didn't know anything about football, she seems to be doing a frigging good job. Which makes you think; maybe it isn't as hard as they all make out. Maybe with a solid business knowledge, a good team around you and some, whisper it quietly, common sense; you can maintain, build and run a club in the right way.

I've made my feelings clear on the authorities 'Fit and Proper Person Test' on previous occasions and nothing has changes when I look at the weekly drama that continues to bestow Leeds United. I really do suspect that the question that carries the most weight is: Do you like football?

If we pretend that is true for a second, then the Saints fans wouldn't be watching the best football they've seen since the days of their legend Matt Le Tissier. Someone who has been welcomed back to the club with open arms, since Cortese left. Not to mention the members of the press who had their childish bans lifted...

And lets not forget, all the players that were going to leave along with their faithful leader. From what I see, the only players that left were the ones deemed they chose to sell. As we saw with the Morgan Schneiderlin to Tottenham situation, the club had no intention of selling those they wanted to keep.

So next time you are cheering Southampton on when they beat your local rivals; continue to praise Koeman but don't ignore the woman who employed him. When you're cheering Schneiderlin because he picked up his toys and put them back in the pram, think about the owner who made sure her manager has the squad he wants.

Stop for a minute, and save the biggest and loudest applause for Katharina Liebherr, because without her, would the club be sitting in second? Thankfully for Southampton's fans, we will never know.

* Some other articles discussing Cortese resigning and Liebherr taking over.
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