Hierarchy on the South Coast Explained

With today’s announcement of pre-season friendlies for Saints at both Bournemouth and Brighton, the usual ‘banter’ broke out on Social Media about South Coast supremacy.

It got me thinking. The relationships between the clubs on the South Coast are complicated and have a completely different outlook depended on which beach you choose to sunbathe. I thought I would write this blog post as a way of explaining to outsiders of our beautiful coastal wonderland just how relationships work and I thought I would do this through the medium of the popular kid’s TV show ‘Game of Thrones’.

If you’ve not seen Game of Thrones, it is about several houses of people living within close proximity in the fantasy realm of Westeros and relationships are strained to say the least…..

So where do the clubs of the South Coast sit in terms of hierarchy? I think this should clear it up.

I’ll start at the bottom.

Pompey. Pompey are Theon Greyjoy. To start with he was prosperous, but it was on the back of another house’s fortune. While things were going well his dick was well and truly overused and now it’s been cut off. At his lowest ebb now and the least threat of the entire kingdom. Fancies his sister. Hates the Lannisters.

Brighton. Brighton are House Tully. They’re in it, but no one really knows why. Slightly detached geographically from the rest and with little to no role to play in the grand scheme of things. Hates the Lannisters.

Bournemouth. Bournemouth are House Stark. Plucky, everyone’s favourite but ultimately toothless. Hates the Lannisters.

Southampton. Southampton are House Lannister. Hated by everybody else but without doubt the top dog. Sitting on the Iron Throne they draw venom from all of their neighbours.

Of course like the TV show, this is all stuff and nonsense but if that doesn’t clear it up then hopefully this helpful graphic will.

Red = Hate Purple = Indifference/Like Yellow = Mutual respect in hating the 'Scummers'

Red = Hate
Purple = Indifference/Like
Yellow = Mutual respect in hating the ‘Scummers’

 

Chris

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Good Friday, Very Good Saturday…

Now I’m not a religious man, I consider myself a man of science and logic, but when you support a club that was formed from a young men’s church association, their ground is called St. Mary’s, their nickname is the Saints, were graced for a years by ‘Le God’ and now they even have a ‘Holy Goalie’, you begin to wonder if divine intervention has ever helped our cause.

Holy Goalie - Good with crosses.

Holy Goalie – Good with crosses.

The Easter weekend is upon us, and Saints welcome European Champions Chelsea to St. Mary’s and it got me thinking. The Easter bank holiday fixtures are a tradition in English football and with Saints christian links, surely this is a fruitful time of year for the club?

And, actually, it is.

I had a look at Saints Easter weekend fixtures over the last 10 seasons (please don’t research their Easter results prior to this period, they are very dull and irrelevant) and found quite a remarkable success rate.

Saints record since the 02/03 season on Easter Weekend actually reads:- P – 10 W – 7 D – 2 L – 1 Pts – 23 GF – 17 GA – 9. You actually have to go as far back as 2004 to find the only defeat, a 1-3 reverse at Middlesbrough. Two of Boro’s goals came from devout Catholics Juninho and Massimo Maccarone. Coincidence?

Last season Saints hosted bitter rivals Pompey on Easter weekend, which accounts for one of the two draws, David Norris stealing a point deep into injury time. Religious people tell me that ‘God moves in mysterious ways’, and there wasn’t much more mysterious than that.

BS

Billy, shall I put a picture of Norris’ goal in?

In the previous season, Saints fans will remember Jose Fonte’s winner at the Withdean, and then Saints made it a 6 point double header with victory over Hartlepool in the same weekend. What’s that readers? That means that in one of the previous seasons we can’t have had an Easter weekend fixture? That’s right we didn’t, 2005/05 the Premier League relegation season. Punishment for having Judas Iscariot himself at the helm? (One of Judas’s main weaknesses seemed to be money (John 12:4–6).)

Fonte christens the net.

Fonte christens the net.

So are Rafa Benitez’ Chelsea ready to be crucified tomorrow? Are we going to see the second coming of the messiah (in my mind this will be presented to us in the form of a Guly do Prado finish)? Can Saints peform a miracle?

Who knows, with God as our co-pilot anything can happen and probably will.

Happy Easter to all of our readers from everyone at georgeweahscousin.com!

Chris

Played For Both: Saints & R’s

Firstly I apologise for the lack of Newcastle team, I ran out of time. I did have a final XI, but I think it could be improved on, so I am going to save it for another time.

I have managed to beat any time delays and present you a QPR side. It’s pretty poor, and up there for worst team so far. But anyway here it is…

654672_SouthamptonGoalkeeper

Paul Jones

Welshman Jones, joined Saints in 1997, following namesake Dave from Stockport County. He installed himself as first choice and went on to make nearly 200 appearances for the club before being displaced by Antti Niemi. He became the first goalkeeper in FA Cup history to come off the bench in a final when Niemi was injured in 2003, and gained 50 Welsh caps. He had a loan spell at Liverpool in 2004 before re-joining his first club Wolves after seven years as a Saint. He played for Watford and Millwall before joining QPR in 2006. He played 26 times for the R’s before heading into non-league football and retirement.

Paul Jones

Paul Jones

Defender

Fitz Hall

‘One Size’ only left Loftus Road this past summer having spent four season’s at the club and falling out of favour with Mark Hughes. Hall played the best part of 100 games for Rangers having signed in 2008. Previously had one season at St. Mary’s in 2003/04 but failed to nail down a starting position. Now playing for Watford, Hall also made the Saints v Latics side.

Fitz Hall

Fitz Hall

Defender

Neil Ruddock

Larger than life (in more ways than one) Londoner Ruddock joined Saints in 1989, having started his career at Spurs and then with Millwall. He was a firm favourite with the fans at The Dell, with his ‘no nonsense’ defensive style, bags of character and the ability to put a penalty away (though it was a couple of misses that led to Le Tissier being put on pens). He rejoined Spurs in 1992 and played a season there before moving to Liverpool. He headed to Loftus Road for a loan spell in 1998 before playing for West Ham, Crystal Palace and Swindon Town. He is now forging a career on the reality television circuit!

Neil_Ruddock

Defender

Mark Dennis

The original ‘Psycho’ Londoner Dennis began his career with Birmingham City, before moving to The Dell in 1983. Dennis was and still a highly popular figure amongst Saints fans, who appreciated his combatant style of play. Despite numerous sending’s off and suspensions, Dennis played over 120 times for Saints and made into ‘cult hero’ status, for his antics on and off the pitch. Dennis signed for QPR in 1987, having fallen out with Saints boss Chris Nicholl, he stayed a season at Loftus Road playing just over 20 times. Dennis then moved to Crystal Palace before retiring in 1990. Now the Director of Football at Winchester City.

Mark Dennis

Mark Dennis

Midfield

Nigel Quashie

Perhaps one of the biggest victims of Saints disastrous 2004/05 campaign, Quashie is often unfairly described by Saints fans despite some decent and certainly committed performances. Quashie began his career with QPR in 1995, staying three seasons before moving to Nottingham Forest. He stayed in the East Midlands until 2000 when he joined Portsmouth and became a key figure for the club as they rose to the Premier League. In January 2005 he crossed the divide, and followed Harry Redknapp to Saints. Quashie captained the side and led from the front, but the club were relegated, and he subsequently moved to West Brom the following January. Since 2007 Quashie has played for West Ham, MK Dons, Wolves and QPR again before heading to Iceland where he currently plays for BÍ/Bolungarvík.

The only way is up.... Oh wait...

The only way is up…. Oh wait…

Midfield

Inigo Idiakez

Spaniard Idiakez arrived in England with Derby County in 2004 having forged a career in La Liga with Real Sociedad, Oveido and Rayo Vallecano. He played at Pride Park for two seasons, building an impressive reputation as an attacking midfielder. When George Burley took over at Saints in 2005 it didn’t take him long to go back to former club Derby for Idiakez and Gregorz Rasiak. The Spaniard couldn’t quite recreate his Derby level performances and ended up going on loan to QPR in March 2007, he stayed at Loftus Road a month and was back in the Saints side on his return. Ironically he missed the decisive penalty to send his former club Derby to the final in the 2006/07 Championship playoffs. Rejoined George Burley as his assistant at Apollon Limassol in 2011.

Inigo Idiakez

Inigo Idiakez

Winger

Jason Puncheon

Current Saints winger Puncheon has had a turbulent time at St. Mary’s, having gone from zero to hero in his two years at the club. He signed for Saints in January 2010 from Plymouth having played for MK Dons and Barnet as well as the Devon side. He made an immediate impact to the Saints side, but soon took exception to being dropped for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. During his fall out with the management of the club he had loan spells with Millwall, Blackpool and then Premier League QPR but he couldn’t seal a permanent move away from St. Mary’s. Puncheon swallowed his pride, returned and has been one of Saints best performers this season in the Premier League, scoring in the reverse fixture with QPR earlier in the season. Saints fans are now sweating on him being offered a new contract!

Puncheon silences Loftus Road

Puncheon silences Loftus Road

Winger

Frank Saul

Essex forward Saul played for hometown club Canvey Island as a youth before signing for Spurs in 1960. Saul started his career at White Hart Lane in style, as part of the 60/61 double winners and went on to make well over 110 appearances for the North London side, before they used him as part of the deal to sign Martin Chivers from Saints. His career never took off at Saints, scoring just two goals in 46 appearances and he moved back to London and QPR in 1970. He scored four goals for the R’s and ended his career at Millwall.

Frank_Saul

Forward

Iain Dowie

Dowie started his career playing for various non-league clubs before being spotted by Luton Town in 1988. He spent three seasons with the Hatters before earning a move to West Ham. Things didn’t quite go to plan at Upton Park and Dowie joined Saints in September 1991. The Northern Ireland forward had four seasons at the Dell scoring 30 goals. He was sold to Palace in January 1995 and only stayed until the end of the season, returning to West Ham. He signed for QPR in 1998 and ended up playing in defence. He had a brief spell as caretaker manager at Loftus Road in 1998, and was given the job permanently ten years later in 2008, but lasted just 15 games.

Iain Dowie

Iain Dowie

Forward

Peter Crouch

Many expected Crouch to make a return to Loftus Road this January and link up with Harry Redknapp again but it wasn’t to be. Crouch’s career effectively took off when he signed for QPR in 2000 from Spurs. His performances for the R’s in the 2000/01 season saw Pompey pay £1.5 million for him, and his season at Fratton park earned him a big money move to Aston Villa. Something didn’t go to plan at Villa and he was labelled a flop, lasting just two seasons before heading to St. Mary’s. Crouch was a revelation for Saints, but his goals couldn’t keel them up and he was on the move again in 2005, heading to Liverpool for £7 million. He lasted three seasons at Anfield and subsequently played for both Pompey and Spurs again, and now Stoke City.

The only way is up... Oh wait...

The only way is up… Oh wait…

Forward

Dexter Blackstock

Blackstock was signed from Oxford United and put into the Saints Academy in 2003 when he was 17. He was given a baptism of fire in the 2004/05 season starting games during an injury crisis. Blackstock did well and even got on the scoresheet in the local derby against Portsmouth, but as other strikers were brought in, his chances became limited and he moved to QPR in 2006. Blackstock had three seasons at Loftus Road, before heading to Nottingham Forest where he still plays now.

Dexter Blackstock

Dexter Blackstock

So there it is, probably not the best team you are ever likely to see, or one that will play particularly nice football, but with Puncheon crossing for the three big lads up front there is goals in it!

Chris

Our 2nd Birthday!

Blow me readers! georgeweahscousin.com is two years old!

In the same time as it has taken me to write 157 posts of inane drivel, viewed over 170,000 times, Saint have been promoted twice and changed managers. The first game after the birth of this site was a goalless draw away at Hartlepool and it turns two on the back of a 3-1 victory over the champions of England!

For those of you that remember, I celebrated last year’s first birthday with the inaugural ‘Ali Dia award for services to Southampton’ to midfielder Oscar Gobern, and this year is no exception. This award is presented to someone who has done something that has caught the eye in a Saints shirt.

After hours of discussion amongst the jury (myself, Ali Dia, Federico Arias and Agustin Delgado) we are delighted to announce that this year winner is:- Billy Sharp.

Sharp was considered a worthy winner of this award after shushing our poor relations down the road at St. Mary’s at the back end of last season. Congratulations Billy!

Billy Sharp Shush

Shhhhhhharp!

Thanks to everyone who has read the blog over the last year, and here is to another!

Chris

As featured on NewsNow: Southampton FC news

Nigel Adkins: A Tribute

It was the 12th September 2010, there was nothing out of the ordinary about the day, but little did we know that our journey as Saints supporters was about to change  forever. He was tanned, he wore spectacles and his silvery brown hair was waxed into a quiff. Most Saints fans knew little of who he was or what he stood for. Some were bemused as to why this chirpy Scouser with the permanent smile was being given the reigns at our club. His record was that of a lower league manager who could get teams promoted but also relegated again. Was this a ‘big’ enough appointment for Saints?

Soon, the results started to come, and those who had been furious at the removal of Alan Pardew started to come round. Not only were Saints starting to win, they were doing it with a panache, a team spirit and a belief young Saints fans had never previously experienced.

Nigel Adkins was no longer a stranger, and his vision and his passion was inspiring us all. That permanent smile became infectious, his enthusiasm and almost exclusive positivity were worn like an armour in the face of any (though there were few) adversity. We had a team, a team that worked for each other, that stood ‘together as one’ and excited an often melancholy Saints crowd.

It took us a while to get used to it. We were too long perennial losers to find success too comfortable, but Adkins achieved it. His effect on our fanbase probably surpasses that of any other manager, certainly in my lifetime, and the strength of feeling shown at his dismissal will surely offer him some comfort.

na_smile

It is usually the supporters who end a managers tenure. Not this time. This is the last thing we wanted. It feels like we have lost a relative, a friend and a leader all at the same time.

This has been two and a half of the best seasons in my time as a Saints supporter, and perhaps the only time I went into every game believing we could win.

I am sure Nigel will walk straight into another job, and he will be a success. He is a winner, a believer and perhaps a dreamer, but most importantly at all he is a gentleman and a note left for the players at the training ground said it all.

‘Keep Smiling

Have faith & belief that you are doing the right thing.

Keep looking to improve

:-)’

Right back at you Nige.

Thank you Nigel Adkins. Thank you ‘the man in the glass’. You will go down in Saints history as a legend. Time to draw a blue line under it, move on, and control the controllables.

Chris

As featured on NewsNow: Southampton FC news

Saints & Villains: Played For Both

This is a brand new feature for georgeweahscousin.com, so hopefully it will be a welcome change! All feedback is of course appreciated!

I have decided to come up with a starting XI of players that have featured for both clubs in the build up to a game. They won’t always be the most popular or the most famous, they may have never had much of an impact at one or either of the clubs, but hopefully they will be the most interesting.

So here goes with the first ever ‘Played for Both’ XI for today’s visit to Aston Villa.

team

Goalkeeper

John Burridge

The man of a million (33) clubs, ‘Budgy’ made brief stops at both Villa Park in the mid-seventies and The Dell in the late-eighties, making just over 60 appearances for both clubs.

John Burridge

John Burridge

Right Back

Stephen O’Halloran

The Republic of Ireland international came to Saints on loan from Villa in 2008 with talk of fantastic potential. He made one appearance from the bench. He was awful. Saints fans will not be surprised to hear that he now plays for Nuneaton Town.

Stephen O'Halloran

Stephen O’Halloran

Centre Back

Chris Nicholl

Highly regarded at both clubs, Nicholl made over 200 appearances for Villa between 1972 and 1977  including two League Cup final wins (check out his goal in the 1977 replay with Everton) before becoming part of one of the best Saints teams of all time between 1977 and 1983. Went on to manage Saints from 1986 – 1991.

Chris Nicholl

Chris Nicholl

Left Back

Stuart Gray

Gray signed for Saints in 1991 having spent the previous four seasons at Villa Park. Gray was considered good business for Saints, but injury hampered his time at the Dell and he was restricted to just 12 appearances in two seasons. Later had a disastrous spell as manager of Saints.

Stuart Gray

Stuart Gray

Defensive Midfield

Lew Chatterley

Local Birmingham boy Chatterley fulfilled his dreams when he signed for the club he supported in 1960. He stayed at Villa Park until 1971. It was in ’71 where he met Lawrie McMenemy for the first time at Doncaster Rovers. He followed McMenemy to Grimsby Town and then Southampton in 1974. He had one season as a Saints player before returning in ’79 as McMenemy’s assistant. He had a five year break from the Dell when he followed his friend to Sunderland in 1985, but returned in 1990 and stayed until 1996 occupying various backroom roles from youth development officer to assistant manager to Alan Ball.

Lew Chatterley

Lew Chatterley

Right Midfield

Mark Walters

Winger Walters was another Birmingham native who joined Villa as an apprentice. He spent seven years at Villa Park from 1980 – 1987 and was a European Super Cup winner before becoming a pioneer for black players in Scottish football, joining Graeme Souness’ English revolution at Rangers. Signed for Saints 1996 and despite showing flashes of brilliance was clearly at the tail end of his career.

Mark Walters

Mark Walters

Centre Midfield

Andy Townsend

Townsend got his big break from non-league football when he was signed by Lawrie McMenemy for Saints in 1985. He spent three years at the Dell before joining Villa in 1993 via Norwich and Chelsea. He was twice a League Cup winner for Villa in 1994 and 1996 and earned 70 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

Andy Townsend

Andy Townsend

Centre Midfield

Mark Draper

Draper was a big money signing for Villa in 1995 having starred for Leicester City, and was another part of Villa’s 1996 League cup winning team. Saints paid £1.5 million for his signature in 2000 but it was another case of injury plagued disappointment and Draper retired in 2003 having played just 23 times for the club. He is now the kitman at first club Notts County.

Mark Draper

Mark Draper

Left Midfield

Hassan Kachloul

Moroccan international Kachloul came to England and Southampton in 1998 and became a cult hero at the club. Despite frustrating some fans, he had undoubted skill and ability but often blew hot and cold. He dampened his hero status at Saints somewhat when he left for Villa on a free when his contract expired in 2001. His career never took off at Villa Park and he played for Villa just 22 times. Still one of my favourite ever Saints players.

Hassan Kachloul

Hassan Kachloul

Striker

Paul Rideout

Forward Rideout was brought to Villa Park in 1983 from Swindon Town and he became a regular in the side. It earned him a move to Italy and Bari in 1985. His spell abroad lasted three seasons before Saints brought him back to England. Rideout was a good performer a the Dell and stayed until 1991. Came back to haunt Saints in the famous Tranmere Rovers cup tie in 2001.

Paul Rideout

Paul Rideout

Striker

Kevin Phillips

Perhaps a disappointment for both clubs Phillips signed for Saints in 2003 and stayed until relegation in 2005, despite a decent goal return he was never a fans favourite at St. Mary’s and joined Villa in the summer after demotion. He never found his feet at Villa and only lasted one season. Will be fondly remembered for scoring the winner for Saints against Pompey in 2004 and for Villa against Birmingham in 2005.

Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips

So that’s that, a mixture of successes and failures at one club or both! There are some who didn’t make the lineup, Peter Crouch and current Saint Steven Davis for example but I was looking for the cult and the obscure!

Hope you enjoyed it!

Chris

As featured on NewsNow: Southampton FC news

The Three Year Swing….

28th November 2009.

Portsmouth were 20th in the Premier League.

Southampton were 20th in League One.

43 teams separated these great rivals.

28th November 2012.

Southampton are 18th in the Premier League.

Portsmouth are 20th in League One.

45 teams separate these great rivals.

A role reversal of immense proportions as their fortunes almost mirror each other perfectly. What does the future hold? Who knows.

Of that 2009 Premier League table, Birmingham City, Burnley, Blackburn, Hull, Bolton and Wolves are also now absent (is it me or does the league look a hell of a lot stronger now?).

Things can change so fast in football! That is why you must always take advantage of the ascendancies! I noticed some of the teams that now sit between us that were of particular interest:-

Chris

As featured on NewsNow: Southampton FC news

Happy St. Markus Day!

On the 8th July 2009, Saints were rescued by Markus Liebherr, we started the 2009/10 season at the foot of the League One table on -10 points. Just three years later we await our return to the Premier League this coming season.

Thank you Markus. R.I.P.

Happy St. Markus Day.

Chris

Southampton FC – End of Term Report

So here is the georgeweahscousin.com end of season review.

We decided to go with a slightly different format than most….

Student:- Southampton Football Club

School:- nPower Championship

Year:- 11/12

Art

Generally, Saints style was fluid and attractive, particular highlights were the games against Middlesbrough and Birmingham. However, when hanging round with the boys at the other end of the class, Saints had a habit of dropping to their level. They also found it hard to maintain a good standard of work during practical examinations. B.

English

Nigel Adkins, again provided the season with some useful soundbytes. While Dean Hammond let the side down with horrific use of profanity live in front of a full assembly. C.

French

Morgan Schneiderlin was one of the season’s stand out performers, deservedly winning “Most Improved Player” in the gwc.com awards. His confident playmaking from central midfield was sorely missed when he had a spell on the sidelines. A.

Geography

One of Saints weakest subjects. Taking 36 points from a possible 69, Saints away form so often looked like it could be their undoing. Must do better next year. D.

History

Nigel Adkins tenure as Saints boss has seen record breaking as an almost weekly occurrence. Saints completed their longest streak of league wins in a row in August (10) and home league wins in a row in November (19). Saints ended the season by breaking their attendance record too, 32,363 people watched Saints beat Coventry and secure promotion to the Premier League. A.

Home Economics

Superb. Losing just three games all season at St. Mary’s, Saints home form was top of the class. Taking 52 points from a possible 69 and boasting a staggering +31 goal difference, Saints showed that fortress St. Mary’s is a difficult place to come for any team. A+.

A grade season for the Saints!

Mathematics

Towards the end of the season, mathematics played a crucial part. Saints managed to make final day with an equation so difficult for West Ham to solve, promotion was still in their hands. P = (S(pvCC) ≥ (WHU(pvHC). B.

Music

Creativity really shone through during the tribulations of another pupil…. Sha la la la la la…. C.

Physical Education

One of the stand out pupils in this subject. Fitness so often saw other teams bullied into submission. Saints losing only one game in which they scored first. Notable mentions for Billy Sharp – Wrestling, Adam Lallana – Watersports, Guly do Prado – Maverick Samba Dance. A.

Religious Studies

Saints found their way to the promised land of the Premier League with the help of several Gods and some divine intervention at Elland Road. B.

Science

Nigel Adkins theory that “it’s about winning games of football” was put into practice and was a resounding success. In 26 out of 46 (56.5%) cases studied, it was found that winning equated to a better league placing. Biology – Physical specimens such as Jos Hooiveld (size) and Steve de Ridder (pace) showed great effort for the team, contributing to much success. Chemistry – Breathtaking link up play at times between full-backs, midfield, Lallana, Lambert, Guly and Sharp. Physics – Rickie Lambert defied the laws of Physics on more than one occasion with a staggering record of getting a spherical (changed from cylindrical, as pointed out by several eagle eyed readers. E grade for me. – Chris)  object into a guarded net with numerous variables. A.

Attendance

With an average of 26,419 Saints had the second best attendance of all pupils at home, and an average of 2,390 on the road, the third best of all pupils away. Notably, scoring considerably higher than “The bestest fans in the world” on both counts. B.

Behaviour

Generally behaviour was acceptable. Some boisterousness when arguing with the posh Berkshire head boy and the rough cockney troublemaker. Ongoing arguments with nearest neighbour. We’ve had to separate them. C+.

Overall

It has been a very good term for Southampton FC. Surprising many with their performance, it is with upmost confidence that they will go into the higher school next year. With continued improvement and application, Saints should find the step up challenging yet rewarding! A.

So that is our alternative view of the past season!

If you enjoyed this post or any other on the site, why not vote for us in the “Best Club Specific Blog” category of the Football Blogging Awards?

Simply vote for us on the facebook poll:- https://www.facebook.com/questions/376225389081150/

or tweet the following:- @TheFBAs @crstig #Club

Your continued support is always appreciated!

Chris

Norris Wins The Derby And Other Tall Stories…

So the second and last South Coast derby of the season came round this Saturday and unlike the previous incarnation the dubious yet clever title ‘El Clasicoast’ was far more fitting this time round.

Of course, both sets of fans completely out-sung each other again, neither hearing a peep out of the other “until they scored” but on the pitch a better example of a rip roaring rivals clash you will struggle to find.

Flying tackles and handbags were the order of the day for the first twenty minutes as both sides tried to impose themselves physically on the occasion, and it was soon clear that the form book and league table were going to be irrelevant to the final outcome.

It was Saints that drew first metaphorical blood (Schneiderlin was the first physical victim), when Billy Sharp smartly finished after Rickie Lambert (Was he even playing? Japed my Pompey chums after the game.) cushioned the ball down from a corner.

It didn’t take Pompey long to get back level though, Chris Maguire hitting a screamer to silence the already silent home fans.

Level at the break and neither side could have many complaints, Michael Appleton perhaps the happier boss, his tactical decisions working well to stifle the potent Saints attack.

Who got the final touch?

After the break, it was Pompey that came out of the blocks quickest, but Saints rode the storm and took control for a decent period. Jamie Ashdown then kept the scores level with great saves from Lallana and Fonte respectively.

Lallana was then viciously taken down in the box by Ashdown when clean through as Saints pressed.

Eventually though it was another corner that undid the visitors, Billy Sharp again getting on the end of it. Then it was given offside. Then it wasn’t. I am reliably informed by fans of both sides that it was definitely on and offside.

“Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over….. It is n… Oh wait.”

Four minutes into stoppage time, how much of which was added on due to some of the over zealous celebrations only the ref will know, David Norris volleyed the scores level at 2-2 to seal the victory for Portsmouth and take all three points back along the M27.

Amongst the celebrations Ricardo Rocha intentionally tried to kill a fan by smashing the ball into the crowd and seemingly all memory of the game was lost. Of course, both teams deserved to win, both are crap and Saints certainly will/won’t get promoted and Pompey obviously will/won’t survive.

In a true show of neighbourly spirit though, the fans of Southampton lined the streets to wave off the 3,033 Pompey fans and one traumatised local journalist, shaking and tightly clutching his bag of sweets as they rode their victory bubble back to Fratton…..

To end this on a serious note, it was a fantastic game, a great spectacle and a fair result. It might be the last one for a long time. Let’s hope it isn’t the last one ever.

Chris