Thursday, 2 April 2009
Let Southampton Be a Warning
I remember a New Year's Eve in Southampton. At midnight the air was filled with a terrible dirge, like witches howling with tooth ache. All the ships in the docks were sounding their fog horns to signal the New Year and it sounded like time itself was coming to an end, drowning beneath a mournful hymn to sorrow.
I have a soft spot for the Saints. I was at Uni in Southampton and as a kid traveled up once every season from Yeovil to watch West Ham play at the Dell. Remember Terry Paine, Davies, Channon, Keegan, Stokes, Osgood, Ball, Shearer and co? Remember that Cup Final victory over United? Remember how they were a permanent fixture in the top division?
Today their holding company went into receivership and the club has been placed in the hands of the administrators. If a buyer cannot be found, the club may cease to exist. That would be a travesty, a disaster. Every true fan in the land must hope that the Saints can find a saviour.
But looking beyond Southampton, this all has an uncomfortably familiar ring to it. We are owned by a holding company that is on a stay of execution which runs out in a little over two months' time. If we haven't been sold by then, we could well find ourselves in the same position as Southampton. Major car companies may cease to exist in the coming months, high street clearing banks may yet go to the wall, football clubs are small beer in the circumstances.
I can hear those fog horns wailing as I write. I hope they herald a new year and a prosperous future for both the Saints and ourselves. I hope, but I am by no means certain.