Friday, 25 February 2011

The Fall and Rise of (?) Southampton Football Club Part 2

After countless renditions from fans of “Swing Lowe, Swing Rupert Lowe, Hanging from the Itchen bridge”, the chairman finally stood down from his position.  Numerous bids to buy the club failed, including the Pinnacle Group, fronted by Matt Le Tissier, who even made an exclusivity payment of £500,000, before Swiss billionaire Markus Liebherr stepped in.

Markus Liebherr, owner of the Mali Group and with an estimated personal wealth of £5billion, purchased the club on 8th July 2009.  The club’s debt was immediately wiped off and significant investment into the team was made.  Nicola Cortese was unveiled as chairman, with Alan Pardew brought in as manager and Rickie Lambert was purchased for £1million from Bristol Rovers.  He was to make a huge contribution to the team, scoring 36 goals in his first season at the club.

Despite the difficult start to the season, Saints managed to finish 7th place in the league and also win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final at Wembley.

On 11th August 2010, the club was hit with the tragic news that Markus Liebherr had died at the age of 62 from a heart-related illness.  Following this, the mysterious dismissal of Alan Pardew as manager following a resounding away victory at Bristol Rovers looked set to continue the club’s instability.

The 12th September 2010 saw the appointment of Nigel Adkins as manager.  The storm created by the January transfer window has been weathered with the retention of services of prized assets Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and plans to remove the current ‘Premier League standard’ training facilities in favour of a new £3million development of the club’s foundations have been approved.

15 managers in 10 years at Southampton F.C. gives an indication as to the instability the club has seen in recent times.  With the finances now seemingly secure, a strong chairman in place and a manager with the faith of all the fans behind him, it appears that the club is back on the rise.  All thanks go to Saint Markus Liebherr, a true legend and saviour of the club.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Fall and Rise (?) of Southampton FC Part 1 by Sam Loram

As of Thursday 24th February 2011, Southampton Football Club find themselves 5th place in the Npower League 1 table.  Just a little under 8 years ago, they had placed 8th in the Premier League, runners-up in the F.A. Cup and were to be competing in the UEFA Cup in a shiny new £30million stadium.  So, where did it all go wrong?

After a fairy-tale ending to 103 years of football at the Dell, with club hero Matt Le Tissier scoring a sensational volley to seal a 3-2 victory over Arsenal, the club were to move into the new 32,000 seater St. Mary’s Stadium.  Things started slowly at the new ground but picked up to see Saints finish 11th in the 2001/02 season under the guidance of Gordan Strachan.  Things got even better the following season with an 8th place finish and an F.A. Cup runners-up medal, but this was to be the beginning of a rapid fall from grace for the club.

The 2004/05 season saw a struggling Southampton acquire a certain Harry Redknapp from local rivals Portsmouth.  In addition to this, Rugby World Cup winner Sir Clive Woodward was employed as ‘Technical Director/Performance Director/Director of Football’ on a multi-million pound contract from which no benefit was ever seen.  Despite the big-name investment, Southampton FC were relegated from the Premier League on 15th May 2005 after a total of 27 years in the top flight of English football.  Needless to say things didn’t get any better with Harry Redknapp returning to Portsmouth in November of the same year.

After a few seasons of Championship football, Chairman Rupert Lowe’s money-grabbing strategy of selling off the best young players rising from the clubs prestigious academy to line his own pockets caught up with him.  The sales of Wayne Bridge, James Beattie, Kevin Davies, Kenwyne Jones, Andrew Surman, David McGoldrick, Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale came to a total sum of £45million.

With £30million of debt, blamed on the new stadium, on 23rd April 2009 Southampton FC went into administration.  The Football League gave the club the following ultimatum:

“If you stay up this season, you will be deducted 10 points this season [ensuring relegation].”
“If you are relegated this season, you will be deducted 10 points next season.”

The club were relegated that season and therefore, providing they could find a buyer to keep them running, would start the following season on minus 10.

Part 2 coming later this week... 

Sam Loram

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Champions League Video Highlights

Goal highlights:

Lyon 1-1 Real Madrid (Gomis) - SEE IT HERE!

Lyon 0-1 Real Madrid (Benzema) - SEE IT HERE!

FC Copenhagen 0-2 Chelsea (Anelka) - SEE IT HERE!

FC Copenhagen 0-1 Chelsea (Anelka) - SEE IT HERE!


As it happened:

21:52 - Full Time Blackpool 3-1 Tottenham

21:51 - Goal! Blackpool 3-1 Tottenham (Pavlyuchenko)

21:41 - Goal! Blackpool 3-0 Tottenham (Ormerod)

21:40 - Full Time FC Copenhagen 0-2 Chelsea

21:39 - Full Time Lyon 1-1 Real Madrid

21:26 - Goal! Lyon 1-1 Real Madrid (Gomis)

21:17 - Drogba comes on for Anelka. Ancelotti desperate for Torres to get on the scoresheet.

21:15 - So, both away teams winning in the CL. Interesting.

21:09 - Goal! Lyon 0-1 Real Madrid (Benzema)

21:05 - Underway by the way at Blackpool. They lead 2-0 against Tottenham.

21:01 - Is that game, set and match? Chelsea look to be cruising as Anelka doubles their lead.

20:57 - Goal! FC Copenhagen 0-2 Chelsea (Anelka)

20:50 - We are underway in both CL games.

20:48 - Tottenham's top 4 chances are taking a real blow tonight.

20:47 - HT Blackpool 2-0 Tottenham

20:40 - Goal! Blackpool 2-0 Tottenham (Campbell)

20:32 - HT Lyon 0-0 Real Madrid HT FC Copenhagen 0-1 Chelsea

20:30 - The chances keep coming for Chelsea, but only one goal for Carlo Ancelotti's men so far.

20:28 - Very open in Denmark, Chelsea pushing for the killer second away goal.

20:20 - Goal! Blackpool 1-0 Tottenham (Adam Pen)

20:18 - Lyon are by far the better team in France.

20:11 - Things just aren't happening for Fernando Torres at the moment.

20:08 - Chelsea dominating procedings.

20:04 - Great goal from Nicolas Anelka, who runs at goal and slides the ball into the back of the net from 18 yards. First blood Chelsea.

20:03 - Goal! FC Copenhagen 0-1 Chelsea (Anelka)

20:00 - 15 minutes played in both games, no clear cut chances as of yet.

19:53 - First chance for Chelsea, and it falls to Fernando Torres, but his first touch let him down allowing the goalkeeper to smother.

19:52 - Lyon also start lively against Real Madrid

19:50 - This is by no means an easy game for Chelsea. Bright start by their opponents.

19:46 - Both games kick off. Lyon vs Real Madrid and FC Copenhagen vs Chelsea. Come on!

19:42 - Teams in the tunnels at both CL stadiums.

19:40 - Great scenes as FC Copenhagen fans hold up banners as Chelsea fans hold up scarves. Great atmosphere.

19:38 - Don't forget, we will upload video's of any goals in the big games tonight, something you don't get anywhere else.

19:31 - "Drogba payed 2 hours on Saturday so I left him on the bench as Torres and Anelka is fresh" - Carlo Ancelotti.

19:30 - Just under 15 minutes until kick-off.

19:28 - Carlo Ancelotti is under pressure tonight. He needs the likes of Fernando Torres to perform. Carlo has recently stated that "Chelsea aren't dead". Defiant.

19:27 - Former Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkjaer starts for Copenhagen.

19:24 - My prediction for tonight is FC Copenhagen 1-2 Chelsea. Cold cold night in Denmark.

19:19 - Copenhagen come into the game having not played a competitive game for 11 weeks. Tough, tough game for the Danish team tonight.

19:15 - For now, we will concentrate on Chelsea's game at FC Copenhagen. Updates from elsewhere as and when they are required, of course.

19:13 - Big game in the English Premier League taking place from 20:00. It's Blackpool vs Tottenham

19:11 - So, Didier Drogba dropped again. What do you think of this?

19:09 - Champions League full teams are as follows:
Copenhagen: Wiland, Pospech, Jorgensen, Antonsson, Wendt, Bolanos, Kvist, Claudemir, Gronkjaer, Santin, Ndoye. Subs: Christensen, Bengtsson, Kristensen, Zohore, Vingaard, Hooiveld, Delaney.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Drogba, Mikel, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Kalou, McEachran.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Oldenzaal)

Lyon: Lloris, Reveillere, Cris, Lovren, Cissokho, Michel Bastos, Gourcuff, Toulalan, Kallstrom, Delgado, Gomis. Subs: Vercoutre, Gassama, Diakhate, Briand, Pjanic, Gonalons, Pied.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Arbeloa, Di Maria, Alonso, Khedira, Ozil, Ronaldo, Adebayor. Subs: Adan, Kaka, Benzema, Diarra, Granero, Marcelo, Albiol.
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany)

19:05 - Where do I begin? A packed schedule tonight. Our big game is FC Copenhagen vs Chelsea. Domestic action too, so stay with us.

19:02 - If you want to get involved tonight, you can via twitter @SideNettingBlog

19:01 - Some big games tonight. Champions League games are above, watch them live if you wish.

19:00 - Welcome to Football Live on

Champions League Preview

Uefa Champions League Last 16 First Leg

FC Copenhagen vs Chelsea (KO 19:45)
Fernando Torres is expected to make his European debut for the blues tonight, but fellow newcomer David Luiz is cup-tied.
Nicolas Anelka, Jose Bosingwa and Michael Essien all return after missing Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Everton.
Copenhagen, who have not played a game for 2 months because of the winter break, will have former Chelsea favourite Jesper Gronkjaer available to face his old club.
Lyon vs Real Madrid (KO 19:45)
Lisandro Lopez will be missing for Lyon tonight after pulling his hamstring in training.
Bafetimbi Gomis will play the lone striker role, with playmaker Yoann Gourcuff playing just behind him.
Real Madrid have a full strength squad, so manager Jose Mourinho will have the luxury of chosing between Karim Benzema and Emmanuel Adebayor to play upfront.

Monday, 21 February 2011

West Ham vs Burnley Match Report and Video Highlights

West Ham produced a classy display to sweep aside Burnley to reach the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup.

Full Time: West Ham 5-1 Burnley

90 Mins: GOAL! West Ham 5-1 Burnley (Freddie Sears) Watch it here!

71 Mins: GOAL! West Ham 4-1 Burnley (Jay Rodriguez) Watch it here!

59 Mins: GOAL! West Ham 4-0 Burnley (Winston Reid) Watch it here!

50 Mins: GOAL! West Ham 3-0 Burnley (Carlton Cole) Watch it here!

48 Mins: GOAL! West Ham 2-0 Burnley (Carlton Cole) Watch it here!

Half Time: West Ham 1-0 Burnley

23 Mins: GOAL! West Ham 1-0 Burnley (Thomas Hitzlsperger) Watch it here!

West Ham: Green, Reid, Tomkins, Jacobsen, Bridge, Sears, Parker, Noble, Hitzlsperger, Cole, Ba.
Subs: Boffin, Barrera, Boa Morte, Spector, da Costa, Hines, Piquionne.
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Elliott, Cork, Eagles, Marney, Wallace, Rodriguez.
Subs: Jensen, Alexander, Iwelumo, Edgar, Bikey, Easton, Thompson.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)