The Joy And The Tears – By Stan Faulkner

Time does fly, especially these last thirty years. It’s the sixth of November 2048 and I’ve just received a Birthday Card from The Queen as I’m 100 today, she must be over 120 herself? I thought after my cup of tea, I would browse through some of my Southampton Football Club books and DVDs. In fact I’ve been trying to read Gabriel Bollond book but every time I try to open it up, it won’t let me do so, for some reason. Earlier i was looking at The Archive Page and saw I never finished off what I started writing, about The Dell, then the opening years at St. Mary’s Stadium, so maybe now, is a good time.

It didn’t start too well for us at St. Mary’s Stadium as we couldn’t get a win for love or money. It wasn’t until the 24th November 2001. until we had our first win at home. Gordon Strachan was the manger by then after Stuart Gray who was only appointed as manager in March 2001-2002. season was sacked on a Sunday evening, with Strachan coming in straight away. His appointment was met with mixed opinions but to be fair, he certainly won over the majority of the fans while he was manager, especially after reaching a FA Cup Final in 2002-2003. season. However his stay as Manager ended, during the following season after Strachan decided to leave, his mind was made up and there was no going back on his part. As soon as that happened, things started to go back downhill, just like the previous seasons.

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With so many managers over the years, they came and went, this trend continued and with the in fighting amongst senior personnel and outsiders buying shares, there became a real battle between Rupert Lowe and an outsider named Michael Wilde, who had become the largest shareholder. All this would do was to cause havoc in our club over a couple of years, resulting in us going into administration and suffering two relegation’s, as well. Another local also bought some shares and to his credit, he did everything he could when he was made Chairman, trying to do, the best he could. Then unbelievably he was then forced out by Lowe and Wilde who teamed up and they then took control of two different parts of The Company, Lowe took over as Chairman of the parent company and Wilde as Chairman of Southampton Football Club. A pair of clowns who eventually brought things to a head? It must be remembered what Crouch did for Southampton Football Club! He personally paid for The Statue Of Ted Bates. to be done again after the original one that was commissioned was a complete disaster. There were stories saying he kept Our Club in existence by paying other Bills. I don’t think he’s ever been given The Thanks and credit he deserves, so I for one, would like to say, Than You Leon!! So much was said about how close we came to going bust, how true this is, will only be known by those who were in the thick of it. To believe rumour and speculation is probably not a good idea but if Markus Liebherr hadn’t of come in and bought us, who knows what might of happened? There are some who will say there were others around in the background ready to step in if needed but if there were, who were they?

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With the old stock leaving and the new ones coming in, everyone was hoping, things would change and quicker the better. The man who was put in charge of running Our Club, was an Italian Banker named Nicholas Cortese. He certainly had his finger on the pulse and certainly kept his promise by getting us back into The Premiership, sooner than what the time was predicted and also winning The Johnstones Paint Trophy on the way! It may of been a minor Cup but it must be remembered, we were in League 1 and trying to rebuild and come back? Cortese was another Chairman who would hire and sack mangers, without a second thought. He was a very single minded man and he knew what he wanted and his record whilst in charge, speaks for itself!The only problem, he was becoming the central figure just like Lowe had been previously. Although Southampton Football Club was going in the right direction, came the news that Cortese suddenly left, amid more rumours and things in the background became once unsettled again.

With the passing of Markus Liebherr his Daughter Katharina Liebherr had become the new owner but after a few years, she felt she would sell eighty per cent of her shares to Jisheng Gao, leaving herself with just twenty per cent. Whilst she was the owner, it must be said, Southampton Football Club bought some very good players but they also sold them on for very huge profits. Was complacency starting to creep in, Did The Recruitment Department think that they would be able to pick up other good players, through Their Magic Black Box at bargain prices and then make more money by selling them on, who knows what they were thinking? For whatever reason, it’s all starting to backfire on Us, with things looking extremely bad. We managed to escape relegation by just three points on The Last Day Of The Season!!

All of s sudden I hear my phone ringing, who can it be. I look around and I realised I had fallen to sleep and I’ve been dreaming, then it turning into a nightmare about Southampton Football Club. No wonder I couldn’t open Gabriel Bollond book because it’s not even out yet. I have just checked the date and it’s the sixth of November 2018! That makes me only seventy and not 100 after all, even though I feel it at times, especially being A Southampton Football Club Fan! I thought those I thirty years had gone rather quickly, after Part One of my piece. Anyway I feel it’s okay to post this on The Saints Archive Page, as I did aged by thirty years in my dream, come nightmare?

Unfortunately, The 2018-2019. hasn’t yet been completed and my dream didn’t reach any further, than where we are now. So we can only wait and imagine what will the outcome be? All signs are showing, it’s going to be another long hard slog. We don’t appear to have any leaders on and off the pitch? Although plenty could be said about Cortese, he did do things and ran Southampton Football Club, with an iron rod!! Unfortunately he thought he was the main man and bigger than our Club, so it was no surprise, when he left? As Leon Burton said, ‘he was ruthless in running our club’ and I think most will agree that the club was moving in the right direction, but everyone concerned, thought the time was right for him to go! We certainly need a man with his business brain but less of the attitude and self importance, he showed whilst in charge at The St. Mary’s Stadium. Trying to Bury The History And Achievements Of Southampton Football Club!!! Past Managers And Players. We want a leader at the very top who will take our Club, by the scruff of the neck and turn our Club around!! Give respect to The Supporters, The City And to all those Past Players who did and gave so much and still do to Southampton Football Club! To look at the way our Recruitment is being run, as this drastically needs sorting out and get answers from those responsible in how there has been so many mistakes made, over recent years, without it seems, being accountable? They should be kicked out and replaced by others, who can get us back in order! It’s obvious that the people we have there, are simply not doing what they are expected to do? They are responsible for finding the playing staff, along with choosing The Managers too! They are falling short on both counts, so surely that is failure and failure in other Businesses would mean The Sack. Krueger, Reed and Wilson or as I call Them, Rag, Tag And Bobtail, ( I’m sure many of you, remember watching this program, back in The Day,) should be shown The Door, there time is up! It’s obvious now, The Club are trying to get players in on the cheap and then their excuse is, we’ve got take in all of the other factors, such as wages etc. well that’s the nature of the beast. If you want to be successful and not to make up the numbers, you’ve got to spend big and not buy on the cheap and then wonder why, we are struggling? The players they bought in The Summer are in out like a Tescos shopper. Only one player is a regular and that is Danny Ings and he is a loan player. Angus Gunn is always on The Bench but being cynical, we must have a goalkeeper as a sub but we don’t really know what he’s like? AFC Bournemouth spent over £25 million pounds on one player, which is more than we have ever spent on one player and other players they have signed are certainly doing The Business. We are supposed to be a bigger Club but I can’t say we are, especially in the playing strength. What’s has happened to Our Academy, where are our future young players coming from? We used to be The Envy Of Clubs everywhere but I don’t think we are now? Its all starting to feel, we are going downhill!

I started off writing by saying it was 2048, how I wish it was and to know what this season would bring instead of going through stress and how the next thirty years will go. To move forward in time and to know before it happened, so we could change things, would be good. But in reality of course, that won’t happen!!

Happy Days To You All From Birthday Boy.

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