For the past 72 hours, I’d have hated to have been a Southampton fan. It must have left some fans leaking tears after hearing the rumours that Chairman Nicola Cortese was looking to quit the club, which left many doubting if current manager Mauricio Pochettino would remain in charge. Also rumours also spread that owner Katharina Liebherr may sell the club onto new buyers.
Then yesterday, I heard the news Cortese had indeed resign as Southampton FC chairman, and this really had me feeling sympathy for the Saints fans. It is quite weird for me to say that about Southampton- south-coast rivals with my club, Brighton and Hove Albion. But to see a team move on leaps and bounds in the past few years under the guidance of Cortese, it was going to be difficult for the club to find a successor of the same calibre.
Whilst tucked up in bed yesterday evening listening to Talksport, I found out that the owner herself would take over as Chairman. This confused me quite a bit. She has no clue what it takes to be a chairman of a football club in my eyes. Also on the show, I listened to a co-presenter for the Southampton podcast and it was a fascinating listen. He said the majority of the fans were “concerned” due to the fact they had “no idea which way the club was heading”. He mentioned teams like Hull City and Cardiff who went to the highest bidders when they were up for sale and look how that’s turned out- fans angered about managerial sackings and colour changes at Cardiff, and team name changes at Hull.
Today the media was primarily focused (as was I) on Pochettino, would he stay or would he go? The answer given today was a promising one. He claimed he was focused on staying and completing the ambitions of the club. Also he was adamant no players would be sold. Southampton fans, you can relax a bit more now. Since Pochettino took over from Nigel Adkins, a change which at the time sprung as a confusing decision by Cortese, he has guided the team to ninth in the table at present after finishing fourteenth last term. He has the team playing some lovely football too. Confident passing and lovely link up play offensively, its typically Argentinean philosophy.
The players themselves would have been the next thing. Players like Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert are all key to the success down at St.Marys. If the owner was looking to sell on the club, she may cash in on the key players to make the most profit out of the club before she moved on. That makes the next few weeks crucial for Southampton Football Club. If the players stay and Liebherr commits to the club, things may still look on the bright side for the team. However, if she cashes in and then sells off the south coast club, things may look downhill.
Back when Cortese joined as Chairman of Southampton, they were struggling financially. The team were in League One, and had been deducted 10 points at the start of the campaign for administration regulations. He had an aspiration that Southampton would one day become a Champions League team. Since then, the team under Alan Pardew, Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino, have just been going up and up and up. Back-to-back promotions and then surviving their return to the top flight has recently had fans truly dreaming of the biggest continental competition being played at St.Marys. These aspirations and dreams looked like they could’ve happened at the start of the season when Southampton were sitting third in the table looking like a top side.
Southampton Football club ultimately will either rise or fall, depending on the actions now of Chairwoman and owner Kristina Liebherr. She is the lady holding all the cards towards Southampton’s success, or failure.
What do you think will happen? Will she sell? Will she stay? Where do you see Southampton finishing this season? Why not comment below what you think or alternatively tweet me at @leeham1996 or facebook me at Liam ‘leeham’ Richner.