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The rise of Southampton FC

Southampton could be saying goodbye to yet another star. (Via Southampton FC / Twitter)
Roar Pro
17th February, 2015
6
1110 Reads

In the last five years Southampton have impressed every football fan around the world. Their journey from League One to the Premier League has been nothing short of a fairytale.

Their rise in the Premier League has been even more inspiring. Currently, they are in a Champions League spot and if they end the season there, they could look to play in other exotic destinations in Europe.

Let’s take a look back and see how Southampton underwent this amazing transformation.

In 2009, Southampton had been relegated to League One (the old third division) as their parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings, went into administration and the football club received a 10-point deduction.

On July 8, 2009, a German businessman, Markus Liebherr, owner of DMWSL 613 Ltd, bought the ownership rights to Southampton and since then, the club’s luck has changed for the better.

They appointed Alan Pardew as their new manager and missed out on a playoff position by a meagre seven points in 2009-10. However, Southampton did win their first trophy in 34 years when they beat Carlisle United in the Football League Trophy final.

In August 2010, Liebherr passed away, but the club’s future was assured. They soon parted ways with Pardew, and appointed Nigel Adkins as their new first team manager. Nigel Adkins had an immediate impact and guided Southampton to second position in League One, which assured them of automatic promotion to the Championship (old second division) for the following season.

Southampton made an impressive start to their 2011-12 campaign, winning their first four games. They eventually reached top spot in the Championship, but lost the ultimate prize to Reading towards the end of the season. However they still finished second and acquired automatic promotion to the Premier League. Rickie Lambert, who now plays for Liverpool, was their star player and won the Golden Boot with 27 league goals.

Newly introduced into the Premier League after a long gap of seven years, Southampton broke the bank with new signings of striker Jay Rodriguez and midfielder Gaston Ramirez, in addition to six others. However, they did not have an immediate impact and failed to impress.

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In January 2013, Southampton parted ways with Adkins as Mauricio Pochettino replaced him at the helm. The Argentinean made a magnificent start to his Southampton managerial career. With the resources he had, he managed to beat the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea that season. Southampton finished the 2012-13 campaign in 14th place and survived for another season in the Premier League. Things were surely looking good for the Saints.

For their next season in the Premier League, Southampton went on another spending spree. They made new signings including midfielder Victor Wanyama, center back Dejan Lovren and striker Daniel Osvaldo. Southampton showed no signs of second season syndrome and raced up to fourth spot in the Premier League. They ultimately finished the 2013-14 season in eighth, which was their highest finish in the Premier League ever.

Pochettino left the club for Tottenham Hotspurs, after an awe-inspiring one and a half seasons at Southampton.

The Saints soon replaced him with the Dutchman Ronald Koeman to guide them in the 2014-15 season. Southampton also released six star players before the season could start. Lambert, Adam Lallana and Lovren all joined Liverpool for a whopping total of £49 million. Left-back Luke Shaw left for Manchester United for a club record of £27 million and Calum Chambers joined Arsenal for £16 million.

With a total of £92 million received, Southampton then went on a shopping spree, buying Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Fraser Forster, Florin Gardos, Saido Mane, Shane Long and Ryan Bertrand. They also signed Toby Alderweireld on a loan deal from Atletico Madrid.

To say that their signings have been impressive is an understatement. Pelle is in the list of top scorers of the Premier League, scoring eight goals in 25 league games so far. Tadic and Mane have been impressive in midfield. Bertrand, Alderweireld and Forster are a part of the best defence in the league, with Southampton concededing only 17 goals and keeping 12 clean sheets in the 25 league games played so far.

In the January transfer window, they acquired the services of Eljero Elia on a short-term loan from Werder Bremen. Elia has made five Premier League appearances so far and has already scored two goals. He brings in the required width in midfield and also has a goalscoring instinct that many players playing in his position strive to achieve.

Koeman has transformed an above-average Southampton into one of the elite clubs in England. Currently in third spot, Southampton looks set to fight with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool for Champions League next season.

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If things go on the way they are and Koeman does manage to finish in a European qualification spot, it will be a dream come true for all Southampton fans and will surely attract bigger names to the club.

Let us hope that the ‘Saints go marching on’ and become one of Europe’s top football clubs soon.

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