Southampton v Barnsley: View From T'Other Side

Last updated : 17 February 2007 By Rob Miles (barnsley Boy)
There's been alot of off the field turmoil at Southampton over the last couple of years. Are things finally starting to settle down now?

It has been an incredible couple of years, with some 50+ players being shipped out the club since relegation (yes, I thought you only needed 16), a new manager, new board and new Chairman. Think what it's going to be like when the really big money kicks in for the Premiership next season and the relegated clubs have to adjust to life in the fizzy pop. With Burley at the helm, a decent squad and a board that spent £7m in pre-season (and ominously nothing in the transfer window), things are much more settled. For now.

Is George Burley the right man to lead you back into the Premiership?

He's the right man for the job, but with the play-offs looking our best shot this season, it will be down to luck and players holding their nerve to see if we can get back up. With the parachute payments ending this year and some established Premiership clubs looking like they are going to come down, there's a feeling of now or never for promotion this season.

Do you miss The Dell?

I do, and so do many other Saints fans. Yes, the new stadium is bigger, better and allows us to compete on a more even keel, but I miss the closeness of the players and the unique character of the place. As the years go by, we're seeing more and more impressive, but identikit stadiums and something of the soul of football has been lost.

If Im honest when Southampton played at Oakwell in the season I wasn't impressed by Gareth Bale at all, is the hype really to be believed and is he worth £10m?

Trust me, the kid is worth every penny. Despite the fact he's our left back, he is the main attacking trust of our team, takes all the free kicks within range and can also defend. He just gets better and better. He's also Wales' youngest ever international and somehow we even kept hold of him during the transfer window.

Who do you see as Barnsley's Keymen?

We'll all be looking out for ex-Saint trainee Brian Howard. His goal record is more than impressive and it's a standard part of our south coast hospitality that all ex-Saints score against us. Given the statistic above, that's a lot of potential goals to ship.

Who should we look out for in the Southampton ranks, Rasiak looks dangerous and scored 2 at Oakwell.

Rasiak has a fantastic goal-scoring record away from home, but a less impressive one at home where his space is restricted. Bale apart, the man to watch out for is Chris Baird, who came through the ranks, had to wait an eternity to get established in the first eleven and is now heading for player of the season. He leaps like a salmon and is calmness personified at the back.

Where do you think Barnsley will finish the season?

It's all looking very tight down the bottom, as it is at the top. Hopefully you can squeeze above the relegation zone.

Score Prediction?

I'm going for 2-1 to Saints, with that man Howard doing the inevitable with the last kick of the game, after a Bale free-kick to convert you to the cause.

My Reply to Chris' Questions

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