We all know that feeling, you’ve seen all the papers reporting it and all the pundits are talking about it, but in a day an age, where anyone can have an opinion, who do you trust? Well as a Southampton fan, you can’t get much more reliable than a Simon Peach tweet.
I sat down with the Saints fan, turned Press Association journalist to discuss Arnhem, Koeman and Jason Dodd. Enjoy.
OWTS: How have you rated the season so far? Would you say it’s one foot backwards to take two forward?
SP: No, I wouldn’t. Unlike the previous summer, the change of key players was not particularly smooth. The new additions are starting to settle now, though, and as Ronald Koeman himself has said on a number of occasions – the squad depth is better now. Saints finished seventh last term – they are in the same position right now. That shouldn’t be overlooked.
OWTS: Does it become as tedious being a journalist as it is a fan, when hearing constant gossip around our players/managers futures?
JP: Whether it is good or bad for the club, my job is to cover news impartially so it does not bother me at all.
OWTS: What are your thoughts on Koeman not signing a new deal as of yet? Do you think he will actually look at it at the end of the season, or is he just following the Pochettino route? Will he eventually sign a new deal?
SP: Well, if he is following the Pochettino route he will be off soon! My gut instinct when Koeman arrived was, if successful, he will see out his contract and then leave. Unless Barcelona come knocking in the summer, I suspect this would still be the outcome.
OWTS: Where does Southampton’s future lie? Is this (Our high, mid table status) as good as it gets, or is the CL realistic?
SP: Judging by this season, Champions League is possible if the club uses the increased television money wisely. The temptation to splurge will be heightened this summer, but if Saints can continue their recent sensible purchases then it could work well.
OWTS: How disappointing was it, to get knocked out of all the cups so early this season, especially Europa League.
SP: Everyone at the club will have been disappointed by that. Saints were unlucky to face a Liverpool side at the top of their game in the Capital One Cup, but the FA Cup and Europa League exits could have been avoided.
OWTS: Was the Charlie Austin signing, the best deal of the transfer window?
SP: Yes, in my opinion. A proven top-flight goalscorer, with doubters to confound, priced at just £4million? In this market, that is a great deal.
SP: Can January be viewed as a success?
SP: I think January was successful for the club. Austin was a great acquisition, strengthening an important area, and the club held onto their key players.
OWTS: Has this been the best/most exciting Premier League season ever?
SP: Best? Possibly. Most exciting? Yes. Leicester were tipped to go down by nearly everybody – myself included – and they are leading by five points with 13 matches remaining. It is remarkable.
OWTS: At any point during the club’s poor form, through Nov/Dec, did you think relegation was a realistic possibility?
SP: There were a few concerning displays but there were always three worse teams in the Premier League.
OWTS: Finally Simon, What’s your best memory as a Saints fan?
SP: Tough one. I enjoyed Jason Dodd scoring directly from a corner against Portsmouth, but not as much as seeing Saints beat Watford to reach the FA Cup final earlier in the year. The trip to Arnhem was pretty memorable, too.