With seven games left to go, it still feels a litttle bit surreal that a club of Southampton’s stature, after the turbulent summer we endured last year, could genuinely be in with a chance of hosting European football next season.
Mad, isn’t it? But we should be proud that we are in the position in the first place. Personally, I feel as if we’ve given a lot of pundits and rival fans a bloody nose this season. The people who gleefully wrote us off in August have taken a temporary break (they’ll be back this summer when Morgan Schniederlin and Nathaniel Clyne leave), and I feel that there is almost a resentment there, especially amongst fans of the Big Six clubs, that we have been able to give them a hard time this season. After all, with our well thought-out future-proofing strategy, our investment in youth, and our acouting strategy, who are we to have the right to compete?
Personally, I’d take careful investment and growth over spending 30 million to borrow a 29 year-old with bad knees for a season, so I wouldn’t worry about us, Manchester United fans.
Despite all this, wee cannot be allowed to regress into hubris and the reductionist mentality that we as fans can be guilty of.
Yes, we are acheiving great things regardless this season. Yes, when you look where we are compared to five seasons ago, it shows great progression. But in football, it’s not about where you’ve been, it’s where you’re going.
We need to push on. We need to expect more. We need European football if we are to continue to grow.
Today’s game against Hull is a golden opportunity. So let’s cheer the team on to Europe, but let’s also be dissappointed if we don’t get there at the end of the season. We as a club have this opportunity in our hands – like it or not, it is our fault if we don’t make it.
That expectation is there – we cant deny that. And the best way we can play our part is by getting behind the team until the final whistle on the final day of this season.
Now is not the time for post-mortems or celebrations. Now is the time to get behind the team (all of them), and do your bit. Scream encouragement at the top of your lungs. Sing. Clap. Cheer.
And yes – get behind the big guy. He needs it more than ever.