You’d expect any Southampton supporter to be pretty cocky going into this weekend’s game at the Stadium of Light, with only woefully misfiring relegation fodder standing in the way of another good result for slick southerners. Southampton’s season has defied all logic, after the turmoil of last summer, and shocked the supposed Premier League elite. So perhaps we should respect Paul Stewart*, a Saints nut and pal from Paris days and emphatically not the Paul Stewart who missed a sitter for SAFC when we had to win at Wimbledon on the last game of the 1996-97 season, for exercising a degree of restraint in his short and to-the-point ‘Who are You?’ interview. But for once, I was relieved not to see a scoreline prediction …
Saints fans must have been counting the days to this match since the one at St Mary’s ended somewhat decisively in your favour. But did you hear the one about Fraser Forster still thanking his lucky stars he avoided a clear penalty and red card at 2-0? Or would it just have ended 8-1?
Paul Stewart: I was at the match it was only ever going to be an 8 nil thrashing , one way traffic you might say …
When Nigel Adkins was sacked, neutrals thought your club was in the hands of monsters or madmen. Then the departure of Mauricio Pochettino and loss of several star players left pundits certain you’d be bottom all season. So, out of this chaos, what went right, apart from the obvious answer of Robert Koeman?
You’ve heard it before: the set up at Saints is such that yes, it was a shock, the players leaving etc. However the back office is built on a solid foundation, so it was business as usual … #wemarchon
I believe you are still based in Paris but get back for a few games, the 8-0 included. What’s the matchday experience like and how obsessively do you otherwise keep tabs?
Yes I was there. If money was not a problem I’d be at every home game. As it is, I’m on the Twitter feed #saintsfc several times a day. Before that I’d go to an independent site Saints Web; however I prefer Twitter these days …
Apart from all our own goals, especially Vergini’s volley, I recall Pelle, Cork and Tadic from the first game but who else has been responsible for such a great season?
José Fonte, Steven Davies, Ryan Bertrand, Morgan Schneiderlin, Clyney and Pellè … Yoshida not bad either.
How far can Koeman take the Saints and would that be despite or because of the ownership?
As you can see, we’re not too far off the CL spot so right up there I think. However, Katerina L seems to approach future development with slight caution I feel (and rightly so), so sensible investment without being silly is the way forward.
What have been your personal highlights of supporting Southampton?
Would have to be the FA cup final in 76 , and yes i was there at Wembley , twas amazing to say the least …
I suppose the slide through divisions and financial crisis have been your lowest points
Yes I’d say so …
Why not have a go in the prize Guess the Score? Saints fans welcome, too … https://safc.blog/2015/04/the-sunderland-vs-southampton-guess-the-score-after-hull-pile-on-pressure/
And vote in this completely unscientific poll. The Optimism Party is in dire need of some support:
How much did you see of past heroes at the Dell: Shilton, Channon, Keegan, Shearer, Ball, MacDougall, Charlie George? And who is the best you’ve seen in Saints shirt?
I saw most of the above. I loved Tommy Jenkins when I was a wee lad and Terry Paine …
Who should never have been allowed anywhere near the shirt?
Saints once signed a player Ali Dia, I think. He was crap [Wikipedia says he “famously convinced then-manager Graeme Souness that he was the cousin of FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner George Weah” but played only once before being released 14 daysinto his one-month contract – Ed] …
Did you see much of Kevin Phillips or Kenwyne Jones in Southampton colours?
Your thoughts on Sunderland: the club. the fans, the city and region, Dick Advocaat?
Nice club good fans …. Dick Advocaat another Koeman possibly …
Do you think Advocaat can save us and do we actually deserve to be saved?
You deserve to be saved. With DA why not (could be worse)
8-0 apart, any other games between us that stick in the memory, for whatever reason?
Sorry not really.
Your view of diving? That we should all give up complaining and see it as part of the game, or that we should do all we can to stamp it out?
Stamp on it, I really don’t like it ….
One step Saints or the football authorities could take to improve the lot of the ordinary fan?
That would have to be fair pricing and, of course, good in-house facilities catering etc …
I take it this is a trip too far for you. How will you follow it and what will be the score?
I’ll watch on Canal+ (if on), otherwise twitter … [mercifully, perhaps, no score prediction – Ed]
* Paul Stewart on himself: Born in Southampton, first match at the Dell (east stand) in the early 70s with my dad (RIP, but my mother still lives in Southampton). I have been based in Paris since 1994 my current activity is in the world of art (painting, representing and promoting artists). My site is … gallerypaul.com
Interview: Colin Randall