Saturday, 31 May 2014

Rickie Lambert: A True Southampton Legend

In life, there will always be setbacks, but if you have the desire and belief to climb the ladder to success, it will come to you. That is the story of outgoing Southampton striker Rickie Lambert who is set to move to his boyhood club, Liverpool. Born in the Kirkby area of the city, Lambert was released by the Reds when he was 15 and has gone on an incredible journey that not even himself could have predicted. However, nobody can take away any of that from a man who never gave a sign of giving up. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Dejan Lovren: An Instant Hit

When a player joins a club from abroad, it is a big decision to make regarding their family, the language and the culture. Some players take longer than usual to settle at their new club, but this is not the case with Southampton’s Dejan Lovren. The Croatian centre-back has been a huge hit with the fans since he joined from Lyon for £8.5 million in June. He scored his first goal for the club in the impressive 1-0 win at Liverpool on Saturday and after the game he tweeted:

When Mauricio Pochettino secured Lovren’s services in the summer, he was getting a defender who has a wealth of experience playing in the Champions League as well as playing in France and Lovren’s native Croatia, all at the age of 23. The highly-rated defender has also played for Croatia from under-17 level to the seniors where he currently has 19 caps for his country, scoring two goals, one of whom in a 2-1 victory over Wales.

Saints fans caught their first sighting on Lovren during the club’s pre-season tours of Spain and Austria where the reaction was very positive. In the games that have mattered so far, Lovren has produced some outstanding performances. Southampton have been crying for a centre-back who is composed and deals with pressure superbly. He is already proving to be a leader in the heart of the defence who is part of the back-line that has the second-best defensive record in the Premier League to date, conceding just two goals. That’s right, two! It’s a very far cry from a year ago as Southampton were leaking goals for fun; an alarming 15 goals conceded after five games back in the Premier League.

Lovren puts in a vital tackle to deny West Brom's Nicholas Anelka
After a difficult time at Lyon with injuries and a fall-out with manager Rémi Garde, Lovren is enjoying his football once again. He couldn’t have had a better Premier League debut at West Brom with a solid performance that even kept veteran Nicholas Anelka at bay. He has developed a very welcoming partnership with José Fonte so far and it’s fair to say that Lovren has increased the Portuguese’s confidence sky high. Their performances against Liverpool on Saturday proved that, along with Lovren scoring the all-important goal that earned Southampton their first win at Anfield since 2003.

Lovren, who co-owns his own clothing company, has already praised the St. Mary’s faithful on Twitter on plenty of occasions, including his amazement at the travelling support at West Brom. From his tweets, everybody can see what a family man he is and certainly enjoys having banter with his team-mates. On the pitch, he will be looking to continue his inspiring form where newly-promoted Crystal Palace are the visitors to St. Mary’s this weekend. With the wealth of experience that Lovren already has, he will certainly give the club a fantastic chance of challenging for a European spot come the end of the season.

With Lovren’s remarkable start to life in England proving to be a popular trend, the Saints fans took to Twitter to express their opinions on the Croatian international: 

@Will_Turner71: “He is the best thing since Michael Svensson. I can’t praise him any higher than that.”

@LukeTaylorTFJ: “A level above what we have. Another Michael Svensson in some sense. Intelligent and composed with a David Luiz esq passing style. And his passion is second to none. A  leader in the making.”

@RussellSFC: “He looks composed on the ball yet solid, a class above. Fonte looks more confident playing next to him too.”

@BradleyyRees: “It’s amazing how introducing just one new centre-back to the back 5 of last season can reduce the goals conceded so drastically.”

@Miss_SaintsFC: “I think the saying ‘cool, calm and collected’ sums him up very well. Just what you need in a defender!”

Even West Brom fan Dan Cannon (@DANWBA125) praised Lovren on his debut at The Hawthorns by tweeting: “On his debut against us, he was superb. Didn’t put a foot wrong, strong in the air and has settled into the PL easily.”

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Week To Remember for Rickie Lambert

There is always a first time for everything as the saying goes and this was certainly the case for Rickie Lambert. The Southampton striker came off the bench to score the winner with his first touch in international football to give England a narrow victory over Scotland at Wembley.

DREAM DEBUT: Rickie Lambert celebrates his winning goal

It has been an unforgettable week for the Liverpudlian as he celebrated the arrival of his daughter, Bella Rose and receiving his first England call-up last Thursday before his dream debut last night. Lambert's goal has now caused a dilemma for England boss Roy Hodgson for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in September and October respectively.

Despite the fact that Andy Carroll or Daniel Sturridge may have got the call ahead of Lambert, last night's performance will not be taken away from the boyhood Liverpool fan. He has the same attributes as Carroll albeit not as quick as the West Ham forward. It was a long-awaited call-up for Lambert as he enjoyed a successful debut season in the Premier League last season with Southampton as he became the joint top English goalscorer in the division along with Frank Lampard.

After the game, Lambert couldn´t hide his delight saying that it was a "dream come true." "It was amazing", said an excited Lambert. "I couldn´t have dreamt for it to have gone any better. I'm over the moon."

"It's [the goal] probably the best header I've headed in my life. I saved it for the right time. It was a terrific ball by Leighton Baines, I managed to lose my marker and he put it exactly where I wanted it."

Released from Liverpool and Blackpool as a teenager, the 31-year-old was awarded a contract with Macclesfield after briefly working in a beetroot factory. Spells at Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers followed until Southampton came calling for his services in 2009 for £1 million when Alan Pardew was in charge. In his four years at St. Mary´s, Lambert has helped the Saints win the Johnstone´s Paint Trophy in 2010 and win back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, scoring 103 goals in 193 appearances.

Lambert was thankful to Roy Hodgson for giving him the opportunity and is now focusing on the start of the new season where Southampton travel to West Brom. "I'm looking forward to it. It´s a hard game, but I'm looking forward to meeting up with the boys and get ready for the next game."

It has been a week to remember for Rickie Lambert. For a player whose career looked very limited to begin with, to come back with the mentality that you need as a footballer or any other athlete is the sign of a man who will always give 100% in every single game. This will not be the last time England fans will see Rickie Lambert in an England shirt.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

#AllIn Or #AllOut?

In the world of football, there are plenty of controversies that always gets millions of fans talking, for example ticket prices and who should be chosen in the starting eleven. Today, the latest controversy to hit the headlines is the new Southampton kits for the upcoming 2013/2014 season and it’s safe to say that there is a divided opinion of both the home and away kits.

THE KITS IN QUESTION: Southampton's 2013/2014 kits

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Saints Open With Trip to the Baggies

Southampton will travel to The Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the 2013/2014 season. The Saints will be looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat by the Baggies on Bonfire Night where a Peter Odemwingie double secured the win for Steve Clarke’s side.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fan Interview: Stoke City

The end is nigh for Southampton’s first season back in the Premier League as it draws to a close later today. It has been a season full of ups and down to say the least. However, the main aim of survival has been achieved so it will count as a successful return to the top flight. Their last game sees the Saints play host to Stoke City who themselves will play Premier League football next season.

Representing Stoke City is Sean Ruane, a.k.a The Hairy Potter. Sean has been following The Potters for 40 years  and has just been voted as the club’s Fan of the Year so we send Sean congratulations for the award!