Thursday, 1 December 2011

Jos The Boss On The Bus For Good!

Championship leaders Southampton have confirmed the permanent signing of defender Jos Hooiveld. The Dutchman joined the Saints on Transfer Deadline Day in August from Scottish giants Celtic on an initial loan deal until January. However Saints have acted quickly to secure his services on a three and a half year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Hooiveld has been a regular figure in the starting eleven for Saints, creating a terrific partnership alongside José Fonte at the heart of defence. With Radhi Jaidi and Danny Seaborne being sidelined with a knee problem and severe head injuries respectively, former Eastleigh defender Aaron Martin was the only other available centre-back for Nigel Adkins. Since Hooiveld first joined, he has impressed significantly on the pitch and has been a popular hit amongst the St. Mary's faithful.

His first match in English football was a sign of what was to come as he started against Nottingham Forest where Rickie Lambert scored a hat-trick to secure a 3-2 win. I attended that match and Hooiveld really impressed me with his passion for getting tackles in and using his 6' 4" stature, he is always keen to get to his head to the ball before the opposing player. Since then, Hooiveld has started every single league game and the Carling Cup tie against Preston for the Saints where he has scored three goals including the all-important winner against West Ham in October.

FLYING HIGH: Hooiveld celebrates his goal against West Ham

It was last month that 28-year-old Hooiveld was considering to stay with the Saints permanently saying he was "very open to staying" when his initial loan deal was to expire in January. After making 15 appearances, the well-travelled defender is the latest addition aboard the Saints bus after former fellow Dutchman Jan-Paul Saeijs had told Hooiveld of his time at St. Mary's.

Hooiveld brings a great deal of experience with him to the Saints squad having played in five different countries in his career. He began in his homeland playing for Heerenveen and Zwolle before switching to Finland to play for Inter Turku where he won the Finnish League and League Cup in 2008. Later that year, Swedish giants AIK Stockholm came calling for his signature and in his first season, Hooiveld won the Swedish League and Cup double in his first season with the club.

In January 2010, Hooiveld joined Celtic for £2m on a three and a half year deal where he was reduced to making two appearances for the rest of the 2010/2011 season because of a thigh injury. Last season, his chances were limited with the Bhoys as he made eight appearances overall in the League and in Europe. Hooiveld was loved by the Celtic fans which Robyn shows in her tweet:

@boabs1888: he sadly was never given the chance up here! He's shown what he is capable of though and on behalf of the #CelticFamily, we wish him all the best!

Copenhagen was to be Hooiveld's next destination as he secured a loan move to the Danish Champions in January of this year. He made 11 league appearances for the club as the retained their title and also played in the Champions League knockout-stages against Chelsea.

The permanent signing of Hooiveld has sparked delight with Saints fans as he has proved to be another great addition to the squad. Here are some of the reactions:

@SBlakeSFC: Excellent news,a great signing by !

@NTLPOOLE: So happy Jos Hooiveld has signed a deal. Get in!

@Moonjuice2001: Great news  a player with great character

@DannySaint1: WE GOT THE BOSS!!! His name is JOS!! Good stuff !!  so glad your permanent mate!!

@saintlala84: Get in!!!!!!!  signs for us!!! Awesome!! We love you Jos!!!:-)

@KellyMauger: Soo Christmas has come early for us  fans! *VeryBigSmileOnMyFace* Welcome Saint Jos!

In my opinion, securing Jos Hooiveld's signature permanently is a fantastic deal for Southampton and it has shown by the reaction amongst the other Saints fans. His performances have been superb in every match and will continue to make a great partnership with José Fonte at the back. Defence has been one of the Saints' disadvantages in recent years however with Jos signed for good, it can become even better!

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