Southampton midfielder Jason Puncheon has been given a second bite of the dust at the club after a disciplinary meeting with chairman Nicola Cortese. The 25-year-old publicly criticised Cortese on the social networking site Twitter to establish his views on his current situation at the club. Since then, the slate has been wiped clean between the pair and Puncheon vows to get the Saints back to the Premier League. “When I signed here I said that within the three-and-a-half years on my contract that I wanted to get this club promoted to the Premier League. That has always been the case and I will do everything I can to make that happen this season.”
|IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jason Puncheon|
Last weekend, the former MK Dons and Plymouth winger tweeted angrily about having to train with the youth and reserve players at the Staplewood training ground. Puncheon's tweets included:
@jasonpunch: Nicola is some Lil hater KMT
@jasonpunch: I'm not going no where gonna sit an train with the reserves/kids for 18months see how cortese likes that then go on free
@jasonpunch: Most of u fail to understand that only reason I train with the kids is cos of nicolina not the manager
Understandably, Puncheon's tweets sparked fury with Saints fans on Twitter who showed their disgust at the midfielder. Signed by Alan Pardew two years ago, Puncheon was part of the team who almost caught Huddersfield Town for the remaining play-off spot of the 2009/2010 season however current manager Nigel Adkins was unimpressed with his performances which left the winger no choice but to seek first team football elsewhere on loan.
Over the past 18 months, Puncheon has been on loan at Blackpool, Millwall and QPR respectively with mixed results. He first went to Millwall on an emergency loan deal in November where he scored a hat-trick in his first appearance against Middlesbrough. Blackpool was to be Puncheon’s next destination where he joined on loan last January. Despite scoring three goals in his time in the north-west, he couldn’t help the Tangerines prevent beating Premier League relegation. He then joined Premier League boys Queens Park Rangers in August where he found his chances limited at the west London club only making two appearances.
|Jason Puncheon on loan at Blackpool|
Today has seen a remarkable turn around between Puncheon and Cortese who all Saints fans know that he doesn't take this type of behaviour lightly. The pair held a private meeting where Puncheon apologised for his actions which has now solved the uncertainty about his future with the Saints. "Thankfully Nicola is a forgiving person who has the Club's interests at heart, he has told me that the slate has been wiped clean and I can have a fresh start. He wants me to do the things I am good at, and it is down to me now to go and do that on the pitch." Puncheon realises that he made the mistake of tweeting furiously however he is keen to get the fans back on his once more. "I know that I have a point to prove, and I know that some supporters have been on my back for the way I have behaved in the past. I can only put that right through my performances on the pitch and showing that I am committed to Southampton Football Club." After the news was announced, Puncheon tweeted:
@jasonpunch: Very happy man right now..thankful that everything is sorted..now let's get to the Premier League COYS
The reaction from the Saints fans on Twitter was definitely a sense of shock and this is their views on Puncheon's reprieve:
@rickyroyl: glad he is back could be like a new signing COYR
@BrandonTaylor93: very good, don't really think he did anything wrong (apart from the tweets) Decent player when he wants to be #saintsfc
@Radders69uk: Im glad @jasonpunch is back, if the Don and NA can get over whatever it was, so should the fans. #saintsfc #punchisback
@NTLPOOLE: He still is and always will be a turd but if he plays then I'm fine with it! Don't have to like the person!
@mrjames66: I don't know if Leopards change their spots, but if there are no more signings this window then lets use him to our advantage
@GaryBoyt: Puncheon has a lot of bridges to build so let's hope the only talking he does now is on the pitch #COYR
@Rob_McGrattan: I think this could be like a new signing for #saintsfc. Hopefully he will knuckle down and show us what he is made of #COYR
Personally, I think that Jason Puncheon is really lucky to be given a new start in his Saints career after his tweets at the weekend. For a player that most Saints fans may consider that he has a bad attitude including myself, it would have been more likely if Puncheon was kicked out of the club however Nicola Cortese has a really generous heart. Football is full of controversy and no doubt this is one of those situations however he needs to justify his words by doing what he does best on the pitch as actions are louder than words. Let's just hope it works out for both parties in the long term and that Puncheon can rebuild his association with the fans.