Southampton v Arsenal; two ditches, a wall, Bergkamp, King Alfred, Clausentum, Harry Redknapp (etc)

By Billy the Dog McGraw

Today we are off to Southamptonshire, one of the ceremonial counties of England.  Ceremonial counties have a Lord Lieutenant who is required under the Lieutenancies Act 1997 to play for the local football club, and then be transferred to north London.  Alex Ox, Theo Henry and G the Baleful are recent examples.

The next player in the tradition is a certain Mr Luke Shaw (more details below).  Under the 1997 Act Southamptonshire took over the Isle of Wight which is one of the few places in the UK that has red squirrels.

Southampton city contains 239,729  according to the count I did this morning.  It forms one united conurbation extravagance with Portsmouth, and the two parts of the concur in their hatred of Harry Redknapp, so that’s not such a bad thing.

They also hate each other and both have sunk into administration in recent years, with many honest, decent and reasonable local firms being put into a state of collapse because neither club could manage its money properly.  Yet such is the shamelessness of both clubs that no fulsome apology to all those hurt by the incompetence of the clubs has ever been issued.  (Let us remember that when Woolwich Arsenal FC went into administration in 1910, every single creditor was paid in full by Henry Norris).

Southampton has had people in it since the Stone Age and much of the region has not changed since that time.  It became an outpost of King Alfred the Great’s British Empire, and was known as Clausentum which basically consisted of a wall and two ditches – which is pretty much as it is today.

St Mary’s (which gives the nickname of the Saints to the modern club) was known as Hamwic, when it was full of Saxons.  Then the Vikings attacked and everything would have been fine, and the city could have been the hub of the oil industry if the silly young men had not retreated back to Norway.   As it is much of the city is powered by hot water which rises under pressure.

Sadly trying to guess the team for this evening’s match with Southampton is like trying to guess which root vegetables Dennis Bergkamp will be planting in his allotment at Enfield.

I would imagine there will be some changes – because the game comes so soon after the last one.  Also after such an emphatic win against Newcastle, there is a danger of players thinking it is all done before it is started – rather like my attitude to gardening.

Mr Wenger spoke of the game giving more confidence, and that might happen.  But as was mentioned in the recent Arsenal History Society article celebrating the anniversary of the 0-5 win over Tottenham in 1978, the next thing that happened then was we lost at home to WBA.

Dennis reckons that the two ex-Southampton men – Theo and Alex –  will be in the team and we know the keeper won’t be rotated, so that is three out of 11 sorted.  Unless the Ox hands over to Gervinho, or we try a remarkable forward line of Walcott, Podolksi and Giroud – with Walcott and Giroud taking it in turn to be centre forward.  After all we did it against Newcastle at the end, and it worked a dream.

The problem with the back line against Newcastle was seen with the second and third Newcastle goals – both having Gibbs looking over his shoulder, having been sucked into the middle.  But I can’t see a viable fit replacement at the moment so that leaves the defence looking the same all the way across.

But I can see Francis Coquelin fitting in somewhere.  He is naturally a defensive midfielder, and could give Arteta a break in that position.

All of which brings us back to Luke Shaw, who is moving up the order as an attacking left back at Southampton.  He could be the third player we get from them in recent times – and he will almost certainly play today for Southampton.  If we bought him and he came through the Santos could be moved into a midfield or attacking position, which is where he played in the pre-season games.

Mr Wenger did however say that he would like to sign Wilfried Zaha from Palace striker.  The money is of course there, but it is interesting to note that Barcelona still owe Arsenal money for the sales of Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song.  The delay in payment may have been written into the deal, as a way of jacking the prices up a bit, but what is interesting is that there is a delay at all.  That suggests that the cash flow problems that have dogged Barcelona in recent years and which led to their players not being paid on time two seasons back, are still there.
Now let’s go and find those two ditches and the wall.


The books…

The sites…

25 Replies to “Southampton v Arsenal; two ditches, a wall, Bergkamp, King Alfred, Clausentum, Harry Redknapp (etc)”

  1. What a load of pretentious drivel – that’s two minutes of my life wasted.
    About as meaningful as your youth academy! Never mind there’s always ours you can pilfer from!
    C’mon Saints!!

  2. Very amusing read but I will not allow you to claim we failed to pay our debts after administration. Southampton Only had two debts; an overdraft of £5m with Barclays Bank and a mortgage with Aviva for the new stadium. Both were amicably settled by our new owners. Not one local business was owed money. Southampton and Portsmouth are both on the south coast but that is where the similarity ends. Southampton FC was established by young christian men with high standards and principals and that also applies to our owners the Liebherrs.

    We went into administration in accordance with stock exchange rules as we were a listed company and Barclays would not extend our overdraft.

    Finally you are clearly not aware of the repeal of a number of acts to which you refer and you seem ignorant of the passing of the Liebherr edict in 2009 which basically states that none of our talented young players will ever leave our club again.

  3. When you bought Theo…we were in massive trouble, heading to the 1st Division….when you bought The Ox, we were a Championship side and with his skill and your money we had no choice but to let him go as he was going to be out of contract.

    Luke Shaw…different story, we are in the Premiership, don’t need the money and are buying players for up to £12 million a pop. He is under contract until 2015….we have no desire to sell him and you would have to make a massive offer for it to be considered.

    Beats me why Arsenal do not put an academy as good as our together…? You will have bought Bale too…if you would have been on the ball, i feel that Luke Shaw will be tempted by a bigger club…but under our terms, not yours.

  4. did Barca pay us the money from HENRY sale…..

    Hell BARCA owe us a lot of money. WHAT about FPP? How will BARCA qualify for FPP when they are in debt of ARSENAL????

  5. @Saint in Malta
    ‘About as meaningful as your youth academy!’
    That will be the same academy that produced Fabregas, Wilshire, Gibbs,Scezcny and many more.
    For goodness sake lighten up, it is meant to be ‘tongue in cheek’ and this is an Arsenal site with correspondingly Arsenal slanted views. Happy New Year!

  6. And people moan about City and Manu pilfering our best players but it’s ok when we snatch the best Southampton players. I can imagine how Southampton supporters feel, bit like I do every year we lose our best players to “bigger” clubs.

  7. Rupert, and to make things worse Southampton will not be recognised as Ox & Tw training club that honor goes to us as they spent 3 years between the age of 15-21 at Arsenal.

  8. Rupert, we were hoping you may have made a new year’s resolution to be positive about Arsenal but it seems we are wrong!

  9. @Mick, who are we? Are you royalty?
    Nothing negative about my comment, just an observation on the delightful hypocrisy of football fans.

    @elkieno, not sad at all. I’m not sure why you infer I’m sad from my comment. But I do thank you for your concern.

  10. @Rupert Cook
    ‘We’ are the majority who come on Untold with a usually positive and suportive attitude rather than the pessimistic, always look for the bad side type of comment you seem to favour. I am sorry but in my opinion your comment was meant to be critical and provocative.

  11. @Mick, that’s life. Full of critical and provocative comments. It’s only a blog, take it easy and sup on your festive choice of juice.

  12. An enjoyable article. I expect a tougher match with Southampton this time around, but lets hope for a win.

    Now that the festive season is over I see the rupert has come out of his winter hibernation and has taken up where he left off, by being depressively provocative.

  13. @ Guillaume le Chien,
    In your erudite precis of South Hampton, you missed the point that the place became a warmer replacement for Little Hampton, after the disastrous Winter Olympics there some years before.
    Plus the fact that all the memsahibs in my family have used the city for pre-Christmas retail therapy ever since we and Le Conquerant sorted out Harold along the coast at Hastings.

  14. @ Rupert
    No changes here then. You do realise that you’re setting yourself up for taking the complete blame if we don’t qualify for the next Champions league season (2013/2014), and for forthcoming failure in the FA cup, if Walcott leaves and any other Arsenal related disasters between now & May. Happy new year to you & K.

  15. @jax, I alone am the reason for seven trophyless years. Wishing you a happy new year in the west country.

  16. @jax, surely there’s a blame Gervinho story somewhere. I don’t think in all my years of supporting Arsenal I’ve ever seen such a clueless player. He makes Gus Ceasar look like Maldini.

    Our club is becoming a right joke.

    Never mind the lead piece which will obviously enflame some on here, it’s the comments by a chap called Eduardo that is worrying. Eduardo has some extremely good sources considering what he’s claimed in the past.

  17. @rupert. I think Gilles Grimandi is at fault on some of these signings. He’s the one who’s talent spotting on the continent, and must have seen plenty go Gervinho in Ligue 1. Not sure who recommended Santos and Squillaci, but all three were our worst signings over the past couple of seasons. Read those Eduardo bloke’s comments and didn’t think a lot of them, but I’m a Wenger supporter and want to see him at least complete his contract, but agree he’s lost his touch at spotting rough diamonds. Looks like Walcott is staying now, so that will maybe Saha wont join us now (if he was going to in the first place). Palace are always a good source of talent and Wenger could do worse than looking at the English leagues. That Shaw lad was good against us yesterday and only 17 with premiership experience.

  18. @Jax, Eduardo can be exceedingly annoying but I’ve been visiting Arsenal Times for a good few years now and Eduardo has a very good source considering some of the stuff he’s revealed.

    Wenger needs to stop buying cheap maybes and concentrate on expensive proven quality. Securing fourth this season could well be beyond this team unless we get in some real top top quality.

  19. We will be 3rd or even 2nd despite the mediocrity to which we are currently being subjected. We just need to string along some consistency through 5-6 games (much easier said than done with this side, it’s true).

    Chelsea just dropped 3 points.

    We will have some unexpected wins and it can start this month. COYG!!!

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