Forever a Saint: Thank you, Rickie

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Most Southampton fans, of my age at least, will cite Matt Le Tissier as their favourite player. Those who are a bit older may say Mick Channon, or maybe even Terry Paine, Ron Davies, Alan Ball or Kevin Keegan. I’m not sure who the kids go for nowadays. And let us not even get started on the long list of Saints players who have left for pastures new and gone on to stardom.

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Six years of hurt.

I remember the moment Saints were relegated from the Premiership. I remember crying in a pub in Wood Green in front of lots of grown men. I remember some Man Uts fans laughing at me. I remember collapsing in the park afterwards and staring at the sky.

I remember us struggling in the Championship. I remember Harry betraying us. I remember able players like Ricardo Fuller leaving any ability the once had at the gates of St. Mary’s.

I remember slipping into administration. I remember the collapsed takeover backed by Matt Le Tiss. I remember our saviour Markus Liebherr saving it all. And I remember him passing away.

But as of today I remember all of this a little less clearly. Because after six years of pain, disappointment and failure to live up to expectations, yesterday we (all but) confirmed our return to the Championship.

And we deserve it – since Nigel Adkins came to us we’ve been brilliant. Lallana has been sensational. Lambert recovered from his slow start to drive our current brilliant run. Barnard’s come good. Harding is a legend. Chamberlain in a super star of the future and we even signed a Brazilan.

Of course, it’s the Premiership return that we crave. But all in good time. Today is a glorious day. COME ON YOU REDS.