Sunday, 16 March 2008

The Southampton Roller Coaster Ride Continues

Despite appearances the picture on the left is not a roller coaster track. It is an mathematically accurate graph portraying the emotions involved in being a Southampton fan.

For as long as I can remember they have been the masters of unexpected euphoria one minute followed by stunning disappointment the next. Countless times over the years they have beaten - even thrashed - the top teams, only to follow it up with a stunning defeat at the hands of the leagues lesser teams.

Last season we looked like we were languishing in mid-table only for a late run to push us into a play-off spot. From nowhere came a massive wave of optimism - we were on our way back to the promised land (well the Premier League Money Machine anyway). We then contrived to lose our home leg off our play-off only to drag ourselves back into it with a glorious performance away from home, only to shoot themselves in the foot with an own goal and a missed penalty.

This year we were expecting nothing less than the same again - or better. But it hasn't worked out quite like that. Despite a few false dawns we have found ourselves sliding ominously towards a relegation spot. Last Tuesday evening we were at home to relegation rivals Leicester. If things didn't go our way we could have ended up below the dreaded dotted line on the league table. We managed to win, our first in god knows how long - and vital it was too, for all other results went the ways would have preferred them not to. Suddenly things were looking a little more rosy, the new managers ideas were obviously now having an effect and the only way was up. So off they went on Saturday up to Hull, the fans at least in a slightly more confident mood. So what happened? Should have put money on it really, a 5-0 thrashing that apparently flattered us.

With 7 games left the season could now go one of two ways. That latest defeat - the 3rd by 5 goals this season so far - could be the kick up the arse wake up call the players need and spur them on to a few decent performances (or at least a commitment level in excess of 50%) that sees them climbing the table to safety. Or the mental scars of such a defeat immediately after achieving a win could destroy any speck of confidence they had left.

Which way will it go? Who knows, but please note that in that roller coaster picture - I mean graph - you can't see the end !

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