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The Play Off's ! Thank God We Aren't In Them !
The Play Off's ! Thank God We Aren't In Them !
Friday, 4th May 2012 11:20

Over the next couple of weeks Saints fans can sit back and watch the fans of four other teams go through hell and think there but for the grace of god go I.

It seems an age ago now, but it has been only five years since we endured the hearbreak of the Championship play off's ourselves, in those five intervening years we have squeezed in so much despair and triumph that it all seems a lot longer ago now.

Back in 2007 on this very weekend we beat Southend at home 4-1 to sneak into the sixth play off spot and face Derby County, the first let at St Mary's saw Gareth Bale kicked off the park and a 1-0 defeat, whilst the away leg saw 6,000 Saints supporters watch a patched up team win 3-2 only to cruelly go out on penalties, history is often changed with the kick of a football, for Southampton that night in the pouring rain of Pride Park it surely was.

This years four teams are West Ham, Cardiff, Birmingham and Blackpool, so just who would Saints fans want to accompany them and Reading up to the top flight.

West Ham who in the first of the play off games went to Cardiff and won 2-0 would perhaps be the least favourite amongst Saints supporters, partly because of our battle with them this season and their big time charlie connotations, but probably mostly because the first thing we would want to avoid next season is relegation, from this point of view we should perhaps want the least equiped of the four to go up and therefore be more likely to be relegated, the Hammers have gambled big time this season financially, if they dont go up then it could spell hard times, if they do then they will have the money and infostructure to re establish themselves in the Premier.

Cardiff have never been a favourite of mine, a shame because I know some great Cardiff supporters, but in general their hostility to all things English when you visit there and the fact that Dave Jones was their manager has meant i have always been a little biased against them, a shame because they do perhaps out of the four, deserve a shot at the top league.

Blackpool has a lot of reasons why we should want to see them promoted, but virtually all of them are outweighed by one, that one being Ian Holloway, his outburst when we beat them in the FA Cup in January 2011 will never be forgotten by Saints fans, of course "who the F8ck is laughing now" is reserved for Pompey, but if someone else deserves a quick chorus sung at him its the odious Holloway, who fits to the tee the balanced personality of having a chip on both shoulders.

That leaves just Birmingham, it pains me to say, but out of the four they are the ones I could just about stomach joining us, again there are plenty of things to dislike about them, but adding it all up they perhaps have a little less odious qualities than the other three, though its a close run thing to say the least and I would much rather have seen Middlesbrough and Hull in the play offs than any two from the four that are.

So we Saints supporters can now sit back and watch the thrills and spills, the face paint, the jesters hats and the tears flowing, usually from a face painted jester hat wearing plum plank bulb, who is attending his fourth game of the season due to a abnormal number of weddings/birthdays/funerals/christenings/barmitzvahs that have sadly occurred on about 43 occasions when he could have been watching his club.

Photo: Action Images



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Whatsforpud added 12:07 - May 4
Leaving aside any prejudices, I believe the fans are the most important feature of any club. If that is the case, West Ham have the most support of the four teams, and together with the fact that they were quite a bit ahead of the others in the league, surely derserve to go up. From a saints point of view, you might want one of the others to go up if you think that we would do better against them. On the other hand we did quite well against West Ham.

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andywelsh added 12:26 - May 4
Despite having a few WHU mates I would like to see Blackpool do it. Holloway tells it like he sees it. He might not always see it right, but his football comes from the heart and his team play that way too. We all make mistakes and say things we regret in the heat of the moment and I don't think we should hate Holloway forever for comments made in the past in disappointmen, immediately after a defeat to a lower league team.
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SaintNick added 12:26 - May 4
good points and your right west ham do have the best support, a look at our results shows we didnt win one game away to any of the top seven and only one away win in the top ten which tells you a lot about where we need to improve, we could put the bottom half of the table to the sword, but not the top half, again out of the top ten we only beat five at home
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bstokesaint added 12:29 - May 4
You'd have to say West Ham probably deserve it the most and it's hard to see them not getting to the final and winning that. If I had a favourite I'd go for Birmingham. I also wouldn't mind Blackpool, although I despise Holloway the evil little man.
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ThereIn76 added 12:38 - May 4
We lost the first leg v Derby 1-2 have you forgotten Andrew Surman's left foot screamer that gave us an early lead?
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SingaporeSaint added 12:53 - May 4
I more remember Pele ridiculously giving away a penalty and in the return leg in Derby, Best scoring an OG akin to Cisse's effort the other night.... Painful.. I'm pleased we are not in the play offs... Can't see past West Ham, they are not promoted because they drew too many games but they have not been beaten in months, so I cant see them losing out.. Expect them to beat Birmingham in the final. Interesting that Lambert is quoted in the Telegraph that he couldnt see W Ham making it due to the psychological impact of coming 3rd...
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CovSaint added 13:37 - May 4
From a purely selfish point of view, I'd like to see Birmingham go up - it's an easier away fixture for me to get to next season. I think in reality however, it'll be the Hammers who take the 3rd promotion place. Man for man, they have the best equipped squad and should have gone up automatically - but that's footie for you!
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Saintpaul120 added 15:18 - May 4
Birmingham, Blackpool, Cardiff, West Ham in order of preference. West Ham vs Birmingham final.
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1962saint added 18:21 - May 4
Watching the tension among the fans last night, I was so content that we made automatic promotion on the last day.
After our away performances at Leeds, Blackpool, and Boro I'm not sure we would have fared as well as West Ham. Our away points gathered in the run-in were at Peterborough and C Palace who had both 'hit the wall'. We need to tighten up the defence for next season but I'm sure we will be OK with one or two good signings.
As regards who I prefer to go up from the playoffs, I agree with Nick, don't like any of them. If I was forced to choose I would say Birmingham as Chris Hughton always seems dignified and was complimentary about the Saints.
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