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Only 3 Days To The Opening Day At Palace ! But It Doesn't Feel Like It !
Wednesday, 9th Sep 2020 09:50

This summer has been a strange one and this coming season has crept up on us almost unnoticed, but here we are only 3 days away from the start of the season and it doesn't feel like it !

Perhaps it is the fact that with games being played behind closed doors, perhaps it is the fact that we appear to have had only one first team friendly, perhaps it is the fact that our one New new signing Mohammed Salisu has been kept completely under raps with no official unveiling or perhaps it is the fact that because of the sponsorship issue very vew replica shirts were sold so even if we go out we don't see them around, but it doesn't feel like like the football season is only 3 days away !

It is almost like we are watching from afar, as if we are looking at the fortunes of say Feyenoord as a second team, there is no interraction, we haven't had the chance to see a match and many of haven't had the chance to discuss the forthcoming season in person with friends, work colleagues or just the man on the bus, train or down the pub or the fact that we can't put down in our calendars exactly were we will be for most weekends between September and May.

We have had to live much of the last 6 months in isolation in differing levels and footbal now just seems an extension of that, as if we are living in some futurist society in the 23rd century, we are detached from what used to be normal life and that includes Southampton Football Club

But the fact still remains that we are about to start the 2020/21 Premier League season at Crystal Palace on Saturday and ironically due to the fact that all games will be shown live in September, more Saints fans will watch this game live and indeed any of the first three than would have if times were normal and 2,500 or so of us would have packed out the away section at Selhurst Park.

Personally I have never been so apathetic about the start of a football season , there has been no build up no excitement, normally there would have been hone calls galore about what train we were getting to Selhurst Park, who was meeting up where and what pub we were going to, now nothing.

Likewise for the Spurs game, plans would be being made for pre and after match drinks and we would all be buzzing.

But this year there is non of that, the club has made a couple of signings, the first Kyle Walker-Peters doesn't feel new even though his total game time for the club in front of fans is 73 minutes on his debut against Burnley, so most of our fanbase have not seen him play, we have all watched him on TV.

Strangely aside from an initial announcement that he has signed, there has been no big unveiling of Mohammed Salisu, no pictures of him holding the shirt and no news of him returning from his quarantine and joining his team mates at training, there has been a picture on twitter of him at Staplewood so presumably he is doing just that, but the club are not creating any excitement or a buzz.

Al the news is about when fans might return to the stadium, nothing is about the now, drumming up enthusiasm, I know it is hard for the club to do that as they are unable to sell shirts as we mentioned and they are unable to trot out members of the squad for various signing sessions or for that matter even let the fans in for a pre season friendly.

But the fact is Saints themselves or at least their PR department seem to be drifting into the start of the season rather than trying to build up enthusiasm in the supporter base.

My first ever start to the season was in 1972, a year earlier I had never been to the Dell, but in 71/72 season I was converted and i therefore looked forward to the game against Brian Clough's then League Champions Derby County with real enthusiasm, it has been something that has never left me, at least until now.

I know that many supporters of all clubs feel the same, I often joke that the happiest 3 hours of any year have always been the ones before kick off on the opening day, in that time you are optimistic and hopeful, you sit in the pub with your mates and talk of top 10 finishes and a cup final being achievable, it is a happy time, Ok usually 45 minutes after kick off you are stood in the toilet at whatever ground we have been playing at ,surrounded by former fellow optimists all saying the same thing " It's going to be a hard year" or words to that effect.

But this year there will be none of that, perhaps as Saturday draws near the excitement will build, but where will the buzz start from, maybe I am a little more detached than most because I have worked from home since lockdown, I don't interact with many other Saints fans face to face, i have to rely on the Dog to discuss Saints with, that is depressing in itself in that if you ask him what the season will be like for Saints, he always says "Rough"

So how does everyone else feel, not about what sort of season Saints will have, for once there is plenty of cause for optimism there, but how your pre season is going, do you feel a sense of detachment and will it be permanent or will you get that buzz once we can get back into St Mary's

Photo: Action Images

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HoustonSaint added 11:54 - Sep 9
I am more optimistic for this season than the last couple of years, so looking forward to it. Still need another signing in midfield, but hopeful for a better start this year if we can keep up the form from the end of last season.

WestSussexSaint added 13:37 - Sep 9
On Salisu, Martin Semmens is quoted as suggesting the player is unlikely to be ready for the start of the season. I think this is largely a fitness issue due to the high levels required by Ralph’s pressing tactics. I expect the team running out at Palace will be the same as the one that ended last season.

Like HoustonSaint I have a better feeling about the start of this season than the past few years but we will see on Saturday. It’s the hope that kills you!

schatfield added 16:19 - Sep 9
I am very excited for the new season, and very happy with the squad right now. I dont necessarily agree we need another midfielder; we already had options before PEH left and still do. This squad is settled and motivated it appears and I feel a solid top 10 is in order.

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