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Can Southampton Repeat Last Season's Late Form And Win The FA Cup !
Tuesday, 6th Apr 2021 10:09

Although it was a little delayed, Saints last 9 League games proved to be a late surge that too them from slight lingering thoughts of relegation to the brink of a top 9 finish, can we repeat that form again and perhaps make it our best season ever.

I keep repeating this, but in all my years of supporting Saints and indeed way beyond that, there haven't been that many seasons where we have gone into April with a chance of actually winning something.

That is why when it does come along we should embrace it as we don't know when it will happen again.

Three seasons ago a large proportion of our supporter base declined to go to Wembley as they felt only negativity towards the club, it wasn't that we didn't have the supporter base to fill our allocation, we proved that back in 2010 when we took over 50,000 to Wembley in what is a minor competition.

But in 2018 we took only a little over half of that as many fans had almost convinced themselves that there was nothing good about the club, the hardcore still went as they saw it as what it was, a one off game that could have gone any way and turned an awful season around into a great one.

That mindset continued on until the arrival of Ralph Hassenhuttl and although he still has some doubters he has gone a long way into turning this club around, of course there will be blips as we have just seen with that appalling run, but there were mitigating circumstances and we now seem to be back on track.

Sunday's game against Burnley saw start the day in an almost identical position as we were last summer with 9 games left to go in the Premier League, although of course the lockdown meant we were in June and not March. But 14th place with 34 points was just a single point better off than we were when we started the game at the weekend.

The more cynical will say that we haven't progressed in a year, but that is rubbish, the terrible run has meant that we have gone back to square one in many respects in the League, but as a squad we have improved immensely with three excellent permanent signings last summer and two good loan deals, we are still work in progress, but we have moved forward.

This has been shown by our progress in the FA Cup and we now stand only 90 minutes away from an FA Cup Final, something that has only happened four times in our history and if you want to be pedantic only twice in the last 119 years.

So this is an event not to be sniffed at, some may sit back as they did in 2018 and moan about the Owner, the Manager and individual players, but the truth is that reaching an FA Cup semi Final itself has only previously happened 12 times in Club's history, the first 6 between 1898 & 1927 and the last 6 between 1963 & 2018 and now lets home it is 13th time lucky.

This shows how rare these things are and when we reach one we should grasp the importance of the occasion, especially seeing that these days a real shot at glory is a rare thing.

So can we repeat our late surge of last year and this time go two games more and win the FA Cup.

OK I'm going into dream territory here, but this is my point, what is the point in supporting a football club unless you have dreams and the hope of those dreams coming true !

I support Saints not for the 95% of the time when we are like most club's these days sat in the middle of a league with nothing to play for, but for those times when we can actually see glory ahead of us and are within touching distance.

That is why I could not understand why so many could not be bothered going to Wembley three years ago when twice the number had clamoured for tickets to see the Johnstones Paint Pot Trophy final.

So the next two weeks for me will not be about negativity, I will not be harking on about Nathan Redmond being atrocious or whether Ralph has a plan B, I will be looking forward to an FA Cup semi final and one that we have a chance of winning, perhaps we will lose, but that is nothing new and it is better to get to an FA Cup semi final and lose than not get there at all. It is even better to get to one we can't go to than not at all !

But perhaps we will win and suddenly be the focus for every football fan in the country for a while, perhaps we will remember the Dan N'Lundulu goal that set us on the way against Shrewsbury, perhaps the enthusiasm and excitement will return to those that have lost it and perhaps come May we will have hopes and dreams and songs to sing !

Photo: Action Images



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underweststand added 13:03 - Apr 6
Well done Nick, there's a headline I'd be happy to contribute to...
Saints had an excellent end of season burst after the lockdown last summer. If we can repeat that form , then we can finish in a good top half spot.

Those who carped on about the last Cup round as " only being played against a poor Championship Bournemouth side " should remind themselves that every game has to be won, and more than a few Prem. sides had embarrassing exits against lower league opposition earlier in the competition.
It's an achievement to get to a Semi-final - even if it is only once or twice in a generation. My first FA Cup game was in 1959 against a top tier Blackpool outfit which included a 43 year old fellow named ...Stanley Matthews.
My first Semi Final was 1963 (which those of my generation will recall) ended a superb cup run only to lose a terrible game v. Man Utd at Villa Park. (can watch on you Tube)

Of course 1976 healed a lot of bad memories - but the 2003 Final really was a huge disappointment against a Wenger Arsenal side who really were on top form.
Now we are getting close again ..one match away from the Final. Who can think that the players won't look back on the Wembley game as a highlight in their career, regardless of the result. But getting there is the big achievement, and as in 76.. we see that anything can happen ....in a Cup Final.



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SanMarco added 14:15 - Apr 6
Win the cup and in terms of our league position (whatever that is) it is logical to say 'best season ever'. We will all, I am sure, agree once the cup is won. The same applied in the Chelsea season, even relegation (a very real possibility) would not have changed that (statistically if not emotionally). The difference is that we might win the cup this time. Of course unlikely with Man City around but possible. When we played Chelsea morale was rock bottom and we knew we would lose. We started playing once we had lost but it is rewriting history to say we had a chance. The attendance at Wembley reflected that. I didnt go because I couldnt face more misery. If that makes me a second-rate fan then so be it...
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claus5 added 16:26 - Apr 6
Well said Nick, never understood those that stayed away last time? I always go with the hope we might just win, same this time. Only wish we could go to cheer the boys on to HOPEFULLY a victory!
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KriSaint added 18:14 - Apr 6
Having been a Saints supporter since January 1980 I really look forward to the semi final against Leicester with hope and optimism. Leicester are under pressure to not f*ck up again and miss a top 4 spot in the league in the season run-in, like they did last season, and, maybe more importantly, they do NOT have any FA-Cup-Trophy-DNA in them. We DO.
All Saints supporters are excited, I hope.
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