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Southampton Still Not Responding To Chris Nicholl Snub
Wednesday, 13th Mar 2024 09:17

After the death of Southampton legend both as a player and manager Chris Nicholl, Saints supporters were expecting a tribute to the man at the first home game after his sad passing, yet although his former clubs did honour Chris, Southampton didn't and the silence is deafening.

The death of Chris Nicholl a couple of weeks ago saw Southampton supporters united in respect and grief for the man who played for the club for six years and also manged it for the same number of seasons.

The Ugly Inside covered his career at The Dell in depth in our article RIP Chris Nicholl A True Southampton Legend where as well as covering his time at Saints in depth, we also paid tribute to him.

Most Southampton fans were expecting Chris to be honoured at the next home game, indeed two of his former clubs Aston Villa from whom he joined Saints and Walsall where he later played and was also a coach after he left The Dell paid homage to him.

So perhaps it was only natural that Southampton the club he served longest as a player and a manager and for whom he played the most games, should be doing something, even if it was just a minutes silence.

Perhaps the club was planning to do something in the home game against Preston North End, but as we know that game was called off, so a full house at St Mary's for the Sunderland game arrived expecting to pay tribute.

But there was nothing, no acknowledgement on the big screens and no call for a minutes silence for a club legend or even a minutes applause.

Naturally there was uproar on Saints fans social media, many supporters both older who had seen Chris play or watched the teams he managed were joined by younger fans to whom he was in many respects just a name in the history books, but who knew the his contribution, united in uproar at the club's faux pas.

I have waited before commenting, I wanted to give the club a chance to recognise it's mistake and rectify it, I thought surely they will be quick to apologise and announce that they would be honouring Chris at the home game against Middlesbrough, but the silence coming from the club is deafening.

This is unforgivable, in fact this is a bigger crime than actually failing to honour him in the first place, that was bad enough, but could perhaps be excused due to the issues surrounding the Preston game, but after being reminded by the supporters of their error, to not respond and offer an apology just shows crass arrogance and a complete and utter ignorance of the club's traditions, legends and indeed supporters.

Southampton FC will perhaps be hiding behind the excuse that they only honour the departed players and supporters on one day a year, "All Saints Day" in the Autumn, that they can't be doing minute's silences etc every game and I understand that, but this is a genuine club legend, not only a long serving player, but also one of it's longest serving managers.

But perhaps this is just that a poor excuse, after all did we not have a tribute to Terry Venables earlier in the season, Venables had no connections to this club, yes he had been an England manager and a big media character, but he had won nothing for England and indeed was not a popular figure amongst Saints fans, being the man who snubbed Mathew Le Tissier for the 1996 Euros and also for a brief while was Chairman at Portsmouth.

So if the club can pay tribute to someone who as a player had just two trophies to his name during his career and as a Manager in England won even less for either club or country, but ignore a man who gave 12 years of his life as a player or manager to Southampton FC, there is nothing badly wrong behind the scenes at St Mary's

I don't blame Sport Republic here, at least not directly, it is those who are involved with the day to day running of the club who are to blame, they do not seem to understand anything about this club, it's traditions, it's history and more importantly not only the supporters, but the community in which the club resides and is a big part of.

It has been mooted that there should be a spontaneous minutes applause in the 77th minute of the game against Middlesbrough, my first thoughts are that this would be fitting, it is a true tribute by the fans and the 77th minute not only recognises Chris's age when he died, but also the year that he first arrived at the Dell as a player, 1977.

But on another hand this could be a risky strategy, it is open to disruption, if something major is happening in the 77th minute of the game, a goal at either end or other major incidents in the game, it could be a problem in that it would kill the tribute stone dead.

If there has to be a fan led tribute do it before the game, perhaps during the minute when the captains meet in the middle for the toss up, when there is nothing to disrupt it or even at half time.

better still the club could react and deal with the situation and arrange an official tribute that all fans would know about and take part in.

So I would implore the club to wake up and read the situation, they are not the Royal Family who "Never complain, Never Explain" they are the custodians of an institution that will celebrate it's 140th birthday next year, those who are responsible for this situation have not been at the club long, but that is no excuse, if they weren't aware of the high esteem that Chris Nicholl was held by the club's supporters, then surely they are now, they need to get their heads out of the sand and show they know what they are doing, as mentioned this is not Sport Republic who are not directly running the club day to day.

The CEO of Southampton FC is Phil Parsons and it is him and his team who have to bear responsibility here, if perhaps not for the initial snub, but for their failure to deal with the situation quickly and not let it fester and right what is a terrible wrong !

I would hope that by the end of this week that Phil Parsons will have shown he can lead from the front and also that in his short time at the club he has learned just what makes this football club the very special thing it is to not just it's supporters but also those that live in the surrounding community.

Photo: Action Images

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saintmark1976 added 10:28 - Mar 13
As I posted three days ago on the Forum section Nick:-

“ I doubt that the pimply faced 12 year olds running the Club’s P R have any idea who Chris was.Hence no tribute”.

What should they do now to retrieve the situation ? Perhaps inviting Chris’s widow and family to the next home game to make an appearance in the Directors Box to be applauded.

A1079 added 13:17 - Mar 13
I emailed the club Nick after the match on Saturday and thus far no response. I don't particularly seek a personal response but I was hoping that they would recognise their gross error of judgement and that by now they would have sent out something from the club. There was a certain irony that on Monday that they recognised Nigel Adkins birthday. I have no problem with recognising Nigel Adkins who I have always admired but compare that to a man who played for us, managed us and has paid in his health as a result of the sport he loved. Deeply disappointed with Southampton FC on this.

redwight added 14:33 - Mar 13
I was very surprised there was no tribute at SMS on Saturday, but surprise turned to embarrassment when I saw what took place at Villa Park on MOTD. Shameful.

A1079 added 17:39 - Mar 13
May be we the fans should take the bull by the horns (and show the club up a bit) and around the ground we hold up banners with images or the name of Chris Nicholl as the players come out and then break out into applause just before they kick off. Mind you, I am suggesting this, I have no idea how to implement or encourage this.

I suppose there is a chance that the club may still do something for the Middlesbro' game but for every day that they have said and continue to say or do nothing the more insulting it becomes.

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