How Saints have moved on since relegation to League One, administration and the Micky Fialka incident

MARKUS LIEBHERR

MARKUS LIEBHERR

First published in Sport Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Writer

With Saints on course to match their best ever Premier League finish, a £30m training ground on the way and a team packed full of international stars, it is hard to believe five years ago today the club’s very existence was hanging by a thread.

April 2, 2009, will forever go down as possibly the darkest day in Saints’ long history.

At 10am it was confirmed to the stock exchange that shares in Saints’ parent company had been suspended with Begbies Traynor appointed as the club’s administrator.

Rumours had been rife the day previously, with the Daily Echo front page pre-empting the forthcoming catastrophe. Some may have hoped it was an April Fool’s joke, but it was anything but funny.

Within hours of taking charge, administrator Mark Fry was warning of huge debts and possibly only weeks to save the club.

A state of panic and despair washed over St Mary’s.

For years previously there had been behind the scenes wrangling, changes of chairman and boards and general instability as Saints had slid from one chaos to the next.

With a ten-point deduction about to hit, Mark Wotte had the impossible task of attempting to keep Saints in the Championship.

While their relegation to League One was sealed quickly, it took far longer for the fate of the club to have such a decisive moment.

Saints fans will surely remember the daily drill – checking the papers, every Internet message board or rumour mill to try and establish where the saviour was coming from.

They changed so quickly, with so many groups expressing an initial interest only to fade into the background.

The frontrunners ended up being the Pinnacle consortium, which had Matt Le Tissier on board, as well as Leon Crouch who coughed up the cash to stave off one possible insolvency deadline.

That bought them an exclusivity period to tie up a deal for the club.

At the time that £500,000 was paid, a Swiss consortium sat locked in a lawyer’s office in central London.

Amongst the group round the table was Nicola Cortese, a representative of Markus Liebherr, the Swiss billionaire who wanted to purchase Saints.

They thought they had all but agreed the purchase when the call came to tell them of the Pinnacle exclusivity period. They packed up their bags and went home.

Thankfully, they never let go of the dream of buying Saints.

It made so much sense to them – Liebherr’s visit to the south coast to tour the stadium had left him captivated and enthralled by the prospect.

On top of that it made perfect business sense – the cost of the club, about £14m, was a bargain. It wasn’t going to cost ridiculously more to get it into the Premier League, and then it was worth a fortune. Sure enough time has proved that to be correct with an investment just shy of £60m now producing a club whose value is estimated to be more than £150m.

Pinnacle couldn’t get over the line. The famous Micky Fialka incident – the letting agent who it was suggested still lived with his parents and ended up the butt of so many jokes after appearing on Sky Sports as some sort of financier – soon ended their interest and their credibility.

Liebherr had not gone away though, rather taken a back seat watching goings on.

Indeed Cortese reported that he kept up to date via the Daily Echo website, paying particular attention to the comments section under the stories to see what the fans were saying.

When the news was broken that it was he and his vast fortune behind the Swiss bid there was an obvious clamour for his takeover.

Liebherr noted the fans’ pleas and came to the rescue.

On July 8, it was all over. Liebherr had bought the club.

Just the next day Wotte was sacked, as Cortese started his running of Saints in typically ruthless fashion.

Within a few months Alan Pardew had been appointed as manager and cash had been splashed on improving the squad.

Since then it has been one continuous upward curve.

Though Cortese was said to be frustrated Saints didn’t get promoted from League One in that first season, despite a ten-point deduction, they did bag the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley.

The following season, with Pardew gone and Nigel Adkins now in charge, they did make it out of League One.

Though Liebherr sadly passed away little over a year after the takeover, the club continued to push forward.

With little extra investment they also sailed through the Championship, finishing second place in back-to-back seasons to earn successive promotions.

Just a few years after the very existence of the club was threatened, Saints were back in with the Premier League big boys.

Any thoughts they were to settle for finishing fourth from bottom soon dissipated.

Adkins didn’t last all that long before Mauricio Pochettino was brought in to manage a squad on whom more than £30m had been invested before the big top flight kick off.

Since that day Pochettino has enthralled and captivated the St Mary’s following with an attacking and entertaining brand of football.

Another £30m was spent last summer, while some of the club’s academy products have flourished in the first team.

Even Cortese’s time at the club has run its course, with the executive chairman who seemed to inspire feelings of joy and despair in equal measure, now gone to be replaced with an entirely new board and a fresh approach.

Now, just weeks away from the end of a second top flight season, Saints look like equalling their best ever finish in the Premier League era and potentially have four players going away to play for England in the World Cup.

Five years is not very long by most markers, but you could scarcely believe what has been crammed in at Saints in that period of time.

From quite literally a fear of the club not existing, from bucket collections from the fans outside the ground and employees deferring wages, from Fry warning several times of imminent bankruptcy, to flourishing in the Premier League.

If this was some sort of cosmic April Fool’s joke, at least the punch line has kept Saints fans smiling.

Comments (39)

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8:55am Wed 2 Apr 14

Harrysdog says...

This story is almost exactly mirrored down the road....oh wait, hang on....
This story is almost exactly mirrored down the road....oh wait, hang on.... Harrysdog
  • Score: 26

8:57am Wed 2 Apr 14

Jesus_02 says...

I think we are at another crossroads again....onwards and upwards !

COYRs
I think we are at another crossroads again....onwards and upwards ! COYRs Jesus_02
  • Score: 15

9:02am Wed 2 Apr 14

Seedhouse the Unrepentant says...

Ah Michael Fialka, just think what could have been....

Sha lalalala la
Ah Michael Fialka, just think what could have been.... Sha lalalala la Seedhouse the Unrepentant
  • Score: 17

9:05am Wed 2 Apr 14

el caballo santos101 says...

I will never forget where I was when I heard the news that our great club had been saved. Thank you Nicola you have turned our club around faster then we could ever have imagined. Thank you st Markus you have made our dream come true, you were taken before you're time and weren't with us nearly long enough but you will never be forgotten, your big smile and joy when we won the JPT is indelibly inked in our memories. Thank you katharina you look to be following in you fathers footsteps lets hope you can fulfill your fathers dream of making our club a big player in European football.
US fans have had so much to be thankful for in the last 5 years and its always worth remembering how low we sank and how close we came to not having the club.
I will never forget where I was when I heard the news that our great club had been saved. Thank you Nicola you have turned our club around faster then we could ever have imagined. Thank you st Markus you have made our dream come true, you were taken before you're time and weren't with us nearly long enough but you will never be forgotten, your big smile and joy when we won the JPT is indelibly inked in our memories. Thank you katharina you look to be following in you fathers footsteps lets hope you can fulfill your fathers dream of making our club a big player in European football. US fans have had so much to be thankful for in the last 5 years and its always worth remembering how low we sank and how close we came to not having the club. el caballo santos101
  • Score: 64

9:07am Wed 2 Apr 14

Steady Eddie says...

Good read. As fans, we nearly always forget how close we were to folding.
The legacy of Markus is there for us each day, and we should always remember how far we have progressed in such a short space of time.
Good read. As fans, we nearly always forget how close we were to folding. The legacy of Markus is there for us each day, and we should always remember how far we have progressed in such a short space of time. Steady Eddie
  • Score: 29

9:10am Wed 2 Apr 14

rpjcheney says...

To St Markus, Katharina, Nicola, Mauricio, Nigel, Alan and everyone else who has had a hand in the most amazing five years I have seen as a fan, I just want to say a huge thank you.

I am so proud to be a Saints fan, and to have seen what has been achieved in the last five years, and I cannot wait to see how far we can go in the next five if we hold this special group together.
To St Markus, Katharina, Nicola, Mauricio, Nigel, Alan and everyone else who has had a hand in the most amazing five years I have seen as a fan, I just want to say a huge thank you. I am so proud to be a Saints fan, and to have seen what has been achieved in the last five years, and I cannot wait to see how far we can go in the next five if we hold this special group together. rpjcheney
  • Score: 43

9:14am Wed 2 Apr 14

RED & WHITE..RED & WHITE says...

Portsmuff are u watching ???? Sad skates FOP
Portsmuff are u watching ???? Sad skates FOP RED & WHITE..RED & WHITE
  • Score: 7

9:55am Wed 2 Apr 14

justaSaintsfan says...

July 8th 2009 was the day Markus Liebherr bought Saints. We did not know then that it was the start of wonderful happenings for Southampton FC, its thousands of loyal supporters and even for Markus himself, who quickly became a fellow Saints fan, endearing himself to all us other Saints fans.

For me, July 8th 2009 was the day when my beloved Southampton FC was renewed, almost reborn. Nearly five years have already passed since that day, during which the progress of Saints on and off the pitch has been nothing short of remarkable. There was great joy when the start of Saints' new era was closely followed by the winning of the Johnstones Paint Trophy. Yes, it was not the most important of silverware, but it was importantly Saints' first in their new era. I shall never forget seeing the genuine delight on the face of Markus Liebherr when Saints won the trophy. That was when all Saints fans realised that Markus was truly one of us.

We have had almost five years of great highs, with a few lows along the way. The Liebherr family suffered the very sad, much too early loss of Markus. We Saints fans genuinely shared their grief and we still share it. Markus will always be very affectionately remembered.

We Saints fans were not told the reason for the resignation of Nicola Cortese, but my guess is that perhaps Katharina Liebherr quite rightly informed him that she wanted to make the running of Saints a more normal business, by bringing in a board of directors, perhaps making Nicola Cortese simply feel that made his position untenable. I suspect that Katharina would surely have offered him a seat on the new board, possibly as chairman. The important thing is that it would appear not to be the style of the Liebherr family to get rid of such a well trusted, senior employee, who had obviously done a brilliant job. Nicola Cortese probably thought that installing a board of directors would diminish his power within the football club, so he rightly or wrongly resigned. The Liebherr family and we Saints fans have a lot for which to thank him.

Now we are looking ahead to even more exciting times for our Saints, with their new board of directors. It is wonderful for we Saints fans that Katharina is present at Saints' matches, as was her dad, Saint Markus. Welcome Katharina and thank you for showing that you care. We are already seeing more communication to we fans than there ever was when Nicola Cortese was running the club.

As a life long fan of Saints, I think July 8th 2009 should always be remembered as a very special day in the history of Saints. It was the day when Markus Liebherr bought our beloved Saints, starting something very special to himself, all Saints fans and the people of Southampton. Thank you Saint Markus.
July 8th 2009 was the day Markus Liebherr bought Saints. We did not know then that it was the start of wonderful happenings for Southampton FC, its thousands of loyal supporters and even for Markus himself, who quickly became a fellow Saints fan, endearing himself to all us other Saints fans. For me, July 8th 2009 was the day when my beloved Southampton FC was renewed, almost reborn. Nearly five years have already passed since that day, during which the progress of Saints on and off the pitch has been nothing short of remarkable. There was great joy when the start of Saints' new era was closely followed by the winning of the Johnstones Paint Trophy. Yes, it was not the most important of silverware, but it was importantly Saints' first in their new era. I shall never forget seeing the genuine delight on the face of Markus Liebherr when Saints won the trophy. That was when all Saints fans realised that Markus was truly one of us. We have had almost five years of great highs, with a few lows along the way. The Liebherr family suffered the very sad, much too early loss of Markus. We Saints fans genuinely shared their grief and we still share it. Markus will always be very affectionately remembered. We Saints fans were not told the reason for the resignation of Nicola Cortese, but my guess is that perhaps Katharina Liebherr quite rightly informed him that she wanted to make the running of Saints a more normal business, by bringing in a board of directors, perhaps making Nicola Cortese simply feel that made his position untenable. I suspect that Katharina would surely have offered him a seat on the new board, possibly as chairman. The important thing is that it would appear not to be the style of the Liebherr family to get rid of such a well trusted, senior employee, who had obviously done a brilliant job. Nicola Cortese probably thought that installing a board of directors would diminish his power within the football club, so he rightly or wrongly resigned. The Liebherr family and we Saints fans have a lot for which to thank him. Now we are looking ahead to even more exciting times for our Saints, with their new board of directors. It is wonderful for we Saints fans that Katharina is present at Saints' matches, as was her dad, Saint Markus. Welcome Katharina and thank you for showing that you care. We are already seeing more communication to we fans than there ever was when Nicola Cortese was running the club. As a life long fan of Saints, I think July 8th 2009 should always be remembered as a very special day in the history of Saints. It was the day when Markus Liebherr bought our beloved Saints, starting something very special to himself, all Saints fans and the people of Southampton. Thank you Saint Markus. justaSaintsfan
  • Score: 57

10:10am Wed 2 Apr 14

Beer Monster says...

I always find it quite bizarre how the fortunes at Saints often mirror those of my own - I moved back to Southampton in 2001 after university, perfectly timed to get a season ticket at the newly opened St. Mary's. Two years later I was totally debt free, and went to see Saints play in the FA Cup final at the Millenium Stadium.

Family issues meant that my world was destroyed two years later, and Saints left the top flight for the first time in my life. The ongoing struggle was capitulated in 2009 was I was made redundant shortly after Saints went into administration. I also lost the girl of my dreams; It was a cr@p year.

The rebuilding has been steady since, and though we are not yet at our pinnacle, the future looks very promising indeed - everyone at the club wants to be part of it, and the feel good factor is infectious.

The only annoyance for me is that I'm now in Scotland, but hey, I've met a lovely lass and she likes it down in Hythe where I have my own place, so hopefully I'll be back soon enough with some mini Saints to cheer the lads on.

Thank you to everyone who has made this possible, it's been a fantastic journey so far.
I always find it quite bizarre how the fortunes at Saints often mirror those of my own - I moved back to Southampton in 2001 after university, perfectly timed to get a season ticket at the newly opened St. Mary's. Two years later I was totally debt free, and went to see Saints play in the FA Cup final at the Millenium Stadium. Family issues meant that my world was destroyed two years later, and Saints left the top flight for the first time in my life. The ongoing struggle was capitulated in 2009 was I was made redundant shortly after Saints went into administration. I also lost the girl of my dreams; It was a cr@p year. The rebuilding has been steady since, and though we are not yet at our pinnacle, the future looks very promising indeed - everyone at the club wants to be part of it, and the feel good factor is infectious. The only annoyance for me is that I'm now in Scotland, but hey, I've met a lovely lass and she likes it down in Hythe where I have my own place, so hopefully I'll be back soon enough with some mini Saints to cheer the lads on. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible, it's been a fantastic journey so far. Beer Monster
  • Score: 31

10:18am Wed 2 Apr 14

manchester exiled Saint says...

Sad... but tears in my eyes reading that. I remember well how desperate for news we were being stuck up here in Manchester and relying on the rumour mill and Sky Sports News.

Who the hell was this Markus Liebherr?

Well that as answered. As said above. The picture of his smiling face a Wembley must be one of the images that will be forever etched in the memories of all of us there.

For me its in the same category as Bobby Stokes being carried around on the shoulder of the 76 team.

I think we as fans sometimes forget that as much as we lost him as an owner Katharina lost her father. So coming to St Marys and seeing everything here associated with him must have been so hard for her.

I hope now she realises the genuine love in which his memory is held and when his name is chanted from the stands its not so formula or some mocking of anyone but a mark of that love and respect

We were blessed to have him if only for a short time and I hope Katharina knows how many tens of thousands of people are so grateful to her father and now her for everything they have done for our club.
Sad... but tears in my eyes reading that. I remember well how desperate for news we were being stuck up here in Manchester and relying on the rumour mill and Sky Sports News. Who the hell was this Markus Liebherr? Well that as answered. As said above. The picture of his smiling face a Wembley must be one of the images that will be forever etched in the memories of all of us there. For me its in the same category as Bobby Stokes being carried around on the shoulder of the 76 team. I think we as fans sometimes forget that as much as we lost him as an owner Katharina lost her father. So coming to St Marys and seeing everything here associated with him must have been so hard for her. I hope now she realises the genuine love in which his memory is held and when his name is chanted from the stands its not so formula or some mocking of anyone but a mark of that love and respect We were blessed to have him if only for a short time and I hope Katharina knows how many tens of thousands of people are so grateful to her father and now her for everything they have done for our club. manchester exiled Saint
  • Score: 49

10:20am Wed 2 Apr 14

worried of n e hampshire says...

:-)
:-) worried of n e hampshire
  • Score: 11

10:25am Wed 2 Apr 14

Dasal says...

manchester exiled Saint wrote:
Sad... but tears in my eyes reading that. I remember well how desperate for news we were being stuck up here in Manchester and relying on the rumour mill and Sky Sports News.

Who the hell was this Markus Liebherr?

Well that as answered. As said above. The picture of his smiling face a Wembley must be one of the images that will be forever etched in the memories of all of us there.

For me its in the same category as Bobby Stokes being carried around on the shoulder of the 76 team.

I think we as fans sometimes forget that as much as we lost him as an owner Katharina lost her father. So coming to St Marys and seeing everything here associated with him must have been so hard for her.

I hope now she realises the genuine love in which his memory is held and when his name is chanted from the stands its not so formula or some mocking of anyone but a mark of that love and respect

We were blessed to have him if only for a short time and I hope Katharina knows how many tens of thousands of people are so grateful to her father and now her for everything they have done for our club.
AMEN !!

GREAT POST.
[quote][p][bold]manchester exiled Saint[/bold] wrote: Sad... but tears in my eyes reading that. I remember well how desperate for news we were being stuck up here in Manchester and relying on the rumour mill and Sky Sports News. Who the hell was this Markus Liebherr? Well that as answered. As said above. The picture of his smiling face a Wembley must be one of the images that will be forever etched in the memories of all of us there. For me its in the same category as Bobby Stokes being carried around on the shoulder of the 76 team. I think we as fans sometimes forget that as much as we lost him as an owner Katharina lost her father. So coming to St Marys and seeing everything here associated with him must have been so hard for her. I hope now she realises the genuine love in which his memory is held and when his name is chanted from the stands its not so formula or some mocking of anyone but a mark of that love and respect We were blessed to have him if only for a short time and I hope Katharina knows how many tens of thousands of people are so grateful to her father and now her for everything they have done for our club.[/p][/quote]AMEN !! GREAT POST. Dasal
  • Score: 14

10:56am Wed 2 Apr 14

pompeythesinkingship says...

Absolutely agree on everything that has been said ..without our savior we wouldn't be anywhere and right now If the scenario was to be with us just surviving on scraps we could be playing them down the road this weekend we could of been 84th team in the country instead of the 8th we are now gladly thats all ifs and buts ..we are entirely greatful to saint Marcus he is one of us his memory lives on n on ..I do wish he came sooner but I probably echo what every one else will say .. now we have a board I can only see us get stronger n stronger I do believe that Raulf kruger will make this club achieve the ultimate goal he is a winner already this year and I do hope he is as strong as corteses in terms of keeping our players and pochettino and instead of 8th we could be no 1
Absolutely agree on everything that has been said ..without our savior we wouldn't be anywhere and right now If the scenario was to be with us just surviving on scraps we could be playing them down the road this weekend we could of been 84th team in the country instead of the 8th we are now gladly thats all ifs and buts ..we are entirely greatful to saint Marcus he is one of us his memory lives on n on ..I do wish he came sooner but I probably echo what every one else will say .. now we have a board I can only see us get stronger n stronger I do believe that Raulf kruger will make this club achieve the ultimate goal he is a winner already this year and I do hope he is as strong as corteses in terms of keeping our players and pochettino and instead of 8th we could be no 1 pompeythesinkingship
  • Score: 7

11:13am Wed 2 Apr 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

You have to feel for someone like Skating on Ice, whose sole pleasure is in scratching around looking for skeletons in our cupboard, in attempt to upset us, would anyone normal do that? I have always assumed that he was a Skate fan, but he never has expressed a preference. If he is, he must be so full of envy and hatred that it must be affecting his judgement?

The differences in the fortune of our two Clubs could not possibly be more contrasting, I have strong empathy for decent Pompey fans and there are many, but the evil element among them are getting just what they deserve and it was mostly self inflicted. When I read how close we came to oblivion, (some still don't believe it would have happened), it makes my spine tingle, and when you see how we were rescued and the progress we made in a very short time it makes me really emotional and very grateful to all who made it possible, and I include our genuine supporters in that. Thank you one and all.
You have to feel for someone like Skating on Ice, whose sole pleasure is in scratching around looking for skeletons in our cupboard, in attempt to upset us, would anyone normal do that? I have always assumed that he was a Skate fan, but he never has expressed a preference. If he is, he must be so full of envy and hatred that it must be affecting his judgement? The differences in the fortune of our two Clubs could not possibly be more contrasting, I have strong empathy for decent Pompey fans and there are many, but the evil element among them are getting just what they deserve and it was mostly self inflicted. When I read how close we came to oblivion, (some still don't believe it would have happened), it makes my spine tingle, and when you see how we were rescued and the progress we made in a very short time it makes me really emotional and very grateful to all who made it possible, and I include our genuine supporters in that. Thank you one and all. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 7

11:22am Wed 2 Apr 14

rednwhite72 says...

I'll never forget that photo of Markuss at wembley that day, you could tell he enjoyed that as a fan, as one of us. He was so unassuming , normal and that made a difference, the fans saw him in different light, he was one of us, taking his own pictures on his little camera, smiling and enjoying the atmosphere...Markuss you will never be forgotton...you are a legend...hail St Markuss...:)
I'll never forget that photo of Markuss at wembley that day, you could tell he enjoyed that as a fan, as one of us. He was so unassuming , normal and that made a difference, the fans saw him in different light, he was one of us, taking his own pictures on his little camera, smiling and enjoying the atmosphere...Markuss you will never be forgotton...you are a legend...hail St Markuss...:) rednwhite72
  • Score: 22

12:11pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Brian1 says...

Dasal wrote:
manchester exiled Saint wrote: Sad... but tears in my eyes reading that. I remember well how desperate for news we were being stuck up here in Manchester and relying on the rumour mill and Sky Sports News. Who the hell was this Markus Liebherr? Well that as answered. As said above. The picture of his smiling face a Wembley must be one of the images that will be forever etched in the memories of all of us there. For me its in the same category as Bobby Stokes being carried around on the shoulder of the 76 team. I think we as fans sometimes forget that as much as we lost him as an owner Katharina lost her father. So coming to St Marys and seeing everything here associated with him must have been so hard for her. I hope now she realises the genuine love in which his memory is held and when his name is chanted from the stands its not so formula or some mocking of anyone but a mark of that love and respect We were blessed to have him if only for a short time and I hope Katharina knows how many tens of thousands of people are so grateful to her father and now her for everything they have done for our club.
AMEN !! GREAT POST.
I Hope Katharina and the new directors read this comments like Markus and Nicola did before.
Their names should be indelibly printed in the hearts and minds of every Saints fan, as the Liebherr amily shuld be the Saints of the .. Saints.
Coming from Singapore I was in the shop at St Mary's just before the great day, and I was told I could buy anything including the fixtures and fittngs. The shelves were almost empty, and the club was so desperate for cash, they were selling autographed posters of old stars that were deceorating the walls.
But now we are back in the Premier league, there is a huge opportunity for merchanding and promoting our 'brand' in Asia, where every Saints is shown live on TV every week. Even Singaporeans compliment me on how good Poch's teams play . With over 2 billions Asians, even we got 0.01% to support us instead of ManUre, thats a huge potential income stream for us.
Infact Chelsea even have a marketing office for Asia just behind mine, & have secured sponsorship from Samsung,Singha and many other brands people in the UK have never heard.
Are you reading this Ralph ? Hopefully this will inspire you.
[quote][p][bold]Dasal[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]manchester exiled Saint[/bold] wrote: Sad... but tears in my eyes reading that. I remember well how desperate for news we were being stuck up here in Manchester and relying on the rumour mill and Sky Sports News. Who the hell was this Markus Liebherr? Well that as answered. As said above. The picture of his smiling face a Wembley must be one of the images that will be forever etched in the memories of all of us there. For me its in the same category as Bobby Stokes being carried around on the shoulder of the 76 team. I think we as fans sometimes forget that as much as we lost him as an owner Katharina lost her father. So coming to St Marys and seeing everything here associated with him must have been so hard for her. I hope now she realises the genuine love in which his memory is held and when his name is chanted from the stands its not so formula or some mocking of anyone but a mark of that love and respect We were blessed to have him if only for a short time and I hope Katharina knows how many tens of thousands of people are so grateful to her father and now her for everything they have done for our club.[/p][/quote]AMEN !! GREAT POST.[/p][/quote]I Hope Katharina and the new directors read this comments like Markus and Nicola did before. Their names should be indelibly printed in the hearts and minds of every Saints fan, as the Liebherr amily shuld be the Saints of the .. Saints. Coming from Singapore I was in the shop at St Mary's just before the great day, and I was told I could buy anything including the fixtures and fittngs. The shelves were almost empty, and the club was so desperate for cash, they were selling autographed posters of old stars that were deceorating the walls. But now we are back in the Premier league, there is a huge opportunity for merchanding and promoting our 'brand' in Asia, where every Saints is shown live on TV every week. Even Singaporeans compliment me on how good Poch's teams play . With over 2 billions Asians, even we got 0.01% to support us instead of ManUre, thats a huge potential income stream for us. Infact Chelsea even have a marketing office for Asia just behind mine, & have secured sponsorship from Samsung,Singha and many other brands people in the UK have never heard. Are you reading this Ralph ? Hopefully this will inspire you. Brian1
  • Score: 12

12:17pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Brian1 says...

Apologies for the appalling spelling.
It was meant to say the PATRON SAINT OF THE SAINTS. If that's possible. (Confuscious would know).
Just to add to the point about the power of football In Asia. In the first game of the Championship season 3 years ago (v Leeds), I walked into the Itchen just behind an Asian bloke wearing a Saints top with the words "Singa(pore) Saint" on it, and the bloke who runs my local in Singapore (Lazy Lizard) is a huge Saints fan.
Both these guys became fans when they went to Southampton Uni.
So look after the Students too.
Apologies for the appalling spelling. It was meant to say the PATRON SAINT OF THE SAINTS. If that's possible. (Confuscious would know). Just to add to the point about the power of football In Asia. In the first game of the Championship season 3 years ago (v Leeds), I walked into the Itchen just behind an Asian bloke wearing a Saints top with the words "Singa(pore) Saint" on it, and the bloke who runs my local in Singapore (Lazy Lizard) is a huge Saints fan. Both these guys became fans when they went to Southampton Uni. So look after the Students too. Brian1
  • Score: 9

12:36pm Wed 2 Apr 14

settheSTandard says...

I'll never understand how Mark Fry preferred the Pinnacle consortium ahead of Markus Leibherr.
I'll never understand how Mark Fry preferred the Pinnacle consortium ahead of Markus Leibherr. settheSTandard
  • Score: 7

12:36pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Outside of the Box says...

5 years, How time flies when you're having fun!!!!!!

I bet the Skates wish their last 5 years were as much fun as ours #WTFILN
5 years, How time flies when you're having fun!!!!!! I bet the Skates wish their last 5 years were as much fun as ours #WTFILN Outside of the Box
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Santa Retfordia says...

Has Le Tiss ever really explained what was going on with the Mickey Fialka 'episode'? It was somewhat glossed over in his book, I thought...
Has Le Tiss ever really explained what was going on with the Mickey Fialka 'episode'? It was somewhat glossed over in his book, I thought... Santa Retfordia
  • Score: 4

1:42pm Wed 2 Apr 14

justaSaintsfan says...

Matt is a fellow Saints fan, as well as one of our greatest ever players. He has the best interests of Saints at heart.

Mickey Fialka is possibly more like a 'Walter Mitty' character, who had big ideas without big money. Perhaps our Matt and the administrator, Mark Fry, were both hoodwinked into believing that the Pinnacle consortium's bid to buy the club had sufficient funds to complete the purchase.

I believe Matt acted in good faith, so I think he therefore had every right not to dwell in his book on the failed Pinnacle consortium bid.

A better thought is that Saint Markus soon had the club in safe hands, where it still remains with his daughter Katharina.
Matt is a fellow Saints fan, as well as one of our greatest ever players. He has the best interests of Saints at heart. Mickey Fialka is possibly more like a 'Walter Mitty' character, who had big ideas without big money. Perhaps our Matt and the administrator, Mark Fry, were both hoodwinked into believing that the Pinnacle consortium's bid to buy the club had sufficient funds to complete the purchase. I believe Matt acted in good faith, so I think he therefore had every right not to dwell in his book on the failed Pinnacle consortium bid. A better thought is that Saint Markus soon had the club in safe hands, where it still remains with his daughter Katharina. justaSaintsfan
  • Score: 7

1:53pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Santa Retfordia says...

I'm not asking because I want to point at him and go "Haha you made a mistake". I'm asking because living through that administration was genuinely awful for all of us because everything was shrouded in total secrecy, and I think it would be really interesting to understand more about the history of what actually went on. Like, how did Fialka do it?

Someday a book of this will come out. It will make a great story.
I'm not asking because I want to point at him and go "Haha you made a mistake". I'm asking because living through that administration was genuinely awful for all of us because everything was shrouded in total secrecy, and I think it would be really interesting to understand more about the history of what actually went on. Like, how did Fialka do it? Someday a book of this will come out. It will make a great story. Santa Retfordia
  • Score: 4

1:54pm Wed 2 Apr 14

SaintJD says...

"Indeed Cortese reported that he kept up to date via the Daily Echo website, paying particular attention to the comments section under the stories to see what the fans were saying."

.. just to think, Five Trophies and the other Fishy Few posters might have played a part in NC buying the club. Excellent.
"Indeed Cortese reported that he kept up to date via the Daily Echo website, paying particular attention to the comments section under the stories to see what the fans were saying." .. just to think, Five Trophies and the other Fishy Few posters might have played a part in NC buying the club. Excellent. SaintJD
  • Score: 4

2:06pm Wed 2 Apr 14

justaSaintsfan says...

Santa Retfordia wrote:
I'm not asking because I want to point at him and go "Haha you made a mistake". I'm asking because living through that administration was genuinely awful for all of us because everything was shrouded in total secrecy, and I think it would be really interesting to understand more about the history of what actually went on. Like, how did Fialka do it?

Someday a book of this will come out. It will make a great story.
I bought and enjoyed reading Matt's book.

Maybe someone will one day write a book that will divulge all the facts about the Mickey Fialka 'episode.' I'm sure it would make very interesting reading for plenty of Saints fans, including your very good self, Santa Retfordia.
[quote][p][bold]Santa Retfordia[/bold] wrote: I'm not asking because I want to point at him and go "Haha you made a mistake". I'm asking because living through that administration was genuinely awful for all of us because everything was shrouded in total secrecy, and I think it would be really interesting to understand more about the history of what actually went on. Like, how did Fialka do it? Someday a book of this will come out. It will make a great story.[/p][/quote]I bought and enjoyed reading Matt's book. Maybe someone will one day write a book that will divulge all the facts about the Mickey Fialka 'episode.' I'm sure it would make very interesting reading for plenty of Saints fans, including your very good self, Santa Retfordia. justaSaintsfan
  • Score: 2

2:33pm Wed 2 Apr 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

Santa Retfordia wrote:
Has Le Tiss ever really explained what was going on with the Mickey Fialka 'episode'? It was somewhat glossed over in his book, I thought...
With my rose tinted glasses on, I have always considered Matts involvement in the take over was a desperate attempt to save the Club which he loved, in the only way that he could see possible, he would have had no more idea about the Liebherr proposals than any of us. The NC thing was a bit weird and much of it was taken out of context and muddied the waters, hopefully those bad times are behind us and should be confined to the history books, we have to move on into a whole new era.
[quote][p][bold]Santa Retfordia[/bold] wrote: Has Le Tiss ever really explained what was going on with the Mickey Fialka 'episode'? It was somewhat glossed over in his book, I thought...[/p][/quote]With my rose tinted glasses on, I have always considered Matts involvement in the take over was a desperate attempt to save the Club which he loved, in the only way that he could see possible, he would have had no more idea about the Liebherr proposals than any of us. The NC thing was a bit weird and much of it was taken out of context and muddied the waters, hopefully those bad times are behind us and should be confined to the history books, we have to move on into a whole new era. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 2

2:51pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Santa Retfordia says...

justaSaintsfan wrote:
Santa Retfordia wrote: I'm not asking because I want to point at him and go "Haha you made a mistake". I'm asking because living through that administration was genuinely awful for all of us because everything was shrouded in total secrecy, and I think it would be really interesting to understand more about the history of what actually went on. Like, how did Fialka do it? Someday a book of this will come out. It will make a great story.
I bought and enjoyed reading Matt's book. Maybe someone will one day write a book that will divulge all the facts about the Mickey Fialka 'episode.' I'm sure it would make very interesting reading for plenty of Saints fans, including your very good self, Santa Retfordia.
I bought it too!

But administration was basically a hundred days of feeling like the arse could fall out of your entire world at a moment's notice. There was so much more to it than just Fialka - there were all sorts of unsung heroes and mysteries that were never explained. I mean, the donation Leon Crouch made genuinely saved the club. Did he ever get any thanks for that? Why did Lowe pull the plug when he did? Why did Markus really pick us? What role did David Bick play? When will we get an ice rink? There is still so much we don't know about these traumatic times.
[quote][p][bold]justaSaintsfan[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Santa Retfordia[/bold] wrote: I'm not asking because I want to point at him and go "Haha you made a mistake". I'm asking because living through that administration was genuinely awful for all of us because everything was shrouded in total secrecy, and I think it would be really interesting to understand more about the history of what actually went on. Like, how did Fialka do it? Someday a book of this will come out. It will make a great story.[/p][/quote]I bought and enjoyed reading Matt's book. Maybe someone will one day write a book that will divulge all the facts about the Mickey Fialka 'episode.' I'm sure it would make very interesting reading for plenty of Saints fans, including your very good self, Santa Retfordia.[/p][/quote]I bought it too! But administration was basically a hundred days of feeling like the arse could fall out of your entire world at a moment's notice. There was so much more to it than just Fialka - there were all sorts of unsung heroes and mysteries that were never explained. I mean, the donation Leon Crouch made genuinely saved the club. Did he ever get any thanks for that? Why did Lowe pull the plug when he did? Why did Markus really pick us? What role did David Bick play? When will we get an ice rink? There is still so much we don't know about these traumatic times. Santa Retfordia
  • Score: 3

3:09pm Wed 2 Apr 14

aldermoorboy says...

rpjcheney says...

To St Markus, Katharina, Nicola, Mauricio, Nigel, Alan and everyone else who has had a hand in the most amazing five years I have seen as a fan, I just want to say a huge thank you.

I am so proud to be a Saints fan, and to have seen what has been achieved in the last five years, and I cannot wait to see how far we can go in the next five if we hold this special group together.

100% agree, well said.
rpjcheney says... To St Markus, Katharina, Nicola, Mauricio, Nigel, Alan and everyone else who has had a hand in the most amazing five years I have seen as a fan, I just want to say a huge thank you. I am so proud to be a Saints fan, and to have seen what has been achieved in the last five years, and I cannot wait to see how far we can go in the next five if we hold this special group together. 100% agree, well said. aldermoorboy
  • Score: 7

3:20pm Wed 2 Apr 14

franiow says...

I don't know, but I think the Pinnacle group was favoured because NC wouldn't pay the 500K nonreturnable deposit. Crouch lost his money which kept us afloat.
I don't know, but I think the Pinnacle group was favoured because NC wouldn't pay the 500K nonreturnable deposit. Crouch lost his money which kept us afloat. franiow
  • Score: 5

3:25pm Wed 2 Apr 14

SPIKEISLANDTRADER says...

A good post by D.E. , BUT a even better read of the heart felt comments . We have come a very long way from the DARK YEARS , and we still have a long successful journey , with I suspect changes along the way . But the future looks good and we will grow as Marcus heart predicted we would. Kat our ANGEL to follow the journey , right to the TOP . C O Y R . Proud of the team , the vision of our backers and US the fans that are dedicated , to support .
A good post by D.E. , BUT a even better read of the heart felt comments . We have come a very long way from the DARK YEARS , and we still have a long successful journey , with I suspect changes along the way . But the future looks good and we will grow as Marcus heart predicted we would. Kat our ANGEL to follow the journey , right to the TOP . C O Y R . Proud of the team , the vision of our backers and US the fans that are dedicated , to support . SPIKEISLANDTRADER
  • Score: 2

4:18pm Wed 2 Apr 14

SFCOLDBOY says...

I've been a Saints fan now for more than 50 years.
Been an incredible roller-coaster.
Great highs like the FA cup win,disastrous lows like relegations and administration.
That said thanks to NC and Markus, this last 5 years have by far,been the best.
I have only one criticism of the Premier league over Div 1and Championship, is that too many players "cheat".( Diving and play acting,etc.)
What makes me proud is that our players don't do this.
Win or lose we do it the right way.
COYS.
I've been a Saints fan now for more than 50 years. Been an incredible roller-coaster. Great highs like the FA cup win,disastrous lows like relegations and administration. That said thanks to NC and Markus, this last 5 years have by far,been the best. I have only one criticism of the Premier league over Div 1and Championship, is that too many players "cheat".( Diving and play acting,etc.) What makes me proud is that our players don't do this. Win or lose we do it the right way. COYS. SFCOLDBOY
  • Score: 4

5:40pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Fatty x Ford Worker says...

Money well spent they should of improved that ground why no transport links !
Money well spent they should of improved that ground why no transport links ! Fatty x Ford Worker
  • Score: -6

6:02pm Wed 2 Apr 14

SaintSteve76 says...

I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come.
I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come. SaintSteve76
  • Score: 9

6:04pm Wed 2 Apr 14

saintbobby says...

How I appreciated reading all these comments. I have said previously how I have loved and supported the Saints since 1959. I got into this wonderful state of life because I was posted to a job in Winchester, so it made sense to go and watch the Saints.

Then I met my wife and it is our Golden Anniversary in July. So, whilst I do not live there, Southampton is my adopted town and I love it!

The other thing was that I was always amazed by how few managers the club had had and I still remember us all waving to dear Ted Bates as he walked to the dugout. Then, Lawrie Mac came and spun his web. We signed Kevin Keegan and Peter Shilton and even with the limited facilities of The Dell, we always had a great time. George O'Brien, wonderful Ron Davies, the great Terry Paine and the rocketing John Sydenham always seemed to produce the goods.

A lot of time passed by and then the tragedy of nearly losing our great club really shook us up. All the right and nice things have been said above about our saviours, and I am sure our gratitude is appreciated.

But, alongside all this, doesn't this club have the best and greatest fans of all. Generous, to a fault, and very rude to that lot along the road maybe, a Saints fan is especially loyal What's more so many on this site actually understand the game and I love reading all the sensible comments. Best of all, they all love the Saints like I do. Great bunch you chaps and thank you all for loving our team so much.

Now for the Etihad and I just wonder!!
How I appreciated reading all these comments. I have said previously how I have loved and supported the Saints since 1959. I got into this wonderful state of life because I was posted to a job in Winchester, so it made sense to go and watch the Saints. Then I met my wife and it is our Golden Anniversary in July. So, whilst I do not live there, Southampton is my adopted town and I love it! The other thing was that I was always amazed by how few managers the club had had and I still remember us all waving to dear Ted Bates as he walked to the dugout. Then, Lawrie Mac came and spun his web. We signed Kevin Keegan and Peter Shilton and even with the limited facilities of The Dell, we always had a great time. George O'Brien, wonderful Ron Davies, the great Terry Paine and the rocketing John Sydenham always seemed to produce the goods. A lot of time passed by and then the tragedy of nearly losing our great club really shook us up. All the right and nice things have been said above about our saviours, and I am sure our gratitude is appreciated. But, alongside all this, doesn't this club have the best and greatest fans of all. Generous, to a fault, and very rude to that lot along the road maybe, a Saints fan is especially loyal What's more so many on this site actually understand the game and I love reading all the sensible comments. Best of all, they all love the Saints like I do. Great bunch you chaps and thank you all for loving our team so much. Now for the Etihad and I just wonder!! saintbobby
  • Score: 10

6:57pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Baddesley Bill says...

What a ride it as been. For what it s worth, my grateful thanks to all concerned. Fellow fans, sponsors, employees, players, Cortese....and Markus Liebherr. May he RIP in the knowledge that he not only kept our great Club afloat...but has put us well and truly back on the footballing map!

Markus Liebherr Saints Legend!!!!!!
What a ride it as been. For what it s worth, my grateful thanks to all concerned. Fellow fans, sponsors, employees, players, Cortese....and Markus Liebherr. May he RIP in the knowledge that he not only kept our great Club afloat...but has put us well and truly back on the footballing map! Markus Liebherr Saints Legend!!!!!! Baddesley Bill
  • Score: 6

8:01pm Wed 2 Apr 14

TPFKARTSNINZ says...

saintbobby wrote:
How I appreciated reading all these comments. I have said previously how I have loved and supported the Saints since 1959. I got into this wonderful state of life because I was posted to a job in Winchester, so it made sense to go and watch the Saints.

Then I met my wife and it is our Golden Anniversary in July. So, whilst I do not live there, Southampton is my adopted town and I love it!

The other thing was that I was always amazed by how few managers the club had had and I still remember us all waving to dear Ted Bates as he walked to the dugout. Then, Lawrie Mac came and spun his web. We signed Kevin Keegan and Peter Shilton and even with the limited facilities of The Dell, we always had a great time. George O'Brien, wonderful Ron Davies, the great Terry Paine and the rocketing John Sydenham always seemed to produce the goods.

A lot of time passed by and then the tragedy of nearly losing our great club really shook us up. All the right and nice things have been said above about our saviours, and I am sure our gratitude is appreciated.

But, alongside all this, doesn't this club have the best and greatest fans of all. Generous, to a fault, and very rude to that lot along the road maybe, a Saints fan is especially loyal What's more so many on this site actually understand the game and I love reading all the sensible comments. Best of all, they all love the Saints like I do. Great bunch you chaps and thank you all for loving our team so much.

Now for the Etihad and I just wonder!!
Great comments!

Reminds me of my late father & grandfather talking about the days of yore, even going back to Alf Ramsey playing for us, & the way we threw away promotion to Division One in 1949.

Thank you Markus for giving us a present that we are loving & a future to embrace.

COYR!
[quote][p][bold]saintbobby[/bold] wrote: How I appreciated reading all these comments. I have said previously how I have loved and supported the Saints since 1959. I got into this wonderful state of life because I was posted to a job in Winchester, so it made sense to go and watch the Saints. Then I met my wife and it is our Golden Anniversary in July. So, whilst I do not live there, Southampton is my adopted town and I love it! The other thing was that I was always amazed by how few managers the club had had and I still remember us all waving to dear Ted Bates as he walked to the dugout. Then, Lawrie Mac came and spun his web. We signed Kevin Keegan and Peter Shilton and even with the limited facilities of The Dell, we always had a great time. George O'Brien, wonderful Ron Davies, the great Terry Paine and the rocketing John Sydenham always seemed to produce the goods. A lot of time passed by and then the tragedy of nearly losing our great club really shook us up. All the right and nice things have been said above about our saviours, and I am sure our gratitude is appreciated. But, alongside all this, doesn't this club have the best and greatest fans of all. Generous, to a fault, and very rude to that lot along the road maybe, a Saints fan is especially loyal What's more so many on this site actually understand the game and I love reading all the sensible comments. Best of all, they all love the Saints like I do. Great bunch you chaps and thank you all for loving our team so much. Now for the Etihad and I just wonder!![/p][/quote]Great comments! Reminds me of my late father & grandfather talking about the days of yore, even going back to Alf Ramsey playing for us, & the way we threw away promotion to Division One in 1949. Thank you Markus for giving us a present that we are loving & a future to embrace. COYR! TPFKARTSNINZ
  • Score: 4

9:29pm Wed 2 Apr 14

el caballo santos101 says...

SaintSteve76 wrote:
I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come.
I agree but I think that the family and friends of the great man have always said how modest and humble he was and how he would never have wanted to be commemorated like that. I think most fans would like a statue but not against his wishes. his seat at the stadium is never used, NC used to sit alone next to it, and it has a little plaque on it in memory of the great man.
[quote][p][bold]SaintSteve76[/bold] wrote: I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come.[/p][/quote]I agree but I think that the family and friends of the great man have always said how modest and humble he was and how he would never have wanted to be commemorated like that. I think most fans would like a statue but not against his wishes. his seat at the stadium is never used, NC used to sit alone next to it, and it has a little plaque on it in memory of the great man. el caballo santos101
  • Score: 6

10:25pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Seedhouse the Unrepentant says...

el caballo santos101 wrote:
SaintSteve76 wrote:
I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come.
I agree but I think that the family and friends of the great man have always said how modest and humble he was and how he would never have wanted to be commemorated like that. I think most fans would like a statue but not against his wishes. his seat at the stadium is never used, NC used to sit alone next to it, and it has a little plaque on it in memory of the great man.
I think his daughter now sits in it. He'd have liked that.
[quote][p][bold]el caballo santos101[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SaintSteve76[/bold] wrote: I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come.[/p][/quote]I agree but I think that the family and friends of the great man have always said how modest and humble he was and how he would never have wanted to be commemorated like that. I think most fans would like a statue but not against his wishes. his seat at the stadium is never used, NC used to sit alone next to it, and it has a little plaque on it in memory of the great man.[/p][/quote]I think his daughter now sits in it. He'd have liked that. Seedhouse the Unrepentant
  • Score: 6

11:04pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Clever Dick says...

It brings a tear to the eyes reading this thread. Huge thanks to NC for having the vision and to St Markus for providing the cash to bring it about. We owe all concerned a huge debt of gratitude . There can not be many instances of a turnaround of this magnitude in just a few years. Admittedly the infrastructure and the potential were there for everybody to see but here's hoping Katharina as the owner and the new board can continue the progress. Let's face it any progress from where we are now will be difficult but not impossible for the Mighty Saints.
It brings a tear to the eyes reading this thread. Huge thanks to NC for having the vision and to St Markus for providing the cash to bring it about. We owe all concerned a huge debt of gratitude . There can not be many instances of a turnaround of this magnitude in just a few years. Admittedly the infrastructure and the potential were there for everybody to see but here's hoping Katharina as the owner and the new board can continue the progress. Let's face it any progress from where we are now will be difficult but not impossible for the Mighty Saints. Clever Dick
  • Score: 2

11:07pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Saintly Sam says...

SaintSteve76 wrote:
I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come.
Why not rename St Marys as the "Marcus Liebherr Memorial Stadium", without him I doubt there would be a Southampton FC as we know it today, we would have had to start again at the lowest level of the game.
We owe Marcus and his team everything,
[quote][p][bold]SaintSteve76[/bold] wrote: I still think Markus Liebherr needs to be commemorated in some way either by a statue or the naming of a stand so that he will be remembered and acknowledged for generations to come.[/p][/quote]Why not rename St Marys as the "Marcus Liebherr Memorial Stadium", without him I doubt there would be a Southampton FC as we know it today, we would have had to start again at the lowest level of the game. We owe Marcus and his team everything, Saintly Sam
  • Score: 0

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