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Together As One? That doesn't always seem the case for Saints off-the-field
IT’S hard when your club, something you’ve invested time and love into, does something to lower itself in your estimation.
Like many football fans, my love for Saints means I overlook a multitude of sins when I certainly wouldn’t do so for other businesses.
Ticket prices, warm beer, poor service – loyalty is blind to all these types of things, to a point.
However, Saints have most certainly not covered themselves in glory in recent days.
In case you missed it, they were taken to court by a local firm which had not been paid for work done at St. Mary’s, refurbishing one of the corporate suites.
It wasn’t a huge amount of money by Premier League standards – £55,000 was the outstanding amount.
That’s less than Gaston Ramirez earns a week.
There was no reason offered as to why Saints didn’t pay. The club chose not to send anyone to represent them in court.
In effect, they offered no defence – not for the first time this season, you may snigger.
The court demanded Saints pay up immediately, having ignored an adjudication a few months back.
The reason this leaves a sour taste is that many supporters quite rightly have chastised Portsmouth for leaving so many small local firms high and dry when that club went into administration.
Now Saints are doing exactly the same – whilst supposedly having huge amounts of money behind them, either from the Liebherr estate, the Premier League or this mystery loan the club have.
Football clubs are big businesses these days, we all know that. We’ve come a long way from being a local club owned by a few rich men from the city whom you'd probably see in your local boozer.
That’s not to say the club exists in isolation from the community that supports it. The local firms you don’t pay are not just figures on an invoice.
They are the people who buy your tickets, wear your shirts and take their children to see your players. They are you.
Together As One is the club’s marketing slogan this season. But if the club isn’t willing to pay what it owes to the people that make up its local community, we are left in no doubt as to how much stock the club gives that catchphrase – absolutely none.
Are there other firms in similar positions, having not been paid by Saints? I’d love to say there definitely aren’t any but I don’t know.
If this is something Southampton FC does regularly, not only is it risking the livelihoods of ordinary people, it is hurting itself. It’s alienating itself from the very people it needs, its lifeblood. The fans.
If you couldn’t put food on your table because Saints hadn’t paid their bill, I don’t think any amount of Rickie Lambert goals would gloss over it. Perhaps the club would do well to consider that.
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