AS I mentioned last week, a petition has been launched to give the ex-England and Tottenham superstar, Jimmy Greaves, a knighthood.

He has just turned 80 and for many, many years has had seriously bad health because of a stroke.

Apparently, there are now around 25,000 people on the petition and it could well be that it’s a success.

But talking about ex-players and their health: there is also a sad notice about one of our former players at The Dell and former England captain, Dave Watson.

He has a disease that is a form of dementia and supporters possibly don’t realise he, along with Chris Nicholl, another ex-player of ours who came back to manage after me, has also been suffering for many years from dementia.

Two of my ex-staff, John Mortimer, who is now sadly in a home, and Frank Burrows, who is living in Swindon - the team he once managed and played for. Another old friend of mine, Jack Charlton, has been suffering from the same disease for many, many years.

When you look at it, they were all defenders who played in the days with the leather football that got very heavy, especially in the wet weather.

Many supporters will remember the documentary about this subject that was hosted by Alan Shearer.

The medical decision at the end was that they weren’t convinced it was to do with heading the ball and I must say I remember other players who had this disease who rarely headed the ball.

But now looking at these names, admittedly the players mentioned are in their 70s, I’m beginning to wonder if it did, in fact, have some effect.

The ball these days is much lighter but certain areas are taking this much more seriously.

For instance, in Scotland and America, they have now decided youngsters at schoolboy age should not be heading the ball during a game. How they can manage that, of course, I find difficult to understand.

People are living longer but it’s really upsetting to see so many familiar faces and their families who are now suffering from this disease.

Let’s hope there can be more medical insight into this to see if there could be any cure. But at present, believe me, the families are going through a very hard time.


OUR manager, Ralph, has recently said that he would not talk about new contracts with some of the players until we reach the target of 36 points.

I can certainly understand that.

In the old days, it used to be 40 points when you knew you would be safe and we aren’t far off 36 now.

That will be the time to talk because we will know what league we are going to be in and I’m sure the agents have been banging on the door.

But if, for instance, a club was to get relegated it would not be sensible to give them a Premier League contract. It would more likely be a basic one with a bonus to get promotion.

The other point Ralph was talking about was that, at present, we have the fifth-best away form in the whole league, but our home points are less than most.

He said the players are struggling with the pressure of winning at home and I think he’s made a point, but the Saints supporters have always been, in my opinion, better than most - other clubs are even copying our song now.

I remember times when we were struggling, and the singing helped lift the team. Whether it’s because the ground we play at now is much bigger which means the shouting and singing isn’t as loud as other parts of the ground.

But I think Ralph will see how everyone in the ground, now that we are in the last third of this season, knows about how important it is to stay in the league or get into Europe as these next fixtures will show.

Every game is a little bit more difficult but I’m sure Ralph will hear everyone is behind him and the team and that they want to be watching Premier League football next year - and not anything lower.