LAST Sunday I couldn’t believe how many phone calls I was receiving, one after the other, from about 9am onwards.

I knew it was my birthday, but I didn’t realise that other people around the world did!

Eventually, I was told that after becoming an ambassador at the club they had wished me a happy birthday on Twitter.

As a result, this led to messages flooding in from as far away as Australia, Spain, Italy and Spain.

My grandson Joe, a passionate supporter and expert on facts and figures, was with us in the afternoon and reeled all the messages off one after the other.

Apart from one who had to have a bit of a dig because he was a Sunderland supporter.

But Joe put him right by explaining that before I had arrived at Saints, I had won league titles at four other clubs. One as a coach and three as a manager.

Of course, the highlight of my career was winning the FA Cup, but the second highlight was finishing second to Liverpool in 1983/84, where we finished just three points behind them.

It was interesting to look at the end-of-season positions this year.

The fact that Bournemouth are, sadly, relegated has hit the headlines more than usual because they are considering legal action – and I totally support them with this – as they went down with one point less than Aston Villa.

We should remember that Sheffield United had a goal that was disallowed against Aston Villa, earning them a point, but it was clear the ball had crossed the line.

Hawk-Eye, the company behind goal-line technology, issued an apology after the match, saying that even though they had seven cameras focused on the goal area, they couldn’t work out it was a goal.

But that goal would have taken Villa down and kept Bournemouth up.

Another legal case might pop up with Wigan, who, as I’ve said before, are suffering off the pitch with their owners appearing to do wrong.

They were deducted 12 points for entering administration which got them relegated from the Championship into League One.


THE highlight this weekend is the FA Cup final.

I’m sure many supporters reading this will remember the excitement and build-up from the semi-final onwards: the trip to Wembley, the singing crowds and the celebrations that followed our win.

This week, we have two finalists, both from London, but only the teams will be there as no supporters are allowed.

It’s often a highlight of supporters to see their team at Wembley and one for managers leading their side out in a final.

Having seen that a cricket match allowed a few hundred supporters in last week, I’m sure something similar could have been done at Wembley, especially given its size.

A few thousand could have been in attendance and remained socially distanced.

I’m sure it will be watched all around the world on TV, but it will certainly not feel the same.


TALKING about London clubs, last week I gave the impression that West Brom are from London.

I want to say sorry about that, particularly to a gentleman who we call ‘Mr Pothole’.

But West Bromwich is still in the Midlands.

The London point was based on the fact Watford - a club from Hertfordshire - are on their way down and will be replaced by a London club.

Fulham’s win over Cardiff on Thursday means that they will play against Brentford on Tuesday for a place in the Premier League.


AT this stage of the season the managers and clubs concentrate more on comings and goings, with some player contracts being up which will either have to be renewed or allowed to expire.

Other issues include whether the board will support the manager with funds to bring new players in.

As I’ve said before, I’m pretty useless when it comes to modern technology, but I do click on the BBC’s text service which gives quotes from every newspaper, telling you which player is going to which club and which manager may be replacing another one.

Amazingly, it also tells you how much the contracts are going to be worth.

It staggers me to read that a 23-year-old player is about to have his contract extended and wages doubled, meaning he’ll earn £100,000-a-week for the next four years.

I often wonder what the likes of Channon, Ball, Keegan, Osgood and Shilton would be getting nowadays.

I’m sure the wonderful directors I had at Southampton would be more amazed than anyone!


I BELIEVE this will be the final column the Daily Echo’s sports reporter, Dan Sheldon, helps me with.

I would like to thank him for all the help he’s given me, and I wish him all the best for the future.