Saintsplus - your new home for tactical analysis, features and much, much more - launches today with a selection of free articles. Open only to subscribers, Saintsplus offers you the next level of Saints coverage.

No matter who the opposition is, no matter the score, no matter your own personnel, there are moments in football when anything is possible.

The Sunday before the international break against Manchester City, that moment came on the stroke of half-time when Moi Elyounoussi’s cross touched off Aymeric Laporte and trickled - oh so lovingly - into the back of the net.

In that moment it was impossible not to dream - impossible not to think of what was possible: anything. Beating Manchester City? Why not! A place at Wembley? Absolutely! A first FA Cup since 1976? You know it.

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When those jumping for joy are in the air, the potentially outlandish is totally within the realms of the possible. 

Dreams are at the centre of football. Dreams fuel the next day when the sun goes down on the latest defeat and the next dream begins. Reality too often gets in the way, but dreams never fully die in football - they just get pushed back. Southampton didn’t win the FA Cup this season. Push that dream down the track - it will be back.

Daily Echo: Elyounoussi and his teammates celebrate the goal against City. Image by: PAElyounoussi and his teammates celebrate the goal against City. Image by: PA

The heartbreak, the destruction of each individual dream is tough to take - some more than others. This one, on a day where it felt like so much of the season was resting on an admittedly mammoth task, will hurt more than many others. Southampton are attempting to disrupt an ecosystem that is far from fair and when one team can bring on Phil Foden and Riyadh Mahrez, reality certainly feels overwhelmingly present.

But without that dream where would each of us be?

Growing up in Seattle to a South African family as the third generation of fanatical supporters of REDACTED Football Club, the first lesson I learnt was about the dream of football and it’s a lesson that’s been at the centre of my life.

Through periods of darkness and loneliness, that dream of the next football game and the sheer ‘possible’ it provides drove me on. It drove me to the UK and now to Southampton via a route through Charlton Athletic and Reading.

Because ultimately, it’s not about the dream itself - it’s not about the personal moment of ecstasy when Laporte slices into his own net. It’s about the dreamers. Those you’re ecsatising with (did we just invent a new word?).

Families, friendships, so much of a bond can be built on this collective dream. For myself, it was the bedrock of the relationship I had and continue to have with my father. That’s what makes this dream so special: it’s shared with those you love most in the place that’s holiest to you.

Leading up to the FA Cup occasion at St Mary’s, I saw a city excited by the dream. It was killed by Pep Guardiola’s ruthless and expensively assembled team but the city and community of Southampton was thriving on the kind of dreaming only football can provide.

Daily Echo: Dejected Saints react to Phil Foden's goal. Image by: PADejected Saints react to Phil Foden's goal. Image by: PA

I’m not a Southampton fan, I’m not a Southampton native and I can tell you for a fact that I have a lot to learn about this great club. But I will promise one thing: I will dream with you. I’ll dive in fully, learn as much as I possibly can, and try to feel the joy and the pain - not to the same extent that each of you do, that would be impossible - but enough to share the dream.

It’s a massive understatement, but football clubs are important. And being a part of something so powerful and emotive comes with responsibility.

I had the privilege of covering Charlton Athletic previously and in that time the club went through four owners, supporter protests, transfer embargoes, and a promotion and relegation. I saw a lot and I saw a club nearly go extinct. I saw the crucial role local journalists must provide to shine a light on issues that really matter to fans. Because primarily, through all of that, I saw just how much the club means to its community.

Most recently, I was at Reading and saw a community desperately searching for reconnection in a fractured time and once again I experienced how local journalists can and need to amplify the many voices of fans.

At Southampton, the dream feels excitingly…possible. One city and one fanbase dreaming of what could be. We all know Southampton are attempting to disturb a world where finances sadly mean reality will bite most, if not all, of the time. But this is a club and a city where the most epic of football dreams are alive - even if they don't come true this season. On a personal level that is immensely thrilling to be a small part of.

I’m sure it will take time to earn your trust but hopefully, you’ll see quite quickly that this exciting new project, Saintsplus, is all about that dream. We want to meet your insatiable drive for your club with coverage that hits you on a deep and meaningful level while dropping in as much fun as possible on top.

You can still get all your match reports and manager quotes on the main page of the Daily Echo but for those looking for something that connects with you on every level of passion imaginable then Saintsplus will be here. We’ll go deeper behind the day-to-day grind of the season bringing you expert tactical analysis, interviews, and features with stories you haven’t heard before told in the most creative ways possible.

But don’t just take my word for it. The entire Saintsplus page is unlocked today and free for you to read. Check out our interview with Saints legend Rickie Lambert where he catalogues his ten defining Saints goals. 

Or how about a deep dive into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s roots? Through dozens and dozens of messages, we managed to speak to players and coaches who worked with Ralph in his first spell of management at German fourth-tier side SpVgg Unterhaching. 

Daily Echo: Join Saintsplus for just £1 for a monthJoin Saintsplus for just £1 for a month

We’ve also got a new extended approach to the typical ‘player ratings’ system, by rewatching the game to provide a more nuanced look at the performances of each player and the team as a whole.

This is just a taste of what we’ve got in store. We know standards at this club are justifiably high and we’ll keep our standards right up there with you. We’ll constantly and tirelessly search to tell stories that are important and impactful - the stories you want to hear. and even more importantly - the stories you need to hear. 

No matter the day, no matter the season, no matter Southampton’s place in the table we will cover this club with intense energy and creativity. That’s a promise I can guarantee.

This is a project fuelled by passion, looking to meet you at your insatiable passion level. So all I ask, whether you subscribe or not, is to let me dream with you and I’m sure you’ll soon see what we’re all about.