Thursday, 9 June 2011

The football off-season

The football season is over then. Man Utd have won the Premier League without having to be all that great, Liverpool are resurgent under King Kenny (hooray!), England were horribly shown up by playing a week after Barcelona put on an absolute master-class to win the European Champions' League and Southampton got back into the Championship (hooray again!).

It's all been a bit quiet on the Southampton FC front but things are already getting interesting in the Premier League. Martin Jol is back, as manager of Fulham. This is an excellent thing. I thought Jol was funny and straight-talking in his time at Spurs and as far as I remember they played some good, successful football while he was in charge. Roberto Martinez is the favourite to become Aston Villa manager, which could also be a good move. Certainly good for Martinez; he'll get to test himself at the next level up and if he does well at Villa then he could find himself in the running to be the next manager of one of the top clubs. Like Jol, he gets his teams playing good football.

The big thing for me as a (completely casual, never been to the city let alone to the stadium) Liverpool fan is the signing of Jordan Henderson for Quite A Lot Of Money. Here's a picture of Henderson signing his lovely new contract, courtesy of the Liverpool FC website.

Now I don't know much about the guy but this is what a Sunderland fan had to say in the Football365 mailbox:
After the world cup, many of us began to really notice the sheer lack of technical talent in the England set-up. By this, I'm not talking about crossing or shooting ability, I'm talking about close control, quick passing and most importantly of all, tactical awareness. Jordan has these traits in abundance... [he plays] patient, intelligent football. His touch in tight situations is excellent and he always seems to find a one-two or a small gap to get the ball through to a team-mate...
Now that sounds pretty promising! A midfield of Lucas, Mereiles and Henderson with Spearing and Shelvey providing talented young back-up. Excellent... What's that you say? No, I've not forgotten Steven Gerrard; I think he's past his best and Liverpool should let him go if Man City, Chelsea or some other moneybags club want to swap fifteen million English pounds for him. What do you reckon?

I'm quite looking forward to finding out what else will happen over the football summer off-season. Like I said, I've not seen anything much about Southampton but maybe that's a good thing. No bigger clubs sniffing around Chamberlain, Lallana or any of Saints' other top players? (*cough* Arsenal) I should think Saints will do just fine in the Championship with the current squad so bring it on! Must get to St Mary's to watch a game or two next season...

EDIT - Perhaps I spoke too soon regarding Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Friday's Daily Mirror has a story saying he'll be off to Arsenal, with a £12 million deal to be confirmed on 1st July. We shall see.

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