Monday, April 27, 2009

27 April 2009: Countdown

Aaaaand we're back.

Many highlights of the UK visit, not the least of which was visiting the old castle up near Skye, along with several days of Scottish wilderness up near Staffin, where the local landmark is the Old Man of Storr, who turned out not to be a man at all, but a rock formation. Along with all that there was much visiting and driving (on the left), two football matches (let's not talk about Plymouth Argyle's astonishingly bad performance against Doncaster, which left me almost speechless) and even very interesting discussion about sausages with a local Southampton butcher.

The other football match attended was Saints v Crystal Palace, which was interesting partly because it was nephew Matt's first time ever at a league match, and partly because it may prove to be my last time ever to see Southampton, who I first saw in a pre-season friendly against Plymouth Argyle as long ago as 1985. Saints won one-nil, and were actually not bad, David McGoldrick taking his goal very very well down at the Chapel End, right in front of where we were seated. Certainly the performance was much better than that offered by Plymouth Argyle five days later.

But then on Thursday last, the Football League announced Saints would indeed be docked ten points, and if they went down anyway, the ten point deduction would be applied at the start of next season.

Then on Saturday, Saints only drew, meaning mathematically they were relegated, so the ten point deduction will be applied at the start of next season in League One (or Division Three, as it's known to us old-timers).

Then this morning, an article in the Guardian showed a possible way that Saints might cunningly avoid being deducted ten points next year: they might just go out of business altogether. Saints have eight days left before going under, according to the article. I hate to say I told you so, so I won't.

The rumour mill is a little light due to those cunning non-disclosure agreements signed by all concerned but from what I understand, there are two bids on the table who have proved they have the funds, and a third who are still in the running as a possibility. The make-up of these bids is not known but the rumour is that one group might go public this week. Certainly with eight days to live, something has to happen soon. And a big question: is Rupert Lowe involved? Lots of rumours again, but the more in-the-know folks seem to suggest there is no Lowe directly involved... still too early to officially say.

However, it can't remain "too early to say" for much longer. The last home game is over, the fans are directly paying the players wages via the Save our Saints fund, and the club has eight days to live.

This, now, is the endgame, and the countdown begins.

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