The day that it all changed. On the 8th of July 2009, a Swiss businessman stepped in to save Southampton Football Club. That businessman was called Markus Liebherr and he is the reason for Southampton obtaining their first silverware since 1976, achieving back to back promotions and becoming THE Premier League model club . For if Mr Liebherr had not stepped forward, we wouldn’t have a club to support. With our six years of success and never ending drama, It’s easy to forget where it all started. So, where is that first Liebherr team now?
Let’s start with the men between the sticks
Kelvin Davis – 271 appearances for Southampton. Current club captain and club legend.
Bartosz Bialkowski – The Polish Keeper is currently applying his trade at Ipswich Town, having made 32 appearances since joining in 2014.
Tommy Forecast – Oh we have a cracker already. Since he joined Southampton in 2008, Forecast has turned out a rather shocking 34 career appearances over seven years for seven different teams. Since 2013 he has found work as a taxi driver in Essex, whilst hosting children’s Football parties on the side.
The boys at the back
Jose Fonte – Come on, really? Do I have to say anything?
Wayne Thomas – Thomas now finds himself as a Worcester City regular having spent two seasons in the Greek Superleague.
Chris Perry – Since being released at the start of the 2010/11 season, Perry has found work as a summariser for TalkSport and BT sport. His only outings relating to Southampton have been as a weak link of opinion for Tottenham Hotspur transfer targets.
Radhi Jaidi – After Jaidi slipped down the pecking order through injury troubles in 2012, he took on a role as overseas development officer. Since then his role has increased at the club – the Tunisian now works as an assistant manager for Southampton’s U21 side.
Dan Harding – Despite Dan Harding proving his worth at both Millwall and Nottingham Forest in the past two seasons, the former Saint has taken the drop to Eastleigh Football club. The man has had an incredibly emotional 12 months and some tough decisions to make on his journey. Take a read http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/sport/13579896.Ex_Saint_Harding_opens_his_heart_about_joining_Eastleigh/
Joseph Mills – Having shown impressive performances in the first team at just 19 year’s old, Mills never kicked on further in the way that he was expected to. He is still lingering down in League One having made 30 appearances since June 2014 for Oldham Athletic.
Danny Seabourne – Having spent time in every division of The Football League and even the Conference, Seabourne has taken his career to the Scottish Premiership with Partick Thistle.
The Midfield Magic
Morgan Schneiderlin – This all doing defensive midfielder is now showcasing his talents for the world’s third most valuable Football Club, Manchester United. Schneiderlin has even wormed his way into Didier Deschamps French national team.
Dean Hammond – Many would have been pleased to see Hammond get his much deserved Premier League runabout for Leicester City, but perhaps Southampton fans were even more delighted to see him rejoin ex-manager, Nigel Adkins. He has been at Sheffield United since the start of this season.
Adam Lallana – Lallana has made a strong early impression under new manager Jurgen Klopp, whilst continuing to be a part of Roy Hodgson’s plans. Most notably however, he features as a prop in Nivea adverts.
Jason Puncheon – As a once inconsistent winger, Puncheon has become a reliable Premier League starter for Crystal Palace. He’s even built himself up to be a bit of a set piece master in this reinvented “Number 10 role”.
Lloyd James – The 27 year old has made 95 appearances for Leyton Orient since joining in 2012 – the Welshman has scored six along the way.
Anthony Pulis – After spending two years at USL club Orlando City, Pulis retired to hold greater focus on full time coaching. This has now seen him take charge of Orlando City B, who start playing in 2016.
Paul Wotton – Paul Wotton has been fortunate enough to hold a lengthy career spanning from 1994-2015. After returning to his beloved Plymouth Argyle in 2013, Wotton decided to hang up the boots at the end of the 2014/15 season. He is currently working as a first team coach after being offered a role to continue at the club.
Lee Holmes – After an impressive loan spell at Exeter City, Holmes re-joined the League Two side from Preston North End on a permanent basis.
Michail Antonio – After an incredible 2014/15 season at Nottingham Forrest, Antonio had Premier League clubs circling. Desperately in need of a winger, West Ham snapped up Antonio for £7M in the past summer window. However, he has struggled with game time at The Hammers having only made one Premier League appearance. Club Chairman David Gold was pranked by a fan into retweeting a missing person appeal – that missing person being Antonio.
Goals, Goals and more Goals
Lee Barnard- After a number of loan spells from Southampton, Connolly made the switch to Southend United. However, he proved unsuccessful having only scored one goal throughout his time at the club. Now in League Two with Crawley Town, he is yet to score in nine appearances.
David Connolly – Rather like Barnard, Connolly too took the drop down the divisions; sadly, his goalscoring also replicated Barnard’s struggles. After joining AFC Wimbledon on the 5th January 2015, he scored once in eight appearances. On the 7th March 2015, Connolly retired from playing.
Papa Waigo – The Senegalese forward currently plays for Al-Ittihad Kalba SC in the United Arab Emirates. Over two seasons in the UAE, he has maintained a goal every two games; the Waigo dance should be fairly familiar by now. I wonder if he is still offside?
Who better to end this trip down memory lane with than Sir Rickie Lambert? 207 appearances, 106 goals. By now, everyone knows the story of the Liverpool born striker; but none quite like the Southampton fans who enjoyed five years of belting free kicks, rifled penalties and net ripping volleys. Having only scored one goal in ten games for West Bromwich Albion, it’s up for debate whether Lambert still has it. However, one thing for sure is that he looked a damn sight better in red and white.