Another Solent valley Saturday

Southampton away, and it’s likely to be a bit nippy.

Here we go again and it’s time for another trip to the south coast, which is just what you want in January. At least there won’t be much holiday traffic and the hotels will be cheaper of you fancy making a weekend of it.

Southampton. It’s another identikit, soulless bowl for another identikit, soulless club. Apart from an annoyingly good youth policy that raises far more money when they sell players than it should there’s not much more you can say about them. Life down there was a lot more interesting when they had that ground that looked like it was about to fall down any minute and an away end that held about five hundred, approximately seven of who could see all the pitch. Now they’ve got a nice, shiny ground and lots of nice, shiny supporters to fill it until they get relegated, at which point about fifteen thousand of them will remember they support Manchester United after all.

They’ve got a manager whose beard is at least ten years too young for him, Che Adams whose transfer fee kept Small Heath in business for a few more months and Jan Bednarek out on loan to us for some reason. He can’t play for us this afternoon and you may wonder if he ever will again. We’ve got a couple more injuries from the past week’s endeavours and for the first time since last summer we’ll not have to debate the pointlessness of playing Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins together. Instead, we can debate why we’ve let two strikers go, we’re signing one who can’t play for us yet and there’s no sign of any others. Still, they know what they’re doing.

Southampton are another club who’ve defied gravity for far too long. This is definitely the season they go down and we’ll be helping them. Have they still got that statue?