Learning from football: How to be hated in Southampton

Southampton’s exodus continued this week, as Saints captain Adam Lallana moved to Liverpool for £25m, following the exits of fellow England and World Cup teammates Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw. However, […]


Southampton’s exodus continued this week, as Saints captain Adam Lallana moved to Liverpool for £25m, following the exits of fellow England and World Cup teammates Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw.

However, while both Shaw, and in particular, Lambert, go with Southampton fans’ warmest regards, Lallana, who has been at the club for 14 years since he was 12, will be sure to receive a brutal reception on his return to St Mary’s. A player who has been nurtured by the club, and who has received significant support during the health and heart issues he suffered as a teenager, his lack of respect has angered almost all associated with the club.

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Lallana’s conduct over the last few months is a perfect example of the typical mercenary footballer. From kissing the badge and saying how he loves the club and will stay as long as Southampton want him, to getting a sniff of money and demanding to leave. This is made all the more difficult as he has been at the club for such a long time, and had a real affinity with the fans.

In December, referee Mark Clattenburg was reported to have said to Lallana:

You are very different now, since you’ve played for England – you never used to be like this.

At the time Saints fans widely panned these comments and backed Lallana. However, on recent evidence, Clattenburg may well have got it spot on. Prior to his move to Liverpool, he is reported to have threatened to go on strike, telling the Southampton hierarchy he would never play for Saints again.

However, the aspect of this transfer which leaves the most sour taste in the mouth is that clearly Lallana is very two-faced. Despite his badge-kissing antics last year, in his first interview as a Liverpool player he has been quoted as saying:

Last season, deep down, I was thinking: hopefully one day I’ll be able to play in that team. That dream is reality now.

With many Liverpool fans not too impressed at spending £25m on a 26 year old with two seasons in the Premier League, he will have to hope that he has a good start at the club – or he may regret leaving Southampton where, prior to his indiscretions, he was regarded as a loyal legend at the club, in the mould of Matt Le Tissier.

Snaky or fair? What do you think about Saints losing all their best players? Let us know in the comments.