Mike Allot, the ever-calm influence on Twitter as Saints Mike, is our man on the inside, along with Mark Middleton, bringing your questions to the Saints board at the panel events. Here Mike outines a few of his thoughts…
Editor’s note: As we’ve been building this site over the summer, the opening par is a little dated. Sadly life has this habit of getting in the way! Thanks for your patience, Saints fans.
I write (wrote!) this on the eve of the England vs Colombia game, the mood in the country is one of excitement, expectancy and hope. As a football fan for me, this is what it’s all about. I love the way the country is connecting with the national although even though they’re miles away in Russia.
Until recently I thought Southampton FC connected with us fans quite well and until two seasons ago I felt excitement, expectancy before every Saints, then things changed on the pitch and off it.
Some of you may recognise me as the bloke who stands outside St Mary’s after home games, giving it the big one on the Ugly Inside TV, calling for heads to roll in the Boardroom, questioning the commitment of the senior management, asking how a football club (that has always been classed as a great community club) can be morphed into a big business where Saints fans were being considered as customers not fans.
I don’t know about you, but I hated the thought of becoming a customer of Saints and not a Saints fan, so when the club asked for fans (not customers) to come forward and represent other fans, on a supporter panel I decided that maybe I should take my concerns and those of others to people that the decisions at the club.
Yes I know the panel cannot influence things on the playing side, well at least not for now anyway, but there are a few things I’d like to see changed at Southampton FC, safe standing for one personally, I have witnessed the change in the behaviour of football supporters since the introduction of all seater stadia, gone are the days of fighting on the terraces, so I believe that safe standing should introduced, we’ve been to away grounds in recent years where standing is the main, if not the only option.
I advocate the Twenty Is Plenty campaign but what I don’t understand is why are our club sponsors Virgin Media discounting ticket prices for away fans to come St Marys whilst home fans are paying full whack to attend the same, to me it’s wrong. Yes season ticket holders who have Virgin Media at home get a discount, only if they’re not getting already for their Virgin Media packages, so what are they doing for Saints fans? Giving us clackers?
I don’t know about you but I love the build up to a new kit, fans all over social media showing their version of what the kit should be, or the In The Know fans, whose sister’s boyfriend had the managing director of Under Armour in his cab last week and the bloke dropped the secret document containing this year’s kit sketches, it all add to the fun.
The latest kit launch really cheesed me off and it turned into somewhat of a debacle in my opinion. Southampton FC is based in Southampton, (the clue is in the club’s name) so how was a fan in Australia allowed to buy a new Saints shirt, wear it and parade it along with Brisbane Saints flag 2 days before anyone had seen it in Southampton let buy it or how can the kit be sold in Hong Kong before the Saints shop or official website?
Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame the Saints fan in Oz for this, good God no, if I had the chance to be one of the first people on the planet to photographed wearing the new Saints shirt I would done exactly what he did, bloody sure I would. I blame our kit suppliers, the club must be livid with them, if they are not why aren’t they? A question I would like to ask the powers that be, how was this allowed to happen?
I don’t know how long the panel will last or should I say how long I will last on the panel, but if you have questions you want me to ask, just drop a tweet @Mike7167 or contact the website administrator and I will do my best to get the question asked for you.
All the best for now, Mike
Come On You Reds