My Saints Story
My name is Luke Weir, I’m 18 years old and I am a Southampton supporter from Oxford – weird right? So the story goes like this…
My love of football came quite a bit later than most and am reliably informed that I used to prefer playing the beautiful game as opposed to watching it. In fact, I would often leave the room if the football was turned on – nowadays you’d have to force me to leave. The turning point came at the 2010 World Cup after viewing the back end of the 2009 Premier League season, this is despite England’s disappointment with the Frank Lampard goal that should have been remaining a vivid memory. I then continued to take a big interest during the following season, in particular Manchester United (my brother’s team) and Oxford United (my local team). That was about to change…
I continued to follow Oxford and still do to this day – yes I’m one of those annoying people that supports two teams! However, once I was able to think for myself I realised I had no connection to Manchester United and it didn’t feel right for me to support them. Meanwhile I was impressed with what Nigel Adkins was doing at Saints and their rise up the leagues from league 1 to the Premier League was admirable. Valiant performances against the two Manchester clubs at the start of their first season back in the top flight also caught my eye as they were proving an enjoyable team to watch. My brother then went on to study medicine at the University of Southampton in the September of 2014 which is how the connection was made.
After almost a year of visiting my brother in Southampton and getting a good tour of the city my first Saints game came in the middle of the 2014/15 season with the visit of Swansea. It proved a disappointing outcome with a Jonjo Shelvey strike from distance securing the points for the visitors late on. We also saw an entertaining clash with Spurs towards the end of that campaign with the scores finishing level at 2-2 with help from a Graziano Pelle double. We started the 2015/16 season against Manchester United at St Mary’s, the game was entertaining despite the hosts suffering a 3-2 defeat but it wasn’t just the 90 minutes that I enjoyed. The build up was exciting, the atmosphere was great, the ground was nice and there was a family vibe around the club that I was drawn towards. Upon leaving the ground, a thought popped into my head – ‘I could see myself doing this more often’, and the rest they say is history.
Whenever, me and my mum would then go to visit my brother, we made an effort to tie it in with visiting St Mary’s for another game. I didn’t have to wait too long for the next match with it coming in November against Bournemouth in a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Steven Davis and Pelle again. Saints then lost 2-1 to Chelsea in our next game at the start of February with the winning goal coming in controversial circumstances late on. One of the most thrilling matches I’ve been to came in May of the same season as Saints swept aside Manchester City in a 4-2 win as Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick which helped secure a Europa League place for next season.
I was unable to get to too many games in the 2016/17 campaign with the highlight being holding the league leaders Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the pouring rain. The following season began with another 3-2 score-line, although this time it was in the Saints’ favour in a dramatic win over West Ham thanks to a last-minute Charlie Austin penalty. We then saw a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United and a 1-1 draw with Tottenham in a largely disappointing season for Saints.
We saw three games in the season just gone, after watching Mark Hughes’ side lose 3-0 in a friendly with Derby County at Pride Park. The first league game was also a poor outing as Southampton suffered another late defeat to Leicester City at the end of August. We also went down to see the Welshman’s final game at the club in a 2-2 draw with Man United after going 2-0 up. However, we did eventually see a win at the start of January in a nervy 2-1 victory over Everton; the new-found optimism since the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl was evident with the atmosphere being one of the best I have seen at St Mary’s.
That remains my last Southampton game and I am looking forward to many more in the years to come.
I have taken an interest in writing about sport in recent years and have therefore just completed my first year of studying multimedia sports journalism at UCFB Wembley. I am extremely excited about this new opportunity of writing content for Saints World from next season for what should hopefully be a successful season!