Saints go marching in to the Premier League
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Saints go marching in to the Premier League

27/05/24 10:38

And so the saints go marching in. Leeds don’t quite march on together, they stumble back in unison into another year in the Championship. Southampton however, are marching into the Premier League with an exciting young manager, who promises to provide some south coast spark amongst the elite.

The Saints took to the Wembley turf as the underdogs, maybe unfairly, given the 3 point gap that separated the two teams. Many had tipped Leeds to be the ones entertaining the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool next season. But it will be the dynamic Russell Martin, who will visits some of English Footballs most famous parishes next season.

Southampton quietly went about their business all season. Adam Armstrong, a criminally underrated centre forward since his departure from Newcastle United, provided the dagger to the Leeds hearts on this decisive May afternoon. Many who had taken note of the forwards performances this season will know that he was the catalyst for their promotion push. 24 goals is no mean feat in this unpredictable division. Supporters of the south coast outfit will hope that he will continue his impressive form into 24/25.

Leeds will be reeling from missed chances. The reality is, they just weren’t quite good enough. You need a bit of luck to get out of the Championship – and when the evergreen Alex McCarthy thwarted Dan James late on, you knew their luck was out.

Russell Martin deserves all the plaudits. This was his day. Neil Warnock, presenting for Sky Sports, had a quiet word before his interview. Warnock, a master of gaining promotion to the top flight (4 to his name), was perhaps wishing the diminutive young coach all the luck in the world for next season. He will need it.

His side play free flowing football, similar to that of Vincent Kompany’s Burnley. Martin will take note of how the Belgians stubbornness to not deviate from his principles – resulted in a one way ticket back to the Championship. He will have faith in the players which afforded him the opportunity to mix it with the elite of the top division, but knows that he must make sound additions to the squad. Kyle Walker Peters, Che Adams, et al, just a couple of players with experience in the finest league in world football.

But who would bet against this Southampton team? The bookies, you may say. The Saints will be odds on for a swift return to the Championship. A sizeable task is one which this young side will be willing to take on with all their might.

Southampton played at Wembley against Manchester United in a league cup final in 2017, narrowly missing out in the show piece final to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner. Who is to say Russell Martin won’t be the one to lead them out in another final. There is something brewing at St Mary’s. Let’s see how next season pans out.

“Oh when The Saints”

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Alex Jones

Writer

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