Well it was, wasn't it? Great banter in the Rose of Denmark beforehand with the Norwich boys and girls. Good fun, and as it turned out, we will see them again next year, or at least I hope so, but more of that later. The game had an end of season feel to it, which given what was at stake for Norwich struck me as a bit strange. In fairness, their chances of survival were very poor, and much like us, the general feeling was that they knew they were going to be relegated in November last year. For me it was November 1st, when I genuinely believed we were likely to go down after the abject performance against Barnsley.
Even after a 4-2 victory, I still felt a tad irked. Once again, as for most of the season, we had let in two soft goals, one from a woeful piece of defending that left a Norwich player unmarked in the six yard box, and the second from a free kick awarded for a panic tackle on the edge of our area. Nevertheless I enjoyed the game, but I didn't wait around to see if the players did a lap of honour.
So now the summer, and the great clear out, both of players and staff will begin in earnest. I have kept the table showing when the players contracts expire updated, and if correct, the following first team squad players will be out of contract in a months time.
Ambrose, Burton, Dickson, Fortune, Holland, Randolph, Todorov, Wagstaff, Wright, Weaver, Zhi
Of these, the only one I am expecting to be offered a new deal is Fortune. It is also possible that Wright and / or Wagstaff may be offered new terms. I am not convinced that either Holland or Randolph will be. In addition to these, the candidates to be invited to seek employment elsewhere will probably be Gray, Moutaouakil, Fleetwood, and McLeod. Sadly, we will also lose players, albeit for a transfer fee, and so a probable goodbye to at least three of Shelvey, Racon, Hudson, Bailey, and Sam.
It could be worse, we could be Norwich. As has been widely reported, they have managed to attract 18,000 season ticket holders for next season, which sounds like great news for them, but unfortunately part of the deal was that if Norwich got relegated, then they would receive 20% of their money back. According to a Norwich fan in the Rose of Denmark yesterday, the club is already asking the fans to waive their right to the refund. It has been reported that if Norwich were to pay the 20% refund back, it would tip them into administration. There is also considerable doubt as to whether Southampton are going to be able to avoid full blown liquidation.
As for talk of Peter Varney riding white knight like into the Valley, well it is just that for now.....talk. Silly season now begins, and I hope you all have a great summer, and that we all return invigorated for the new season.