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Opinion

Southampton getting ever more ridiculous with Newcastle United postponed match

2 weeks ago
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Southampton are like a dog with a bone.

Ralph Hasenhuttl once again on Friday howling at the moon at the perceived injustices, that he and his club are facing.

Namely, their postponed match against Newcastle United.

Even before Newcastle were forced to cancel their game against Everton due to a mixture of Covid cases and injuries (the same as numerous other clubs…), the Southampton boss was insisting that the Saints v NUFC match three days later had to go ahead.

The Southampton manager making out that Newcastle United were somehow doing something unreasonable, potentially underhand, in being forced to cancel matches.

Now he is at it again…

Ralph Hasenhuttl – 7 January 2022:

“We were discussing in the Premier League meeting [of managers] about what happens with the winter signings in the postponed games and whether they are allowed to play or not.

“I raised it at the last Premier League meeting and that we should think about it because of the integrity of the league.

“It’s not really fair to play in games that have been postponed and the last word hasn’t been spoken so far.”

Southampton fans commenting via their Saints Web message board:

‘I think the main crux is that only Newcastle have the ability, to in effect, build an entirely new team. They could then face us with 4 or 5 star players who would immediately lift them above our available quality. That seems slightly unfair given the team we would have faced had the fixture gone ahead at the time it was supposed to.

That’s the fear I think most have. An extremely winnable game a week or so ago, could turn into an impossible task in a few weeks due to their investment.’

‘Interesting reaction from Jordan and Keown on talkSport. They said it was interesting – ie they didn’t say we were being ridiculous – mainly because NUFC had asked for the postponement because of injuries rather than covid. I think we all can see, or (being charitable) at least suspect, that NUFC have played the system.’

‘I understand why some have an issue but that is just the unfortunate circumstances we find ourselves in. The PL agreed to the postponement, they can’t now just change the rules on account of their takeover giving them increased spending power. Where is the line in the sand if that happens? Man City prior to their takeover was always a very winnable game. Do we retrospectively null-and-void all their wins against us since Mansour bought them on account of all the money they have spent and the fact they wouldn’t have been able to spend it without the takeover happening?!

Nobody seems unduly worried about Brentford going out and signing a load more players before the re-arranged fixture.’

‘I just really hope we use the postponement as an incentive and go out and beat whatever Newcastle team is put in front of us. For me they clearly played the system and used gamesmanship aka cheating.’

‘What a huge, massive crock of sh.t. What happens if Newcastle sell a few players in the meantime too? Do they get to come back to Newcastle to fulfil those fixtures?

The PL agreed to postpone the game. They can’t just turn around after doing it and say “oh, by the way you cant play any of your new players for the Saints game”. Interesting to note nobody seems to be talking about the also postponed Brentford game with the same concern.

Its just one of those things. Get over it.’

‘Perhaps the fairest way would to play postponed matches without players signed in the January transfer window?’

‘Perhaps there should be a take over window where clubs can only be taken over in the close season.’

‘In almost any other season this game being postponed would not cause any concern.

But we have never before had a case where a struggling club goes into the January transfer window with the capability to effectively upgrade its entire team.

If the situation does not challenge “the integrity of the competition” I don’t know what does.’

The thing is, Ralph Hasenhuttl surely knows that raising this yet again, at such a late stage, is simply sh.t stirring for the sake of it.

How exactly would this all work, if you started banning clubs from playing newly signed players in rearranged matches?

A number of clubs have already brought in new signings, such as Everton, Newcastle and Villa.

You can’t then suddenly bring in a new rule AFTER players have been signed, saying that they can’t play in certain matches, not when clubs have brought in signings in good faith.

For example, Kieran Trippier arriving in the first instance to help NUFC try and avoid relegation, yet suddenly changing the rules so that he could only be eligible to play in 17 of the remaining 19 PL games.

Or what about Everton, bringing in a new left-back and set to sell their existing one. So when they play rearranged games they can’t play either???

A club could have no goalkeepers available and sign one in January, so what happens when it comes to rearranged matches if that January signed keeper is the only one available?

Honestly, you understand the emotional response of everybody wanting what is best for their club, BUT the media entertaining and encouraging this nonsense from managers and fans, as though it is something that could feasibly happen, is just embarrassing.

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