Football: Home improvements but no rest for Jones
Southampton 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Monday 22 March 1999
A week on and in his hour of victory Jones was still struggling to get his team's defeat at Middlesbrough out of his head. During his after-match press conference he kept returning to what he saw as a missed opportunity at the Riverside Stadium, which tells you what he thinks of Bryan Robson's under-achievers.
Southampton's urgent need for a bright, new, shiny, money-making stadium of their own has been staring successive boards at The Dell in the face for years and, now that they appear to have finally got one, at St Mary's, the danger is it will come too late to preserve their Premiership status after 21 years in the top flight.
As Jones says: "The thing we've got in common with Manchester United is that we both sell out our grounds from day one each season." With a capacity of 15,000, what they have not got in common with United is the size of those sell-outs. Such is the demand for season tickets that many Saints fans resigned themselves long ago to watching reserve-team football.
If those same supporters are to watch Premiership football in the new stadium in three years' time, Southampton need to start picking up points away from home. Even if they were to win all four of their remaining home games it would still give them only 41 points and their next game at The Dell in a fortnight's time is against Arsenal, when they will be without the suspended Matt Le Tissier, Hassan Kachloul and Chris Marsden.
Wednesday's problem is exactly the opposite: they have the stadium but lack the support. They also seem to lack the ambition. As Howard Wilkinson once famously said of them: "They are a big city team with a small-town mentality."
Even with Benito Carbone back after suspension, their attack looked pitifully weak. With Michael Mols, the Utrecht striker they have been courting, set to join Rangers, Danny Wilson must find an alternative before Thursday's transfer deadline or he may find himself returning to Oakwell next season.
This was their fourth consecutive defeat and if relegation is to creep up on any one this season it might just be Wednesday. They even forfeited their record of not having lost at The Dell in 29 years, although when Marsden tried to pass the ball into his own net after 22 minutes it looked as if they might come away with something.
The task was complicated by the loss of Andy Hinchcliffe with a back injury which could keep him out of England's European Championship qualifier against Poland on Saturday. And then Le Tissier - as ever - came to Southampton's aid with a header to Matthew Oakley's cross for what you might call a Matt finish. In fact, had a couple of audacious 30-yard strikes from the Channel Islander also gone in, the win might even have had a gloss finish.
Goal: Le Tissier (41) 1-0.
Southampton (4-4-2): Jones; Dodd, Monkou, Lundekvam, Colleter (Benali, 83); Oakley (Beattie, 66), Le Tissier, Marsden, Kachloul; Ostenstad, Hughes. Substitutes not used: Ripley, Bridge, Moss (gk).
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Srnicek; Atherton, Emerson Thome, Walker, Hinchcliffe (Stefanovic, 21); Alexandersson, Sonner, Jonk (Humphreys, 85), Rudi; Booth, Carbone. Substitutes not used: Newsome, Briscoe, Pressman (gk).
Referee: R Harris (Banbury). Bookings: Southampton: Le Tissier, Kachloul, Marsden. Wednesday: Booth.
Man of the match: Le Tissier.
Latest in Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
Jose Mourinho on Sir Alex Ferguson: 'A good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much'
Arsenal vs QPR live: Latest score and updates plus reaction to wins for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...