On the Ball with Mark Wheat: Saints Go Marching

by Mark Wheat

Friends Provident St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England.
Friends Provident St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England. (Dan Kerins via Wikimedia Commons)

On the Ball with Mark Wheat is a new Monday feature on The Current that celebrates the connections between music and soccer, with an eye to the past weekend's results.

Thank you, Southampton!! They made me look like a prophet by scoring their equalizer against Man Utd four minutes from the end. Three weeks ago in this column I said that I preferred to see Man U one nil down at half time rather than one nil up, as they were on Saturday; they seem to be better at coming from behind.

Match highlights from NBC Sports:

But it was a good game for the neutrals, which isn't a bad way to be. Just because I have been suggesting that you can support one team more than another, doesn't mean that it's mandatory. In fact, I've for years enjoyed watching multiple American Football games without totally ever being a decided fan of one team.

Another great way to enjoy more of the games, to have a reason to be engaged, is Fantasy Football. This is the first year that I've tried it and it has already paid dividends. My Wheat United are not very good, about 1.5 millionth in the Official Prem League, but this weekend my loudest cheer was for Steven Pienaar when NBC went to the end of the Everton game and they said he'd come on as a sub and scored with his first touch! He's on my team!

Good to see Arsenal and Chelsea produce some cracking football for the neutrals, too: four goals each and setting the pace at the top of the table. It's also good to see Liverpool back in the Top 4, replacing the stuttering Champions. Spurs fans must be pleased, in 5th again, a place they haven't liked to finish in the past two years. But with the massive signing of Gareth Bale by Real Madrid, some thought Spurs would stumble, but Bale's SEVEN replacements have started to gel.

The most surprising table position OTHER than United (8th) is Southampton. The point at Old Trafford was the best result so far of a very solid start. In 2001, they moved from their famous old home ground at The Dell to the new Friends Provident St. Mary's Stadium, but it was a homecoming for Southampton F.C. because of the new stadium's proximity to St. Mary's, the church where the club was founded on Nov. 21, 1885, by members of the St. Mary's Church of England Young Men's Association. This connection has meant their fans own one of the most-often sung terrace songs ever. Most teams have to replace 'the Saints' with their team's nickname, but Southampton's nickname is The Saints, so as Mr. Armstrong says, everyone can sing along with them...

What game did you watch this weekend? What song did it bring to mind for you?

Related Stories

  • On the Ball with Mark Wheat: How I Became a Man Utd Fan At long last: Here's the story of how I came to be a supporter of Manchester United. And among my fellow Red Devils fans is none other than David Gedge of The Wedding Present.
  • On the Ball with Mark Wheat: Who's Your Team? What team do you support? Maybe you don't have a fave yet. If not, here are some reasons why you may want to throw your support behind The Black Cats of Sunderland AFC. Plus, goals of the week and a music selection.
  • On the Ball with Mark Wheat On the Ball with Mark Wheat is a new Monday feature on The Current that celebrates the connections between music and soccer, with an eye to the past weekend's results. This week, Mark looks at West Brom's 2 - 1 defeat of Manchester United in the Premier League.

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