Ah, Leicester City. The high-flying team led by a surprising talent at striker in Jamie Vardy and coming from a relegation battle last season to be currently leading the league in what could be an historic moment for English football, should they win the title. Their competition for the title? None other than the strongly disliked Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham Hotspur side.
The fact that Spurs are the other option to a Leicester City title has seemingly had some fans questioning their loyalty this weekend when the Saints meet the Foxes.
"I want Leicester City to beat us so they can win the league and stay above Tottenham" is along the lines of something I've seen several times from Saints fans in the past week. And that's really, really awful. I'm actually surprised that this has come up to be honest. But someone has to speak up and say something to those fans, so here we go.
First of all, Leicester City are 5 points clear of Tottenham with the same games played. If the Foxes lose that lead, that is their own doing. Sure, a Southampton victory obviously hurts Leicester, but even if Spurs were to beat Liverpool this weekend, they'd still be two points off.
Second, what do we have to fight for? Currently Saints sit in a possible Europa League qualification spot at 7th. They are one point over Stoke, three over Liverpool and six over Chelsea. Chelsea and Liverpool both have games in hand, but that doesn't guarantee a win for either of them, especially with Liverpool playing Tottenham this weekend.
Southampton making it to Europe is actually more of a big deal than some of you may think. Southampton in Europe builds an identity, it builds a brand and makes money. So whether or not you go on and win the Europa League, it does good things for a club, it also is very fun for the fans, from what I saw from Vitesse and that place in Denmark that I can't spell.
So while some team and their fans, and apparently some Saints fans, may laugh at the Europa League, remember that Southampton aren't much of a well-known commodity in European competitions yet. As a Southampton fan, no European tournament should be taken for granted, considering where this club once was.
Another argument from fans is that even if Southampton make it to Europe, what would we do anyways? We don't have depth and would be in for a relegation dogfight. I disagree with that. See, this is a learning process for the club and its fans. Some quickly forget that Saints haven't been back in the top-flight all that long. Everyone is learning, whether they're still gaining experience on the Premier League and the tips and tricks to the league, or of course, still learning about Europe. And those four matches in the qualification rounds were huge learning lessons, and are going to be good for the club for years to come, even though they didn't make it any further.
Southampton and Ronald Koeman now know a little about what it's going to take. They've gotten their feet wet and they'll be stronger next time. Whether that is doing more research on possible opponents, watching other Premier League clubs in Europe and seeing how they manage themselves, or signing players earlier and creating more depth for the squad so early in the season, they'll be a lot tougher opponent. If there's anyone I would trust adapting to the Europa League, it'd be the staff that currently calls Southampton "home."
Not to mention, the whole anti-loyalty part of "rooting for Leicester City to beat us" is mind-blowing to me. As Southampton fans, we've prided ourselves on being loyal fans, that have "been around since League One," only to consider cheering for a team to beat us so another can't win. And who knows, maybe if this is Portsmouth challenging Leicester for the title, maybe I have a different opinion, but it's Tottenham, who I hate, but not enough to hope another team beats mine so they can't win.
What I'm saying, and I'll try to make this as clear as possible, is: Cheer for your own club. How embarrassing could it be if Southampton were to finish in a Champions League spot with the help of three points off of Leicester City and while you're celebrating, others remember back to the time you cheered against Saints for another team.
What's that, Tommy? Champions League, you say? Yes, just a quick reminder that Southampton are only 4 points off of a top-4 spot. Crazy, huh? Yet here we are talking about supporting another team to beat us.
I personally want my club to have as many points as possible at the end of the season, even if that means knocking down a team looking destined for the history books. I would love to see the Foxes win the title this season, but not at the expense of Southampton.
I'd like to thank you if you've gotten this far in my rant for reading this. I've got one last thing to say.
Finally, I'd like to just tell you, fans that have a "dilemma" this weekend, find where your loyalty lies. Is your hate for another club so strong that you'd take a week off as a Saint and join Portsmouth fans in rooting against Southampton?