On the 8th July 2009, Markus Liebherr became the man that saved my football team. A team that I had been supporting since my dad took me to my first ever game at the old ground ‘The Dell’.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) July 7, 2014
The Saints had been through a few ups and downs but 2009 saw us fans in danger of losing our football club. A few people had shown interest but there seems to have been more time wasters hovering around the club as well. As the days in administration passed, it looked ever more probable that the club was about to die. A consortium backed by Matt Le Tissier withdrew an offer and there appeared to be no more interest left for our beloved football team.
Serious fears of Southampton no longer existing grew stronger until Nicola Cortese saw the opportunity that our club provided. He brought Markus Liebherr to Southampton and lo and behold we had a saviour.
ONE MARKUS LIEBHERR ONE MARKUS LIBEHERR WALKING ALONG SING A SONG WALKING IN A LIEBHERR WONDERLAND! #saintsfc
— Markus Liebherr (@OnlyOneMarkus) July 7, 2014
Markus was to say later that he had fallen in love with Southampton FC very quickly. He bought our club and appointed Nicola Cortese as our chairman. Nicola Cortese then brought in Alan Pardew as manager. Nicola and Markus were very close and our chairman had the total backing of our saviour.
Together they had a dream. A dream that would see Southampton rise back to the Premier League. Furthermore, one that they hoped would see the Saints in Europe and fighting hard for honours.
Markus authorised purchases of players and the improvements that were made in all departments of the club saw us grow. A state of the art training facility and improved scouting arrangements with a better run Academy were the icing on the cake.
Under the new management team, Saints began the long climb back to the upper echelons of English football. Starting 10 points behind the rest of League One as punishment for going into administration was not a good place to begin. However, Saints bought well and the team began to flourish. We climbed the league and finished in a respectable position just below the play-off places. We also won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley in front of an extremely content Markus.
Seeing pictures of a happy smiling Markus Liebherr always take me back to the days when he took over the reins at our club. Markus and Nicola will never be forgotten as they gave us Southampton FC fans our club back.
I could go on but I think I’ll leave it there for my nod to the man on the anniversary of him buying the club.
I’d love to hear the memories of others from that time.