The University of Southampton
International Voices

Premiere League Matches in Southampton

Four countries, three continents, one team

‘Of All The Unimportant Things, Football Is The Most Important’, says the popular quote. And sure, football (or soccer for people across the ocean) is hugely popular in majority of the countries in the world, especially in Europe. I am sure everyone has that friend that seems to follow the games on phone, checks the scores every minute, knows the latest transfers and watches the replays of matches to see how teams perform.

Mandatory selfie

I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and although our national team only had its debut on World Cup in Brazil three years ago (it wasn’t a penalty against Nigeria!), we are a nation that had great players that played in great teams. Džeko, Pjanić, Begović, Spahić, Ibišević, Salihamidžić are just some of the names that have to ring a bell for anyone that has any knowledge about football, and many of players from Bosnia have played in UK as well. Džeko was in Manchester City for a couple of years and we, as a nation, followed Premiership even more because of that.  Begović, a goal keeper, who (unfortunately) started his career in Portsmouth, moved from Stoke to Chelsea, and moments like these made us felt proud.

With all this in mind, when I told my friends I am going to UK to study, their first reaction was: ‘oooh, you will get to see football matches’. And, even better, when I told them that I was going to Southampton, which plays in Premiere League, they were amazed. I have to admit that I mostly followed Champions League in the past and didn’t know a lot about Soton, but I knew I had to go to games and support my future team!

To make things even better, Southampton FC was ranked quite good and even played in Europa League, so as soon as I came to Southampton, I checked the schedule and saw that there is an upcoming game with F.C. Internazionale. Inter is a legendary club and that game was something that my friends and I couldn’t miss, so as soon as the tickets were available, we bought them and waited eagerly for the match.

The stadium was full!
Watering the stadium, makes the ball go faster

I remember that day, it was raining a bit while we waited for us to gather, and I could see people of all ages rushing to the stadium, with the scarves, jerseys and chanting songs. We didn’t need Google Maps to reach the stadium, almost 30 thousand people in red-white colours were going towards the St Mary’s stadium in those couple of hours and it was enough to just follow the trail. I felt enthusiastic, excited and couldn’t wait for the thrills to enter the stadium and for the match to kick off.  Of course, few days before, I started practicing the chants, so I was eager to sing the ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ with two dozen thousand people.

Some action was happening

The game was simply amazing. It was the first, and the best game so far I’ve been to, as the stadium was packed, the weather was perfect, the seats were good and there were three goals. The game was intense. Inter scored the first one, but the Saints didn’t give up, and even after a missed penalty, we scored two goals , so the end result was 2:1 for the home team. Hearing the crowd go wild for the final whistle was amazing and as as result of that, my voice was quite different in the following days.

A supporter scarf and a flag

As I write this, we are trying to get the tickets for the EFL Cup Final game, Southampton versus Manchester F.C., on legendary Wembley. This, and spring games in Premiere League are a recipe for great next few months and I will try to see as much games as possible, as the atmosphere and the overall experience is really great. Even for people that dislike football (like majority of girls), this is definitely a must thing to do while being here and this memory is something that will be with you forever.

Just remember these few lines, as the might come handy: Oh when the saints! Oh when the saints! Oh when the saints go marching in! I want to be, in that number! Oh when the Saints go marching in. And applause!

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