Saints’ pre-season

They may not have the most vocal supporters, but Southampton is surrounded by a very faithful fan base that was rewarded this summer with two friendlies against well-known La Liga sides.

I've always been a fan of Ernesto Valverde
I’ve always been a fan of Ernesto Valverde
Dusan Tatic taking pictures with his fans
Dusan Tatic taking pictures with his fans

There was a busy summer at St. Mary’s with a lot of backstage work from the partnerships and sponsorships department. The club sealed two important deals with Under Armour as kit supplier and with Virgin Media as main club sponsor. If the first one is a long-term partnership that is scheduled to end in 2023, the other one is just a three year deal. However, they both share one common characteristic: having fans at heart of everything they do.

In order to honour the partnership with Under Armour, the Saints headed to Baltimore in the USA where they were hosted by the central headquarters of the American kit supplier. It was a positive experience for the players who got the chance to get back on track and to play their first friendly match of the pre-season against DC United U23. As Southampton became well-known for its youth academy, it was also a big chance for some of clubs’ youngsters to train with players from the first team and to complete a training camp under the close supervision of Calude Puel.

Captain Fonte came back to St. Mary's as an European Champion
Captain Fonte came back to St. Mary’s as European Champion

USA was followed by Holland, where Soton managed to win three times against local teams: Zwolle (0-4), Twente (1-2) and Groningen (0-1).

The repercussions of attracting Virgin Media on the Saints’ side have already affected their fans in a positive way at the end of this pre-season. First of all, the first match against Espanyol (1-1) was completly free for all the fans who bought a ticket for the other friendly match against Athletic Bilbao (1-0). It is truly fantastic what Virgin Media tries to do: not just paying money to the club, but sponsoring the club to reach Saints’ fan base and to

Jossu Urutia, the president of Athletic Bilbao
Jossu Urutia, the president of Athletic Bilbao

reward the supporters too, without any strings attached. And that’s not all. They have also made a discount for all the official members that bought tickets for the home game against Southampton and discounted tickets and free bus ride for the Manchester United away game for all the season ticket holders.

I will talk about the club’s strategy and its official partners in a future article, but until then I will summarize the two friendlies that I’ve seen at St. Mary’s by saying that it’s been a good prologue for the next season, which can be the best in the history of Premier League. The game against Bilbao brought over 17.000 fans at the stadium and it was special because of the passionate fans of Bilbao that supported Athletic as they always do!

Saints' substitutes against Athletic
Saints’ substitutes against Athletic. Jay Rodriguez looking at Charlie Ausin
IMAG0788
It’s unlikely that Claude Puel has already chosen a standard first 11 for the next season

 

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Substitutes warming up for the second half of the game in their new Under Armour kit

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