Where Are They Now? Southampton’s JPT Winners
Southampton enjoyed a stellar season in the Premier League by finishing in 7th and qualifying for the Europa League. The club briefly spent time in the top four spots challenging the elite, though not so long ago they were in and around the summit of League One.
The club has come so far in such a short space of time, thanks largely to one of the most successful academies the world has ever seen. Having suffered relegations from the top flight and then the Championship, winning the Johntsone’s Paint Trophy in 2010 was the first major high point in their run back to the Premiership.
Here’s the team that beat Carlisle 4-1 at Wembley and what they have done since.
Goalkeeper – Kelvin Davis
Club stalwart Davis remains at the club heading into his tenth season on the south coast, albeit as second fiddle to the impressive Fraser Forster. Davis featured in Southampton’s final few league games this year due to Forster’s knee injury and played his 300th game for the club on the final day. A legend who has stuck with the club through thick and thin, the 38-year-old is a firm favourite with everyone at St Mary’s.
Defender – Dan Harding
With over 100 appearances for the Saints, Harding was favoured during his three years at St Mary’s, though has found it tough going since leaving in 2012. Nottingham Forest signed him up but loaned him to Millwall in January. The 31-year-old may have to leave the City Ground to find regular football, even if it means dropping back to the third tier.
Defender – Radhi Jaidi
Tunisian legend Jaidi is another that remains with the club, though he has since hung up his boots. Jaidi works with Southampton as a coach having struggled with injury during the latter stages of his career, one which included spells at Bolton and Birmingham. The ex-centre-back is now helping develop the defenders of the future through their excellent academy.
Defender – Jose Fonte
Club captain Fonte has improved year on year and become integral in Southampton’s supreme defence. He picked up the Fans’ Player of the Year last season and was unlucky not to be included in the Premier League Team of the Year. Added to that, Fonte has even been capped by his native Portugal at 31-years-old! Not bad for the former Sporting Lisbon youth product.
Defender – Joseph Mills
Brother of Matthew, defender Mills failed to nail town his first team spot and was subsequently moved on having come through the system. Spells at Reading and Burnley ended in disappointment, but hopefully he will reuild a fledgling career with Oldham.
Midfielder – Paul Wotton
Retired at the end of Plymouth’s unsuccessful play-off campaign this season, Wotton will be remembered most by his hometown team. He played over 500 games for Argyle during a career that started and finished at Home Park. Likely to take on a coaching role with the club.
Midfielder – Dean Hammond
During a career that has featured teams such as Aldershot, Leyton Orient and Brighton, Hammond has finally reached the Premier League. The now-Leicester City midfielder featured in the Foxes great escape having led Southampton to the JPT five years ago. A return to Brighton in 2012 led to a switch to Leicester where he enjoyed promotion and a taste of life in the top flight.
Midfielder – Michail Antonio
Scorer of 15 goals this season for Nottingham Forest, Antonio has become one of the Championship’s most feared wingers. Antonio was prolific during his time with Southampton too, notching seven times including once in the JPT Final on his 20th birthday. Manager Alan Pardew wanted Antonio to stay but his parent club, Reading, opted to loan him out yet again. Expect him in the Premier League within the next 12 months.
Midfielder – Adam Lallana
Liverpool and England came calling for youth prodigy Lallana following a superb season with Southampton. Costing the Merseyside club around £26m, 27-year-old Lallana scored six times for the Reds during a difficult debut season. Lallana was 21 when the JPT Final came around and scored the second just before half-time to give the side a 2-0 lead. Made over 250 appearances for the Saints, scoring 60 goals.
Forward – Rickie Lambert
Like Lallana, Lambert has spent time wearing Liverpool and England shirts since 2010, a match in which he opened the scoring from the penalty spot. Having worked so hard to make it to the Premier League, Lambert scored 28 gaols in two seasons with Southampton to earn a spot in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad. The veteran forward also scored on his England debut within minutes of coming on as a substitute against Scotland to herald a spectacular rise to the top. Although he struggled with Liverpool this season, Lambert has scored a Champions League strike for his boyhood team to his name.
Forward – Papa Waigo
The Senegalese striker came in on loan from Fiorentina but failed to impress enough to earn a contract with Southampton. Instead Waigo has toured Italy and the Middle East rather like an unsuccessful tribute act, struggling to stay at a club for more than 12 months. Now playing for Al-Ittihad Kalba in the UAE.
Manager – Alan Pardew
Newcastle too a punt on Pardew following his good work with Southampton, and surprised everyone by succeeding at St James’ Park. Pardew led the Magpies to 5th, though endured criticism throughout his tenure, one which featured an infamous headbutt on Hull’s David Meyler. Now freed from his critics at Newcastle by an ambitious Crystal Palace, former-player Pardew led the Eagles into the top half for the first time in their Premier League history.
Released following the climax of the 2010 campaign, youth product Simon Gillett followed Sean O’Driscoll to Doncaster and then Nottingham Forest but has since settled at Yeovil. Another of those released at the time was ex-Spurs defender Chris Perry. Now a pundit for TalkSport, Perry retired immediately following his release from St Mary’s. David Connolly has also hung up his boots, last appearing for AFC Wimbledon in May after a couple of years at rivals Portsmouth.