Although, as of late, results on the pitch have not been going Southampton’s way, as such, the growing reputation of the football club and its international prestige is improving as each day goes by; a testament to the club as a whole and what it offers to people.
Not so long ago, I spoke to a passionate Australian fan named John Paron regarding his support for the club all the way down under in an interview that really opened my eyes to just how far these guys go to support Saints, no matter how far away they are from the action itself.
Most recently, I also spoke to highly passionate Southampton supporter Tayo Adetoye from Lagos, in Nigeria, about his love for the club and just how the good word of the Saints is spreading across his country.
I would like to thank Tayo for his time to answer these questions, as I would like to thank him for his commitment, dedication, and passion for this wonderful football club.
What made you support Southampton?
Thank you for that question. I think my answer hasn’t changed whenever I am asked this question. I am a Christian and every Christian is a Saint. After supporting Man United for several years, I then became born again in 2007. After my conversion, I think I needed a football team that will be akin to my Christianity as you know, Man United are nicknamed the ‘Red Devils’, which is totally against my faith. My allegiance to Southampton started in 2012 when someone bought a local tabloid where Southampton was called the ‘Saints’. I decided to get more information about them and I was happy to hear the team emerge from a church team. Since then I have not looked back and I won’t. Now, I have Saints in my DNA.
What was your first experience with Southampton?
My first experience will have to be when I saw the name Southampton, referred to as ‘The Saints’ in our local tabloid; it’s a sports paper called Complete Sport.
How long have you been supporting?
This is my fourth season with the Saints.
How many Nigerian Saints do you know?
I converted few people in my areas and some of my family to Saints. So I know all the Saints fans in my locality, numbering about 20.
Are there organised meet-ups to watch games with fellow fans where you are?
Yes, we do that when we have big games. They meet in my house before going to watch the game.
How do Nigerian football fans’ perceptions of football differentiate between English fans?
There’s no difference; everyone supports his/her teams and they want their rival team to lose just like it is in England. But the little difference is that only the big clubs have the majority of supporters, unlike in England, where every club has their own fans. So when people see me in my Southampton shirt, they are surprised to see a Saints fan in Nigeria.
What is it about Southampton that you love the most?
I think I will say the production of young players who have turned out to become superstars, and the loving and caring fans. I really love the city and I hope to be there one day.
Is there one player you’d like to see at the club in the near future?
To be honest, I would like us to sign a Nigerian player. I had first thought we would go for some players of the victorious Nigeria under-17’s. Nigeria have won the FIFA U17 World Cup, back to back, and some of the players I think should have been signed by Southampton.
What is your greatest memory of Southampton?
Since I started supporting the club, it has to be the victory at Old Trafford last season. It was long overdue. Also, our qualification to Europe last season was a great memory and to have some of the European kits sent to me here in Nigeria, makes it greater.
Who is your current favourite Saints player?
That should be our captain, Jose Fonte, for his loyalty and commitment to the club. He’s a quality leader.
Where do you think Southampton will finish this season?
Every season I have always wanted us to finish in the top four, and this season it has not changed. Do you know that I haven’t watched a live Champions League football for the past two seasons? I have vowed I won’t watched a live Champions League match until Saints qualify, so this might be our season. We have the players and the manager that can achieve that for us.
Once again, I would like to thank Tayo for taking the time out to talk to me about his support, all the way from Nigeria.