Saturday, 31 October 2015

George Weah's Cousin is glad of the El Clasicoast derby

Rival Lines
Premier League
Match Preview: Southampton v AFCB
Blogger Interview: George Weah's Cousin
Twitter @gwcdotcom

After some heavy defeats I have been rather apprehensive about talking about Southampton who we play next. If there is a team I really don't want to lose to it is the Saints, but it is about pride for our beloved Cherries. So when I asked Chris Ryan the author of the famous George Weah's Cousin blog a few questions about the Saints, I hoped he would not feel too confident of a big score for the Saints at the weekend. Pleasingly, even some Saint fans are just happy to see AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League.

CC: I'd better ask what is the story behind the unusual name of your blog?

GWC: I wanted a different name for my blog, and one that might reflect the fact that I never wanted it to be taken too seriously. So I decided to make it a tribute to one of the silliest moments in Saints history; when Graeme Souness signed Ali Dia purely on the basis that he said he was 'George Weah's cousin'. The rest is history!

CC: What do you think is characteristic about the Saints under Ronald Koeman that perhaps was not there under Pochettino?

GWC: The ability to adapt and change tactics dependent on the situation. Pochettino never did that. The football under him was great, but became predictable and several teams worked it out. Koeman will happily go against his philosophies for the good of a result.

CC: Pelle has been brilliant for you but do you think he is an unfashionable kind of striker?

GWC: Yes and No. Someone described him as the perfect mix of 'Old fashioned English style centre forward' and 'Fancy Dan foreigner' which I think sums him up well. He can often look a little awkward, but his hold up play is so important to us and his goal record speaks for itself. If Harry Kane scored some of the goals Pelle has you'd never hear the end of it....

CC: How do you feel about the Saint's home form - inconsistent?

GWC: I think so. It's strange because we've not been beaten on the road yet. I think last season's success brought a new level of expectation and perhaps the home crowd is resonating that. We're still gelling though and I think the best is yet to come this season.

CC: Do Saint's fans still get a rough deal when it comes to knowing what is going on at your club? (I'm thinking about your rather irregular fan forums here)

GWC: Not at all. I think we have one of the most open managers and both the technical director (Les Reed) and Chairman (Ralph Krueger) are often making statements on strategy etc. Personally I find the idea of the 'fans forum' a little outdated, and dare I say it.... 'Small time.'

In our recent one, the panel were asked why someone who has a season ticket doesn't get any sort of discount scheme for merchandise etc? The next question was, why we don't tie players to longer term deals to prevent them leaving? Most football fans don't understand business and economics unfortunately. Maybe I'm harsh. but a guaranteed seat for less than the total of the asking price for all games is incentive enough for a Season Ticket isn't it?

CC: Jose Fonte continues to impress but are you surprised that other clubs did not come in for him last summer?

GWC: Not really. There was talk of Villa being interested but he's 31 now and I don't think he'd want to go to be honest. He's made a very good captain and doesn't get half the credit he should have in comparison to the mercenaries Lovren and Alderweireld.

CC: Has Virgil van Dijk impressed since his move from Celtic in the summer?

GWC: I had high expectations of him to be honest, but I've still been surprised. He is brilliant in the air, and also very good with the ball at his feet. I think he has a massive future and no doubt Saints will make a huge profit on him at some point.

CC: I expect you have seen the Cherries recent performances, but do you think Artur Boruc is still one of the best keepers you have had at the Saints?

GWC: He was very good for us (with the occasional meltdown thrown in) but I'm not sure I'd go as far as on the best. After a shaky start we looked far steadier at the back with Forster in goal. The great thing about Boruc is, his mistakes don't seem to knock his confidence at all.

CC: Mahrez of Leicester cause you a lot of problem down the left side in the second half of that match and AFC Bournemouth has Matt Ritchie coming at you in that position - a cause for concern?

GWC: He's your dangerman of that I have no doubt. My biggest concern is that we have a bad habit of backing off players with a good record of scoring from distance, and Ritchie certainly comes into that category. I'd wager Sadio Mane will cause your back four more problems than Ritchie does ours though.

CC: Is it strange to think of AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League and is it good for Southampton to have a local derby even if it isn't Pompey?

GWC: Considering I went to watch Luton v Bournemouth at Kenilworth Road only 7 years ago when both sides were in danger of losing their league status it certainly makes it strange. In terms of having a local 'derby', there is no denying that there will be interest in the game, that's natural, and yes with Pompey looking far from getting their act together it will be a refreshing change. It is a really boring subject to talk about a 'rivalry' between the two clubs though as historically it has never been the case. There are three types of Saints fan I think, the majority who see Bournemouth as a pseudo second club (a lot of these are from Dorset), the minority who are embracing this as a chance to generate something to fill the Pompey void and then those like me who are indifferent. At the moment you are just one of 19 teams in our way. Who knows though, if you can maintain your status in the Premier League for a few years it might heat up, I certainly like the idea of Pompey being sacked as rivals.

CC: Thanks Chris for some good memories and some better understanding for us AFCB fans on how the Saints are feeling ahead of the game. The Cherries record is not too good at St Mary's but I am hoping for a close game as that way you are unlikely to put five past us. Do check out the Saints take on Bournemouth on George Weah's Cousin as it talks about how many goals the Saints might get!! And it's a competition so at least we can nab some prizes off the Saint's fans.

An unashamed plug from me as well 
By the way, I have written some lines about the Southampton and AFC Bournemouth derby, rivalry or is it just brotherly love? It should be published in the Sunday Observer this weekend ahead of the game.

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