Yesterday I got to thinking about squad turnover. It’s often said that players come and go and Southampton’s summer exodus seemed to stand in contrast to the old Dell days when the likes of Benali, Dodd and Le Tissier gave the team a familiar feel over the course of many seasons, but just how much is this impression rooted in reality? Do players really move from club to club that much more?
Using some old programmes I’ve taken two points in time January 11th 1997 and January the 1st 2015. I’ve then looked at the starting XI for each game. Respectively these were against Middlesbrough in 1997 and Arsenal in 2015.
- The 2015 starting XI have played, on average, 49 games for Saints. The class of 1997 however, had played, on average, 65 games for Saints. The median figures are 22 for 2015 and 35 for 1997
- Three of the starting XI Robinson, Benali and Oakley had at that point only ever played for Southampton, making 302 appearances between them. In 2015 James Ward-Prowse is the only member of the team to have only played for the club, with a total of 71 appearances.
- In 2015 Jose Fonte is the only member of the starting XI to have clocked up in excess of 100 appearances for Saints. In the 1997 line-up three players: Ken Monkou (164), Francis Benali (256) and Jim Magilton (131) had made over a century.
- Missing from the 2015 line-up, through suspension, is Morgan Schniederlin with 254 appearances however also missing from the 1997 starting line-up was Matt Le Tissier who was then on 424 appearances.