Matt Le Tissier, Southampton's legendary magician

Loyalty is a concept that has become quite rare in the game of football. Nowadays, most footballers see the sport as a profession, and they have no qualms about switching to another club for purely financial or sport reasons-loyalty and love for the institution falls to the wayside. This makes a lot of fans yearn for those amazing players that backed their clubs through thick and win.

A great example of that loyalty in English football is the legend of Southampton Football Club , the talented Matt Le Tissier. Arguably one of the most underrated players in the history of the Premier League and English football as a whole.

The early years - becoming "Le God"

Born in Saint Peter Court, Guernsey, in October 14th of 1968, Matt Le Tissier started to play in the youth system of his hometown and eventually signed for the Saints' youth system in 1985. By 1986 he had already made his professional debut at 17 years old, and by the late 80s he was already a mainstay in the Southampton squad.

It was during the early nineties, when the English First Division made the historical decision of becoming the Premier League, that we really began to see the best of Le Tissier, or as he was commonly called by Soton fans: "Le God".

Le Tissier was an attacking midfielder with a lot of exquisite technique, and with a very creative range when it came to his passing, but what really made him stood out in England was the sheer amount of world class goals he would score for the Saints. If you don't believe me, go look on YouTube "Matthew Le Tissier [Best Skills and Goals]", and have a treat-you are not going to regret it.

Making himself a name in Premier League

The 1993/94 and 1994/95 seasons were a particular high point for Matt as he scored a grand total of 55 goals in 89 matches, which is very impressive for an attacking midfielder. This was due to the fact that the Soton manager at the time, Alan Ball, opted to make the team play for Le Tissier as he deemed the midfielder as their best chance to stay in the Premier League, and avoid relegation... and he was right.

It's worth pointing that Le Tissier never won a major trophy in his career, and this was mainly due to the fact that he was playing for a Southampton side that wasn't very competitive for most of the time he was there, but it's also worth highlighting that he never got relegated with the Saints, which goes to show how he was always there for his club.

Compared to Totti

He has been often compared to the likes of Francesco Totti, who also spent his entire career with AS Roma, despite having offers from some of the best clubs in the world. This is also true in the case of Le Tissier, who even rejected offers from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United during his prime years, arguing that he was happy at Southampton, and didn't need to sign for another club.

This last part highlights part of the reason he was so attached to Southampton: he felt at home there, and the fans loved him for that. He was an extremely capable of player that proved time and time again that he was up there with some of the best players in the league during the mid-90s, such as United's Eric Cantona or his former teammate and Newcastle star, Alan Shearer.

As an interesting fact, in 2000 he became the first ever Premier League midfielder in scoring 100 league goals and only the sixth player to do so, which goes to show how prolific he was throughout the years in a team that was fighting for relegation. This is a feat that no other Premier League midfielder has managed to accomplish while playing in one of the weakest teams in the competition on a regular basis, which is something worth highlighting.

A feared penalty taker

Le Tissier was also one of the best penalty takers of his generation, having score 47 of the 48 penalties he took as a professional footballer. The one he missed was against Nottingham Forest in May of 1993, with goalkeeper Mark Crossley saying many years later that that was the best save he ever did in his career, which is some praise.

Le Tissier eventually retired in 2002, but his last goal for the club was actually in May of 2001 against Arsenal in the final match of their old stadium, The Dell. Even though he would play more games for Southampton the next season in the new stadium, St. Mary's, this proved to be a very nice ending for his goalscoring record with the Saints.

A very technical player

As a player, Matt Le Tissier was very technical, very creative, and capable of pulling off a lot of amazing tricks when it came to scoring goals. One of the things that stand out the most when you look at his goal compilations is how varied they are, with a lot of different styles and approaches to scoring, which highlights how much of a talented player he really was.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, football romantics and loyalty are things that are not very special these days in the game, which is why that a lot of supporters feel that there is a special ingredient missing in this equation. Matt Le Tissier reminds us of that rare breed of players that would stay through thick and thin with their teams, and give their all to make sure they could get by.

There are very few players in English football that represent both talent and loyalty as Matt Le Tissier, which is always nice to remember who he was, and how he delighted the Southampton faithful with his incredible talents.
Nathan Annan is from South Africa and loves to write, and above all about his favorite sport, football. Nathan's interest in football was sparked late but after watching a few matches in his hometown of Johannesburg during the 2010 South Africa World Cup, he was hooked.