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Taylor backs Saints to survive

26 Jun 2009 18:54:12

Taylor backs Saints to survive

Saints staff have not been paid for a second month as the consortium led by Matthew Le Tissier struggle to complete their takeover of a club that will start life in League One next season with a 10-point penalty. Fears have been expressed for the future of the south coast club, which the PFA is assisting, along with Accrington and Darlington. However, Taylor is optimistic for life at St Mary's Stadium once the current problems have been solved. "I am positive Southampton will be OK," he said. "I know the biggest clubs have ended up in what is now League Two and no-one should get complacent but when a club has a strong fanbase and good tradition, people tend to come out of the woodwork to save the club. "Southampton were FA Cup winners in 1976. Kevin Keegan and Mike Channon graced The Dell. I am sure everything will be OK." It was a sobering topic of discussion for Taylor on a day of celebration for the PFA as they handed over a cheque for £1million to the New Manchester Children's Hospital. The gift was the culmination of a pledge that was given two years ago to mark the PFA's centenary celebrations and notable figures from the organisation, plus Football Association chief executive Ian Watmore and Manchester United legal expert Maurice Watkins, a major force behind the fundraising initiative, were present at the handover ceremony which was also acknowledged in an e-mail by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It will be used for the Rehabilitation Unit at a state-of-the-art hospital in central Manchester, the birthplace of the PFA in 1907. "It was a great day when we launched our centenary year in the city where the PFA was born," said Taylor. "But on that day we made a pledge. Now we have arrived. The new hospital has opened, our plaque is on the wall and our picture is there. "We have done it and I would like to think it has made a big difference." The picture Taylor spoke about is a specially commissioned painting by Yorkshire-based artist Darren Baker. It shows a crowd scene at the new Wembley, with the heads of notable PFA award winners, including Ryan Giggs and Alan Shearer, transposed onto the bodies of supporters. At a time of economic hardship, it is a particularly poignant subject matter for Taylor, who feels it is time for top clubs to show some sympathy to the people who follow them so loyally. "The majority of Football League clubs are finding it extremely difficult to make ends meet but football has a capacity to survive the hard times," he said. "I just hope the Premier League continues to show care and concern and distribute their money as fairly and evenly as possible so everybody has a reasonable chance of achieving the dream. "I don't just mean other clubs, I also mean the supporters. "We need spectators at grounds and we need to show them some respect during the recession. "Some of them might have had to go without wages, so it might be payback time for football. "Football is an extremely popular sport. But no sponsor or TV camera would be focused on a ground with no spectators."


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