Lawrie: FA Cup final, NHS experience and under-18 success!

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Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mates Diogo Jota (right) and Jordan Henderson during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Tuesday May 10, 2022.
Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mates Diogo Jota (right) and Jordan Henderson during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Tuesday May 10, 2022.

LIVERPOOL got a result against Aston Villa on Tuesday night that was needed ensuring them of a top-two position, but they will still be giving 110 per cent in the Saints game next week, so they can finish above Manchester City.

This would be added to their League Cup win, FA Cup final and their European Champions League final.

Local rivals Everton have only got one target this season - to hang onto their Premier League position.

Because of Leeds United’s heavy home defeat, it looks as though Everton will still be in the top-flight next season. The results have also more or less guaranteed Saints being able to breathe comfortably again, and it will be interesting to see what changes are made, if any, to get Saints in the top-half next season.

Thank you NHS

Personally, I can’t make the Liverpool game – or another big game on Saturday, May 21.

It has been mentioned various times because it is a University Hospital Southampton team playing ex-professionals.

I was really looking forward to managing the hospital team but ironically I have had an earlier contact with them.

I had an unusual accident which, without going into detail, had me nearly break a leg and bandaged up over the last few weeks.

It will take me a while to get out and about again, but the game will of course still go ahead.

It will take place at Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium, with kick-off at 3pm. In my absence, the team will now be managed by 1976 heroes Jim Steele and Hugh Fisher. Doctors, consultants and nurses are playing against a team of ex-players from not only Southampton but other top professional clubs.

On the day there will be a raffle for the football kits worn by the ex-pro team, signed by the players, and all proceeds will go to the hospital charity. Tickets are obtainable online and at the gate on the day, and are just £10 with children under 12 going free.

Two bars will be open, a burger van, ice cream – entry is from 1.30pm onwards. I was really looking forward to it but well done to Mike Thew and all the organisers.

My little accident is a great reminder of the work the NHS does day-in, day-out for all of us. It happened on a Sunday and I was treated brilliantly. We are very lucky to have the sort of staff who work in our area.

Cup final fever

It is also FA Cup final weekend, this week.

Everyone in football, on the pitch or on the terraces, every year has an interest in the FA Cup.

Not many are as lucky as some of us now getting on a bit, from way back in 1976. Wembley is always full on the day, of course, and the TV always has one of its biggest audiences of the year.

Unlike our year – where a second division team were playing Manchester United – this year it will be two of the top three clubs playing each other with Liverpool facing Chelsea.

With the way the fixtures have worked out this year, Liverpool will probably not go home from Wembley but carry on down to Southampton – potentially bringing the cup with them.

If the same applies to some of their supporters, they will probably have had more than a few cups of coffee before the league game here!

Whether they have won the cup or not, they will be giving it their all and Ralph Hasenhuttl and his men will want to show the determination to improve from now on, as Saints haven’t had the best end to the season.

Good luck to under-18s

I don’t think in my day, many years ago, there was a separate league for the under-18s but now there is one in the north and one in the south.

The winners play each other and this year Southampton won the southern league!

They are playing host to North winners Manchester City, who have had a fantastic season so far as a club.

Now their under-18 team will be wanting to win the final which will be held at St Mary’s on Thursday.

Tickets for that game are available on the club website and are free, so it will be a good opportunity to take some youngsters along who normally wouldn’t be able to afford big league games – and to get the atmosphere going.

Let’s hope the young Saints can come out with a win.

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