3 Oct 2014
In - Football

Famously a one-club man during his time on the South Coast, Matt Le Tissier was proud to sign for Men United and pledge his allegiance to the fight against a disease that kills one man every hour in the UK. Following a chance encounter at an event hosted by Football League sponsors, Capital One Cup, we caught up with the former England and Saints man to talk football.

A brand new start for Saints

When Graziano Pelle struck home a sensational overhead effort for Southampton against Queens Park Rangers last weekend, the Saints legend led the applause.

‘Le God’, as he is still known on the south coast, is delighted by his former club’s start to the new Premier League season under new manager Ronald Koeman, who has so far confounded all expectations.

And ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur, a club managed by their previous boss Mauricio Pochettino, Le Tissier said:

“It’s still early days. I’m realistic enough to know that and not get carried away. But it’s been a brilliant start. We don’t get these moments often so we should enjoy them while they are there.”

With spectacular goals...

The style and grace in which Pelle went full flight to score an early frontrunner for goal of the season epitomised the club’s swaggering start to the campaign.

And a man who monopolised the annual seasonal spectacular scoring list during his career hailed what proved to be the decisive goal in a 2-1 win.

“My Twitter feed goes a bit mad when stuff like that happens,” he smiled.

“I scored a similar kind of overhead kick at Nottingham Forest which was almost on the edge of the box. But I don’t remember having to flick one up for myself and then doing the overhead kick as well – that was something else.”

And a new manager

After a summer exodus which saw the likes of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren join Pochettino in the Saints departure lounge, critics predicted a season of struggle under new boss Koeman.

Instead, the former Holland star has galvanised the squad and made Southampton, rather like last season under Pochettino, one of the stories of the opening two months.

“I was well chuffed when his name got linked with the job and saw that he was interested. He’s been a revelation for us so far,” added Matt.

"I’ve met him a couple of times already and he’s a very calm, very assured manager. He’s not one that will flip his lid at the sign of the first problem. He has dealt with things in a completely professional way."

As for pre-season predictions?

“I think there are a lot of people that are writing things about the club from afar without really having a close idea about how things work at the club,” said Matt.

“They were writing it before we appointed a new manager. I think they were jumping the gun a little bit. Everyone was saying that this was an asset-stripping exercise and that the owner didn’t care about the club and just wanted the money out. It was all a load of rubbish; pure speculation and nowhere near the truth.

“It’s been a brilliant start and one that should give us the confidence to go on and try and better where we finished last season. That’s the aim really.”

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Why Le Tissier signed for Men United

Matt has first hand experience of the disease after losing his father-in-law 17 years ago, and more recently his driver ‘Big Dave’ Hills was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“I’ve experienced it a long time ago, and Dave’s diagnosis has brought it to my attention again,” said Matt of his driver, a well-known man on the South Coast who used to drive former Saints manager Alan Ball.

"Prostate Cancer UK have done a great job with Men United and reached a lot of people that perhaps would not have been in range in the past," said the Saints legend who started and finished his career on the south coast amassing 443 appearances and scoring 161 goals over 16 seasons. Le Tissier represented his country 17 times and is now a regular pundit on Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday alongside Men United ambassador Jeff Stelling.

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