When Southampton squeaked a vital 0-1 away win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday evening, they did so after having their pre-match preparations fiddled with in a number of semi-suspicious ways.
Both teams went into the match knowing that a win would all but deliver them from relegation. However, the Saints were dealt an untimely blow beforehand when their booking at the Swansea Marriott Hotel was cancelled at short notice, forcing the club to seek alternative accommodation some 40 miles away from the stadium.
They then also had their arranged police escort through rush hour traffic cancelled before their coach was held up outside the Liberty on arrival, forcing the Saints squad to walk the final 100 yards or so to the stadium.
Still, that didn’t stop the Saints emerging victorious and all but sealing their survival in the process, with the club’s social media team left to rib their beaten opponents with a pithy one-star ‘Trip Advisor’ review the morning after the night before…
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) May 9, 2018
Mark Hughes later hinted he felt that there may have been “dark arts” at work, though refused to blame Swansea themselves for the various issues his side had encountered in the lead-up to such a crucial clash.
I’m not for one minute suggesting Swansea had anything to do with that. It’s just maybe over-zealous Swansea fans in positions to affect our hotel booking.
We suspected that maybe some of the dark arts were at work but we didn’t let it affect us.
But those things you can use to your own benefit and use as a motivating factor. A point was made.
Needless to say, Sparky had the last laugh.