Football can be cruel to the so-called ‘smaller clubs.’
You know the drill by now; a 16-year-old impresses in a match against Huddersfield and before he can reach the outstretched arms of his tearful father, the Chelsea chairman – or similar – shoulder barges him out the way and swoops the unwitting teen into a sack like Fagan in Oliver Twist.
(For legal reasons, we must point out that was simply a metaphor and no literal sacks have ever been used to kidnap a player post-match, despite what John Obi Mikel might tell you.)
Southampton are certainly no strangers to losing their young stars but, testament to quality of their academy, have always recovered and often improved as a result. However, at any given moment you know there is a Saints fan in a pub somewhere pondering what glory could have bestowed the club had they held on to the likes of Gareth Bale and Adam Lallana.
On Wednesday, Southampton have a great chance of reaching their first major cup final since 2003 and should they prevail, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain et al will be mere afterthoughts.
Until then, feast your eyes on the video below to find out through the power of Football Manager, what would happen if Mauricio Pochettino returned and re-assembled a Southampton side oozing with world beating alumni…