Southampton experienced a meteoric rise into the Premier League having earned promotion in 2012 and have not looked back since, and former Vice-Chairman Les Reed has paid testament to former fan favourite Jos Hooiveld.
The Saints had several players who both helped them into Premier League and also stay there, such as Hooiveld, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Jose Fonte, which is how they achieved high finishes given the consistency and continuity within their squad.
Hooiveld was initially signed on loan during their Championship days and was a key player and fan favourite during their title-winning season, and he was subsequently signed permanently that following summer.
Southampton made some very smart signings that they ended up making huge profits on but Hooiveld remained loyal to the club that gave him his Premier League chance, and Reed hailed his importance to the club as he spoke exclusively to Football FanCast:
“One of the biggest heroes at Southampton was Jos Hooiveld who we got from Celtic, and Jos was an unbelievable character and the fans absolutely loved him.
“He got picked every single game by Nigel Adkins despite him scoring three own goals for Southampton, having previously never scored an own goal in his career.”
During the Saints’ title-winning season, Hooiveld proved to be a huge presence in both boxes as he netted eight goals in all competitions during the 2011/12 season.
Southampton have had a good history of having good quality centre backs that may have been less heard of before joining them such as Virgil van Dijk, Janik Vestergaard and Jose Fonte.