Saints skipper and the last remaining member of the League 1 side, Jose Fonte, left for West Ham citing his enthusiasm for The Hammer's project. Saints got £8m for a 33 year old and most Saints fans will wish him well. Fonte will make a swift return when West Ham visit St Marys the first weekend February.
Liverpool surprisingly slipped up at home to bottom club Swansea conceding three second-half goals at the Anfield Road end and only two in reply. Man City drew at home to Spurs despite taking a two goal lead and Arsenal needed a late, late penalty to beat Burnley at the Emirates. A topsy turvy end to the game resulted in Arsene Wenger being sent to the stands and subsequently being charged by the FA for pushing the 4th official.
Chelsea retained pole position after a hard fought home win over Hull City in a match which was somewhat overshadowed by Ryan Mason fracturing his skull. The returning Diego Costa scoring the first goal. Elsewhere a stunning free-kick by Wayne Rooney gave Man U a late leveller and also made Rooney the club's all-time record goal scorer surpassing the legend Sir Bobby Charlton's record.
Local National League side, Eastleigh drew 1-1 at FA Cup surprise team Sutton United. Sutton face Leeds United on their astro-turf pitch at Gander Green Lane in the 4th Round after winning at AFC Wimbledon 3-1 following a goal-less draw at home. In another FA Cup 3rd Round replay National League table toppers Lincoln City knocked out Championship side Ipswich Town 1-0 at Sincil Bank. Saints narrowly beat Norwich City with a late Shane Long scrambled effort and are at home to Arsenal in the 4th Round.
Real Madrid retain top spot in La Liga following a home win over Malaga, with Sevilla and Barca chasing hard - one point and two points behind Real. In the other major European Leagues, as with Spain, the reigning champions Juventus and Bayern Munich sit at the top and like Madrid both are looking over their shoulders. Roma are closing in on Juve in Serie A and RB Liepzig are chasing Bayern in the Bundesliga.
STOP PRESS: Wilkie Tours have been referenced in the February issue of Football Weekends, an excellent glossy publication - check it out at www.footballweekends.co.uk, it's a great read at £4.99.
The plans are firming up for the next Wilkie Tours trip where a definite fixture on the itinerary is Elche v UCAM Murcia in the Segunda Division (level 2). Elche drew 1-1 at Real Vallecano in Madrid with Saints loan keeper Cazziniga in goal for the home side. UCAM beat Real Zaragosa 1-0 at home in Murcia. Elche get crowds of less than 10,000 in their 36,000 capacity stadium so we have no worries about getting tickets for the derby game with Murcia. More to follow once the date/times of fixture in Segunda B (level 3) have been published.