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  Friday, 29 March, 2002, 11:08 GMT
Did Le Tissier fulfil his potential?
Matt LeTissier has decided to hang up his boots
Southampton star Matthew Le Tissier is to retire at the end of the season.

Did the inspirational midfielder make the most of his talent?


Le Tissier has scored a total of 209 goals in 462 appearances for Southampton and won eight caps for England.

The man worshipped as Le God by Saints fans spent his entire career at The Dell, and his often spectacular goals have aided their continuing struggle to stay in the Premiership.

Many feel that Le Tissier could have achieved a great deal more in the game had he moved away from the south coast, both at club and international level.

Did he make the most of his undoubted talent? And what is your favourite Le Tissier goal?


There is one season that will stick in the minds of Saints fans as the one when Le Tissier was just in a world of his own. In 1994-95 he scored over 30 goals, about 10 of which were goal of the month contenders, and he won goal of the season.

If only Terry Venables' eyes had extended beyond White Hart Lane and Old Trafford, then Matt might have got the international recognition he truly deserved. Him coming on and scoring the last goal at The Dell in injury time at the end of last season (and what a goal it was!) will go down in club folklore.
John, England

If only other players nowadays showed as much loyalty as Le Tissier, football would be much better for it
Dave Brooks-Smith, England

Matt saved the Saints from relegation for around ten years. How can that be underachieving? He was one of the all time greats and was loyal to go with it!
Stewart Robb, England

Matt, Thanks for the wonderful entertainment and magical memories.
Mark James, UK

By staying loyal to Southampton and helping to keep them in the Premier League, Le Tissier has fulfilled his potential. If only other players nowadays showed as much loyalty as Le Tissier, football would be much better for it. Good luck Matt in whatever you decide to do in the future, you deserve it.
Dave Brooks-Smith, England

The only person who knows whether Matt fulfilled his potential or not is the man himself. Who knows what targets Matt set himself? He is probably resentful that a succession of unimaginative and ultimately unsuccessful England managers did not make more use of his talent, but Matt seems genuinely content as his career comes to a close.

I'm a Saints fan and it has been a joy to watch Matt for the last 15 years. He may have no silverware but he has earned the love and respect of Saints fans everywhere.

Just because his attitude to life was different doesn't mean he wasn't a success!
Tony Ward, UK

Matt was a winner and his goals kept this club in the top flight when year on year the pundits predicted relegation. Without Matt we'd be languishing in the Football League like so many other clubs we used to spar with. That is no mean achievement.
Phil, IOW

I am confused by comments that Matt 'failed to reach his potential'. He scored 200 odd senior goals, and remains the only non-striker to have scored 100 in the Premiership. It was hardly Le Tissier's fault that, whenever he was chosen for England, it was for the odd 10 minutes here, or half of some meaningless friendly there.

If he'd had a pretty face and a sexy wife, then Matt would have won 100 caps and been seen as one of the true greats. Just because his attitude to life was different doesn't mean he wasn't a success!
Tony Ward, UK

It is true that Le Tiss did not fulfill his potential. But, like Best and Marsh before him, he should be remembered as a gifted individual who could make even the dullest match special. He should have played more for England but had he done so he would have been blamed for anything that went wrong.

He may not have been a true great, but his goals will adorn many greatest goal collections for years to come, and a lot more than the workhorses like Keane and Robson that the pundits like to rave about.
Paul Davies, UK

Zidane and Figo do not even come close
James Waters, Southampton, UK

People go on about Joe Cole, Gazza and Ginola as being some of the Great Entertainers. I've seen them all play, and believe me, they are nothing compared to the man we call God.

There was a time when he was the only Premiership-standard player in our team - and he made it count. How anyone can doubt someone who scored 209 goals from midfield is beyond me.

He will never, ever be replaced. Zidane and Figo do not even come close. Good luck Matt, football will miss you.
James Waters, Southampton, UK

Personally I think it is a crime that Le Tissier couldn't really apply himself and take that step to become truly great. What a waste. I wonder if HE regrets it?
Chris F., USA

He was for the Saints what Bergkamp is for the Gunners, a scorer and creator of astonishing and beautiful goals. He was one of the 'old' style footballers, where flair and creativity were as important as graft, and it was a waste that he never had the chance to really exhibit his craft on the biggest stage.
Daniel, Malaysia

A wonderfully talented and incredibly loyal individual
Andrew Yeadon, New Zealand

Unlike Cantona, he was no thug. Unlike Gascoigne, he was loyal to one club. Unlike Beckham, he never lived in the glare of publicity. He also had as much talent as all three. It's fans of other clubs who are making sneering remarks about ambition and commitment. I'm no Saints fan, but I know we'd all love to have a player that talented who wanted to stay with our team for their whole career.
Colin, England

Matthew Le Tissier in his prime was a marvellous talent, as good a feel on the ball as any player before or since. What Matthew lacked was 'killer instinct'; if he had had Beckham's determination to grab the game by the scruff of the neck he would have been better than Pele.
Mal Walker, Australia

Although a staunch Bradford City fan, I was always keen to see footballing magic Le God would perform. This man was a wonderfully talented and incredibly loyal individual, and the fact that he wasn't a regular in the England side at his peak is a travesty.

The goal that sticks in memory for me was against Blackburn. Matty did a couple of 'knee ups' and volleyed the ball past Tim Flowers from a full 35 yards!! Wonderful. Please stay in the game Matt.
Andrew Yeadon, New Zealand

Thanks Matt for your mastery, your sublime skill and your loyalty - you love football far more than some so called stars that are more interested in big money moves and their own egos. We will never EVER forget you. Le God┐simply the best!!
Rich White, UK

I don't support Southampton but I have nothing but respect for him.
Drew, London

Le Tissier was a good player with a lot of natural ability, but he could never be called a great. He played out his career for a mediocre team, happy to be a big fish in a small pond, and his form was always fitful at best.

I remember watching him come on as a sub with a big belly after he'd been out injured - something he would never have got away with at any other club.

He operated in a comfort zone, and never really stretched himself, and I think it was right that he never got his full chance for England, as he never showed the commitment required to make it at the highest level.
Scott Robinson, England

Matt was the most gifted player I have ever seen playing the game. He was even better than Cantona and Gazza. The reason why he never fulfilled his potential at international level is a question that Venables and Hoddle should answer.
Oliver Bonfield, USA

People can't have it both ways. Fans and journalists are forever bemoaning the lack of loyalty in the game yet when someone like Le Tissier comes along he gets criticised for lack of ambition. Le Tissier was a far superior player to Gazza - he just didn't get the media support that Gazza did because of the club he played for.

Matt should have been in the England World Cup squad as far back as 1990. For a midfielder to score a goal every other game over 16 years is astonishing. His legend will live forever.
Luke Williams, UK

In today's game where loyalty means little or nothing at all and the fans and pundits constantly bemoan this fact, I can't believe Matt cops flack for staying put. The guy has been a loyal servant to his club; he loved the area, was close by to his family and wanted to stay where he was. He also didn't hold the club to ransom with extortionate wage demands and off the field he was a gent. I don't support Southampton but I have nothing but respect for him.
Drew, London

Forget Gazza, this is the boy we will miss
Paul Hallett, Banbury, UK
Football will probably never see the likes of Matt Le Tissier ever again. If genius can be measured by top ten goals or moments in sport, then no one can come even close to the man. Rated in the top 15 of all time Premier league goal scorers, we forget that Matt wasn't an out and out forward, more of a Teddy Sherringham-type player. Add to this a sense of loyalty you'll never see from a player of his ilk and you have probably one of the greatest players this country has ever seen.

Did he waste his talent? Ask someone in Southampton if he did. In our city, the man is something of a God, and the town is quite simply his.
Daren Wheeler, UK

Matt is one of those exceptional footballers as he is a footballing genius. Similar in many ways to Paul Gascoigne, as both players never fulfilled their utmost potential.

He should have been given a proper chance on the world stage, it's very sad that his performance against Italy hindered his international chances.
Tom Gale-Batten, Belgium

Matt was the ultimate match winner and always posed a threat to the opposition. His skill and ability on the ball was second to none, however the world stage missed out on the genius because of two particular shortsighted England managers. Shame on Venables and Hoddle for leaving Matt out of Euro '96 & France '98.

Matt was always worthy of an England squad position and could have changed any game he was involved in. He didn't fulfil his international potential because of England managers who preferred to stay safe and not allow a talented player freedom to show the magic he could conjure.
Rob Cooper, Salisbury UK

Watching Le Tissier at his best was as good as it gets in football. He had the most sublime skill and was a joy to watch, for all real football fans. Ultimately, he will go down as having not achieved at the levels his skills would have had him do.

Forget Gazza, this is the boy we miss. And no, I am not a Southampton fan, he was as good as Cantona, probably better.
Paul Hallett, Banbury, UK

Le Tissier should have left Southampton at his peak
Craig White, Scotland

Goals from Matty were the reason I started watching football and sealed my loyalty towards the Saints for so many years. No other words can describe him and those who don't think he is a `great' are either jealous that their team does not have such a player or never seen him in action. Best wishes to your future, I hope you will still stay and help the Saints forever! Best memorable goals are against Newcastle and the last goal at the Dell.
Wilson Wong, Singapore

I'm torn between two threads of thought. The Saints fan in me thinks Le Tissier's loyalty was unbelievable, but the other side thinks that he could have been one greatest players in the world. It's a shame he didn't get enough opportunities on the world stage to show us what he's been doing for a decade. However, Le Tissier is my hero for his loyalty.
Tuhin Wahid, Nottingham, UK

Matt Le Tissier is a footballing genius who gave an incredible amount of loyalty to Southampton FC, and I feel privileged to have seen one of the best footballers and entertainers ever to kick a ball.

People aren't taught the sort of talent that Matty has - they're born with it, and the fact that he never won the League or the FA Cup is irrelevant. He managed to keep one of the Premier League's poorer relations away from relegation, and bring in enough revenue to build fortress St Mary's. Good luck for the future mate.
Jon Smith, Southampton

Le Tissier should have left Southampton at his peak, and then maybe he would have reached his huge potential. He was a magician and it is a shame that we will never see him at his best again.
Craig White, Scotland

It completely baffles me how a succession of unimaginative England managers did not make him a regular in the side
Mervyn Charter, Grenada, West Indies
Matt is the main reason that I began supporting Saints. When I met Le God he was very friendly and had both feet on the ground, that's the kind of man he is - loyal to his club and supporters. For Matty the most important thing was enjoying the game of football and playing with his heart. There are always ifs in a footballer's career, but Matty has enjoyed every second for being a saint.
Stefan van Dommelen, Holland

Le Tissier made the most of his talent by keeping Saints up year after year, scoring amazing goals against any opposition, and paving the way for our new stadium. It was the England that wasted their, and the country's chance by not selecting him. And why move from always playing for a club you love to be an occasional "squad" player somewhere else?
Sam Strevens, USA

Matthew Le Tissier was one of the most naturally talented footballers of the last 20 years. His loyalty to Southampton was an endearing anomaly to the trend of star players eventually leaving small clubs. However, one will always wonder what he could have achieved at a so-called big club.

It completely baffles me how a succession of unimaginative England managers did not make him a regular in the side. It would have been interesting to see how his international career would have developed had he chosen France instead of England.
Mervyn Charter, Grenada, West Indies

I think it's a sad reflection on the England selection system that a player as talented as Le God doesn't get a chance because he plays for a 'lowly' club. He should have been rewarded for his loyalty, and my only wish is that more players would be like him. As a player he was a wonderful talent. Enjoy your retirement.
Stephen Rutkowski, Australia

To put Le Tissier on the same level as the likes of Cantona, Beckham and Gascoigne is pretty ridiculous
Joe, UK

As an ardent Saints fan I have been privileged to watch a rare talent in the modern game. So what if he didn't work as hard as some of his team-mates - he had the ability to change a game in a way that most Premiership players can only dream of.

Crucially, in an age when money seems to be the overriding factor in all elements of the game, here was a loyal player who remembered that fans welcome and respond to entertainment, not just hard graft.

Moreover, his talent helped keep Saints in the top flight, which ensured the move to St Mary's and our subsequent ability to attract and retain quality players. Saints fans everywhere owe him our thanks.
Roger Trollope, UK

Le Tissier is one of my all-time favourite players. The fact he remained at Southampton shows that he didn't have the necessary ambition to go as far as say, Waddle, Beckham, Hoddle and Gazza. But he was as good as them, no doubt about it.
Hrafn Valgardsson, Iceland

If Le Tissier was so unbelievably excellent, and such a legend, why is the 'No' vote winning as to whether he was one of football's greats? And I think that to put Le Tissier on the same level as the likes of Cantona, Beckham and Gascoigne is pretty ridiculous. How many caps did he win in a career spanning a decade? Need I say more?
Joe, UK

Le Tissier was up there with Gazza as one of the most naturally gifted players of the last 30 years
Iain, Australia

It is a sad day for British football. As a young boy growing up, Matt Le Tissier was always a player that stood out on a match of the day and had some of the most sublime skills. A rare talent, who showed loyalty in a football world obsessed with money, and a passion and love for Southampton rather than a desire to fill his own pockets. Take care Matt, that goal against Blackburn will be forever remembered as one of the best ever!
Phil, UK

I'm not a Saints fan, but Matt is the up there with Cantona as the best player I've seen in 30 years of watching football. If we'd had Sven 10 years ago, Matt would have won 100 caps. Good on him too for sticking with 'his' club. Thanks for the memories Matt.
Chris, UK

Le Tissier was up there with Gazza as one of the most naturally gifted players of the last 30 years. Also, let's not forget that his penalty success rate was the highest ever seen in the Premiership. At his best he was simply unbelievable. Best wishes for the future Matt!
Iain, Australia

Utter genius. Whether he fulfilled his full potential is irrelevant - he was completely loyal to Southampton and kept a mediocre team up for years. There are too few players like him. Let's hope we get one final moment from the man before he hangs up his boots.
Daniel, England

Le Tiss will go down in history as the greatest ever Saints player
Keith Legg, Southampton, UK

Le Tiss was one of England's most technically gifted footballers of the last 20 years, if not longer. If he were Brazilian or Spanish, he would have acquired 40 or more international caps. As it is, he was English, and England's inherent fear of technical midfielders hindered his career.
Simran, England

Le Tiss will go down in history as the greatest ever Saints player. In his prime he was also one of the best in the world. No player in recent history has a catalogue of goals to match Le God's.

To match his talent, he had a love of the only club he ever played for. That happiness contributed to his fantastic form; and for that reason, I don't think he would have been any better if he had left Saints to join a top five club. Thanks for the memories, Matt.
Keith Legg, Southampton, UK

Although from the north of England I always had a regard for the Saints based on Le Tissier. For a few years you could almost guarantee that the weekly TV highlights would include the most outrageous skills and goals from him.

Also I respected him because he played the game the way he wanted with the club he supported, and resisted the voices calling him to change 'for his benefit'. A great player, happy retirement!
Jim Hall, Australia

One of the most gifted footballers of the modern age
Tony Farmery, UK

He didn't fulfil his potential, but I admire his loyalty to Southampton all the same. A great player, who fittingly scored the last goal at the Dell. I'm a Newcastle fan, and he scored two of his absolute best against us in the same game.

The first was a great 25 yard volley, and the second a superb run using all kinds of dinks and tricks before calmly slotting the ball in the back of our net. I hope he goes on to become a good coach, because it would be a shame to lose such a gifted, yet modest player
Neil , England

I quote Pele: "If Matthew Le Tissier was Brazilian he'd be in the Brazilian first XI every game." You can keep your Gazzas and your Beckhams - Matt Le Tissier, along with Eric Cantona, was an example of what football is all about. Stay in the game, Matt, Saints may need you again as manager!
Nick Stubbs, Leeds

What a player - Beckham doesn't stand a chance against this great man. He achieved a lot, but the truth lies in the silverware. The fact that he played only handful of games for England in their worst ever period is a big hole in the great man's career.
Omar, New Zealand

As an avid Saints follower I think it is sad that he is retiring, but when he was in his prime he did play to his potential. It's a pity that he was dropped by England in 1995, because he could have helped us lift the World Cup. His best goal was the one against Blackburn in the 1994-95 season.
John Krzysica, Southampton, UK

One of the most gifted footballers of the modern age never really understood how blessed he was. It all came to easy for him, and that was reflected in his play. He needed a move to a big club with a big manager in order to give him a shake. A real shame.
Tony Farmery, UK

Was Matt Le Tissier one of football's greats?



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