For me, it is the connection with my father.
When I was a kid, he had an important job, responsible for thousands of people. As a result, he worked long hours. He was gone before I got up for school in the morning, and mostly, didn't get back until after I'd gone to bed at night. I tried not to take it personally. But my dad was never there.
Until the weekends, that was. This was when he would make it up to me for his weekly absences from my life. It started with trips to The Dell, but what I loved the most as I got a little older -- was the away trips on the road. Spending the weekends away in far-flung parts of the country, the long car drives, just me and my dad, the long talks, the celebrating rare Saints away victories all the way home, the singing, even the miserable long drives home after the usual crushing defeats, were 'bittersweet' ones -- as I was still with my dad, and we were sharing that sadness together.
He is responsible for the immense passion I feel for Southampton to this day, for instilling it into me on those long weekend journeys, and cultivating it over the years. It's never really been about football itself for me. I enjoy playing, always have, but never really been overly bothered about watching anyone else playing the game, only Saints. Couldn't really give too much of a fuck about watching Match of the Day, or Champions League nights in Europe on TV. When we were in League One, the Championship etc, I barely even looked at the Premier League table. Didn't care. And why would I? My Saints weren't playing in it, so I wasn't really interested.
If Saints are playing in a competition, I care. If they're not, doesn't really mean a whole lot to me. It's always been about supporting my home town (city) Club, and sharing that passion with my dad.
He's in his seventies now, and not too well, so we don't manage to travel the country together much these days. But still get down to St. Mary's together when he's feeling up to it, though I often now must make that short trip alone. But even then, I feel that I am 'representing' him there.
Essentially, it is about passion for Saints, and sharing a kind of almost 'spiritual' communion with my dad. A special connection and bond that has lasted a lifetime, and I hope, will last for some time yet to come.