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27 May 2018 08:47:02Most of the posts go to the Southampton Banter page.

27 May 2018 05:31:28
James Maddison rumours won't go away it seems. Harrison Reed could persuade his current temporary teammate to St. Mary's rumours. Not sure this has any substance but surely worth a discussion. Thoughts?

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25 May 2018 22:49:39
So, I’ve read/ heard a couple of separate rumours linking Saints (among a few others) with Joe Hart.

I’d definitely be happy if we signed him. Saying that, Macca had an amazing end to the season as our ‘keeper. As they say “he’s a keeper! ”

Not sure if Hart, or similar big names are likely, I’d like us to show a bit of exciting ambition and get a few established players as well as the rough gems. We have a great bunch of young lads, might just feed them into the side more regular.

Having just heard the Hughes permanent deal announcement, maybe we would get some of his ex players.

Frankly, I have no idea


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26 May 2018 03:30:04
Hart is a liability. Not the sort of player in my opinion that we want at the club. McCarthy was great for us when given the chance and I think forster is still more solid than Hart.

My opinion let's stay away from him.

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26 May 2018 03:38:17
Also with links to stoke I would happily take Rutland, shawcross and shaqiri.

A lot don't like shaqiri and call him lazy but I think someone like him paired with tadic would give us plenty of chances.

We should buy alcacer from Barcelona also.

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26 May 2018 06:52:24
Play tadic through the center and shaqiri just wide off him and the interplays and one-twos will be magnificent.

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27 May 2018 08:36:04
Am hearing Hughes has 30m and that’s it not sure if he also gets player sales hardly going to set the world alight Promes in and a few outs.

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24 May 2018 23:13:15
So I’ve been thinking ( second try at this comment) from a logical and on lookers point of view.

So I’ll start here, RK has spoken about building the club commercially. And then the news about Mr GAO was thinking about buying another club in Europe to partner ours. And it got me thinking.

Are, our board geniuses? I mean think about it, we a small club like it or not we are. But so were Chelsea and Man City before they were brought out and had money pumped in and admittedly Chelsea are in huge debt! But how can we possibly compete with very best and rich? We can’t. And does it benefit us to keep these players when they want to move to a huge club like Liverpool, United, city or Chelsea? We can’t. So we buy and then sell. To move forward it’s worked for us and we have had some great players and managers. Although last two questionable. But the point I’m making is we should stick to it and enjoy it. These players want to join us because we are a stepping stone. But so were Chelsea and city before the money. Don’t even argue with me on that look into the history of those two clubs before they had money.

So why are the board geniuses? Well think about how the club looks now compared to a few years ago. We have one of the beta training complexes and facilities in the country, one of the best academies. We are expanding our brand in China, America and other countries, More revenue, fans and attention brought to our so called club. Now imagine if our partner club that Mr GAO brought was sold alongside our club? Another Assest for a possible buyer. We are slowly becoming a very attractive prospect for any very wealthy business or Arab that wants to buy a club in the beta league in the world.

But first we need to improve our fan base. Our status on and off he pitch. Then one day we can compete with the elite. But first an owner needs a reason to buy a club. Atm Newcastle and Everton are more interesting prospects but I think this is the general idea with board atm move forward this way and try to attract someone’s who can pump money in? Idk maybe they don’t need palm that but I think GAO has seen an opportunity to build us up develop us and himself and the sell for a profit. I think the plan is to build us in to the most attractive prospect in the league. Although we are a long way off.

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25 May 2018 15:03:24
I think calling them genius's is perhaps a bit far, but we're certainly a well run club, as much as our fanbase is determined to dispute that.

Nice to see someone evaluate these things with a bit of perspective for once!

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25 May 2018 15:22:03
An interesting slant on it Corky with pretty sound logic. The whole theory though very nearly disappeared down the toilet until that famous night at the Liberty stadium in Swansea. If that had all gone pear shaped and we were now in the Championship I don’t think the word genius would spring to mind. We got away with it big time and hopefully lessons have been learned .

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25 May 2018 22:04:21
Given that when Gao took over, the club was reorganised internally, the board likely looks different now to when it did when we were promoted. On the basis of last season, the answer to your question is no. They are not geniuses.

Its right that in order for a club to grow in size, you must increase the fanbase domestically and globally. The best way to do so is to play good football and compete for things. Then, not only do you get televised more, but it allows interest and support of the team to grow. SFC is not the first club to try to spread its name to other parts of the world but people are likely to shrug and say ‘who? ’ rather than ‘tell me more’. Its folly to think that by simply telling people about the club support will duly follow. People from Southampton support Saints as its their home club and they have an affinity with it. People from other countries will want to find a team they can watch fairly regularly and that competes for domestic titles and wins more than it loses. Without the affinity, they’re more likely to lose interest and follow a team that does. Why wouldn’t they?

I’ve not read anywhere that Gao intends to buy a feeder club in Europe. I understand he’s looking to invest in Chinese football. RK spoke of a feeder team relationship in Europe as we had one previously, but even if Gao was to buy one, I’m not sure that in itself makes us a more appealing purchase. Its twice the number of football clubs and twice the number of headaches.

People seem to think that investors can make loads of money from football but that's only the case for the super rich. Look at how Abramovich is struggling at the moment. Mike Ashley? You only make money from one of the elite clubs and SFC is not that. Consider the route Tottenham have taken and that looks like the most viable path for those clubs who are not super rich. If I was looking to invest in a club now, Tottenham would be intriguing because you can see that by injecting a little bit of money, they could probably challenge for titles, progress in the Champions league, reach a global audience. Kerching. When you look at SFC, people will see small club, small fanbase, no global reach, going backwards in the Premier League and at risk of relegation and the financial pitfalls of the same. The experiment of the stepping stone club seems to be failing now after some initial success.

Is the club in a better position now than it was when we were promoted? Yes. Our debts have been reduced, (by people who have now moved on) we’ve largely done well on net transfers and with the increase in TV money in the last two seasons, things are much better. But as a business, the club remains a drain, which is why Katerina Liebherr sold it. Is Gao a genius for trying to make the club a more viable business? No. If he didn’t, he would be a looney throwing good money after bad. Is he looking just to improve it and sell it? Perhaps. But where does that leave us as fans and the football team?

There’s no hint of genius in the points you’ve set out. Its a business strategy and not a novel one. If they were really geniuses the focus would be, in the first instance, on making the football team the best it can possibly be. Then, they would have an enticing product to market to fans and potential investors around the world.

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24 May 2018 22:50:26
Okay so I have been doing some reflecting and I guess logical thinking since the end of the season. And this is what I think.

I think we will sign 3 players this summer. Striker, winger and defender. Then sell a few players who are on the fringes or have quality but have fallen out with the he club.
I think Boufal, Carrillo, Long.

Believable0 Unbelievable0

24 May 2018 19:14:17
Apparently we are going in for lyon centre back, Mouctar Diakhaby. he is only 21 and he looks very promising. any truth in this eds?

{Ed001's Note - there is certainly interest from Saints, no idea if Lyon are willing to part with him or if he would want the move though.}

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23 May 2018 13:52:35
Any idea when Mark Hughes will be appointed?

{Ed001's Note - no sorry.}

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23 May 2018 17:41:17
Knowing S. F. C speed September.

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24 May 2018 10:29:56
"early" this week according to the club :)

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22 May 2018 19:13:04
Any rumours of ins and outs this summer.

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22 May 2018 20:28:21
We're signing Don Quay he only demands were 7 bags of carrots a week 😉.

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22 May 2018 09:47:18
So hughes appointment looking immanent. Any idea of likely ins and outs.

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22 May 2018 13:20:20
Boufal will be out. And possibly Gabbiadini.
I can also see us losing on Targett and McQueen has been linked to Bristol City.
I would imagine we would try and hold onto our key players. However, I feel the likely interest for the following:
- Bertrand
- Cedric
- Lemina
I would like us to get rid of Shane Long. His energy levels are great, and that needs to be coached into our youngsters. I feel if we can develop a youngster into the good qualities Shane Long brings then we could create an exciting player.
As for players coming in, I can see we have been linked with:
- Joe Hart (why we would go for him is just stupid, McCarthy has been outstanding towards the last few games)
Is a GK at the top of our agenda as a signing. AM is only 28, I think he's got the potential to be our first team goalkeeper. We've seen how much he's approved just by playing regular football. I would only say otherwise unless we're going to sign a world class goalkeeper and that isn't about to happen.
- Pione Sisto
- Quincey Promes
I think the main position we need to address is the use of another experienced CB. We've got Stephens and Hoedt, who are both excellent players. We then have some experience in Maya Yoshida, but I would want us to sign someone who is perhaps in their 30's and had been around for a while and has experience in Champions League/ Europe League experience.
I don't think Hudges is the manager for our progression, but then the club won't want to go for another risky manager.

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24 May 2018 16:20:45
Gabbi won't leave. he is happy at Southampton. He will get plenty of playing time under hughes.

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20 May 2018 16:40:39
Does anyone know if we’re going back in for promes in the summer?

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17 May 2018 14:30:49
If you haven't read Ralph Kreuger's interview in the Echo, here's a brief summary.

He offers himself as the sole person responsible for the events of this season, whilst simultaneously saying it was not the fault of just one person. He believes some tough lessons have been learned so all involved should stay on to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated. Changing personnel is counter intuitive as the new people coming in will not have shared the tough experience of this season and learned the same lessons. It's a different way to look at things and perhaps correct, but the fans will want to be reassured with affirmative action to prevent another slump.

Well, happily RK acknowledges the club left the Southampton Way behind and so we'll be looking to return to that strategy. Great news right!? Well, yes and no. RK's primary focus as chairman is to represent the new owner by balancing football and finances. So, when he envisages a return to the Southampton Way, he means the financial element as well as the football.

Lets rewind to the not so distant past. What were your expectations for the club during the summer transfer windows over the last 4 or 5 years? Remember? Great! That's what we'll have to enjoy/ endure once more. You see, returning to the Southampton Way on the pitch for RK also means to apply the previous approach to transfer dealings. We'll sell our best players for as much as possible and recruit younger players to develop and sell on in the future at profit. RK says we should then take pride in watching our old players achieve wonderful things like reaching the Champions League final with their new side. Err. no. That's a bit like telling you that although your girlfriend left you for someone better, you should be happy for her when they win the lottery.

Remember too that its not just the fans that take issue with this policy. Our two best manages of recent times have left stating their frustration at being unable to build a team and plan ahead as they had no idea what their team would look like from season to season. Will MH be any different? RK is confident he's the right man to unite the team but how can he when the faces in the changing room will change so often?

RK advises that Mr Gao won't be investing any money in the club. Therefore, our transfer funds will come mainly or solely from player sales. Perhaps not this summer as we still have the majority of the VVD money to spend, unless that money is being used to improve the training facilities and entertainment for fans on match days as RK outlines. If the money is available, we start from a good place and can still strengthen this summer with a view to moving up the league. But then we'll have to see some of our favourite players leave and be replaced by others we may have no affinity with. Its like a football version of speed dating. Just when we get to know and like them, RING, there goes the bell and they're moving on. It might be great for the financial side but the fans are being asked to support the club rather than the individual players. I don't buy it. Surely that's grounds for a divorce between fans and club rather then a foundation for unity.

At least it's a World Cup year.

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17 May 2018 16:22:15
Hi figo

Excellent post and I agree totally with your sentiments. I think it will be interesting as the club has yet to announce the appointment of MH as permanent manager, how long does this process take with only one candidate? . The transfer window opens tomorrow and season ticket holders are being asked to renew admittedly with prices held at last year's level, but as you state it's same old saints not showing any ambition but happy to keep turning over players for a profit. Its a bit rich that the club show no real loyalty to the players or fans, can you blame the players feeling the same way? 're RK's comment on spending money on the training facility why it is only 4-5 years since construction finished and it was hailed as leading edge, years ahead of its time so where is the need for big expenditure? It will be interesting to see how much of the VVD money is available for players plus moving on some other fringe players e. g. Clasie who haven't featured. Its interesting that nobody is really taking responsibility for MP2's appointment and how disastrous that was on a 3 year contract which cost money to settle early! The premiership as RK says is unique but it is not just about football, it is entertainment, theatre, drama and the connection between fans and players. As you say figo this has been eroded and I hope that this is not the Board and owners view of the 'Southampton way'
going forward.

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17 May 2018 16:41:15
I was thinking exactly the same thing re: the MH appointment. He said at the end of the season he would love to take the job on and he expected Saints to move quickly. Saints have said publicly now they see him as the right man for the job and they're in discussions. and that's it. Nothing for some time now. There's a sticking point somewhere and it may well be financial or length of contract, but if I was MH I would like some reassurance that the core of the squad I want to keep and build around will still be here for next season. If the club can't give him that assurance, or he doesn't like the idea of the high player turnover, it could be a deal breaker.

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17 May 2018 21:47:18
I would ‘echo’ the comments - it is a fine post.

The summary is spot on and covered everything. About Hughes though, he is in a fairly good position, as on paper we were going down and he saved us. Whilst I am grateful and have no issues with him getting the long term job if a suitable strategy is in place, no one knows for sure if we would have stayed up anyway. Although it’s speculative, we could have potentially stayed regardless of who was at the help, a point that should be considered is that it got worse before it got better. However again, stoke may have stayed up under Hughes, I seem to recall his points average would have been enough.

That said and again on paper, he saved us and reputation would naturally be restored to an extent.

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17 May 2018 22:16:10
Totally agree with both above posts but there is just something that is bugging me. They allowed Mr GAO to take majority control of the club with to put it mildly very little confidence in his financial ability to finance the club if required in the future. I feel this is a major stumbling block for any progression for the club to ensure a stable future . Just maybe the SOUTHAMPTON WAY doesn’t suit other potential investors who really want to be more involved with the club and not happy with the board as it is. The delay in appointing MH smacks of the last two seasons with obviously something holding it up, probably as you say money and confirmation of the squad availability for next season. Don’t know about anybody else but the communication from the club to the supporters is virtually nothing apart from a rather sheepish interview with Adam Blackmore. However they were amazingly quick to post the new season ticket great deals and wanting our money now before we have any idea of what the set up will be next season. I personally find the recent business far from the Southampton Way and if they want to know what that is, hold a fans forum they might learn something, but I doubt it.

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17 May 2018 22:33:36
So basically we are expecting nothing to change then lol.

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18 May 2018 11:08:37
They’ll be holding a fans’ forum in August I believe so perhaps an opportunity to get some points across and find out more. I can’t find any trace of an official fan club/ union which would be a better way for the fans to approach a forum. Anyone know of one?

What will be pointless is if 100 fans turn up all shouting and disorganised. Then, at the next forum there’s an entirely different group of fans all asking the same questions as last time or wasting time with questions that are unhelpful. Given that the fans are many, availability of tickets will likely be luck of the draw on application and views broad, it would be better if there was an official supporters’ club, independent but recognised by it as representing the fans, where member fans are invited to air their views to representatives who then put select questions to RK and whoever else turns up. This official supporters’ club can then circulate the minutes of the forum to all its members so everyone can read what was discussed without it being edited by the Echo or the FC. Otherwise, fans will feel as if they don’t have a voice if they don’t get to attend a forum, making them pointless.

For the club’s part, if they feel the forum is just an opportunity for people to come and shout or abuse them when things aren’t going well, or they are disorganised and messy there’s a risk they’ll just draw a line under it.

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18 May 2018 15:07:42
Figo I would be the first to second you as the level headed representative to put an organised sensible discussion with the board and the management putting forward supporters views and recommendations for the club to take on board. Why not try to organise something I believe you would get very firm backing from the majority of the supporters.

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18 May 2018 20:55:48
Thanks Chris. I wasn't really thinking about me. Right now, I feel far from level headed about what is happening.

I may consider it. I've still not found anyone official. I'll drop a line to the SFC supporter relations contact and the Football Supporters Federation to see if there is anyone official. I'd rather just join than set something up as it will require a fair amount of time to be committed. But, if there is no-one out there it seems to me the only sensible way to have our views aired with the club constructively.

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16 May 2018 15:36:02
Hey everybody, three main points:

1. I’m delighted and so relieved we pulled off the survival mission this season. Lesson to learn and don’t do it again. Next year we should be back to where we were the previous few seasons, among the top 10 mix and having a good time. Let’s hope so anyway. Come On You Saints.

2. Just give Mark Hughes the job.

3. Disappointed Gareth Southgate hasn’t picked the best English Left back in the World Cup squad. Bertrand is unlucky there, but then again didn’t have his best season. Good luck to Southgate’s Three Lions this summer. Terrible squad, but I’m right behind you. Come on you England!
And finally, agreeing with a few other posters in here, a big well done to all the Editors who work on this page. You’ve put together some good stuff this season, well done all.

Everyone else, enjoy your summer and I look forward to reading your very many inside tips on who may or may not be joining or leaving St Mary’s. Personally I think we should stick a couple of ambitious and very cheeky bids for the likes of Mo Salah, Trent Alex-Arnold and Gareth Bale. What a great Champions League final that’ll be this week. Good luck Liverpool!

Saint Etienne.

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17 May 2018 05:14:04
1. I am too

2. We could do a lot worse than keeping MH

3. What? Bertrand was piss poor throughout the season! In the first 30 games didn't look interested at all, only played in last 8 games or so. But still, to me it was a right decision to leave him out. I don't think he's unlucky at all! It we could get 20m from him, I's say sell him. Very overrated player based on this season.

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17 May 2018 09:50:10
I don't think Bertrand is over rated, I think he was just a bit disinterested this year. Agree that he shouldn't be at the World Cup based on those performances, but I would definitely not settle for £20m. He's still a very talented player and at a new club with fresh motivation, could justify a price tag in the 30-40m range in my opinion.

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17 May 2018 21:52:11
Prior to this season I would have laughed at 20m being an acceptable fee, but form dictates and I would imagine any deal would be between 20-30m now.

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14 May 2018 18:24:34
Rumours are that if we sell Alex McCarthy the price will be £40 million and we will try to get Butland. News coming in that the club may look to tempt Hughes into a new contract with good wages and a marquee signing. The likes of Promes and Shaqiri, or perhaps both. We are also looking to strengthen centre-back, with Mawson, Evans and Jansson as targets.

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14 May 2018 22:48:13
Doesn't Macca's contract run out this summer? Can't see anyone paying 40 mil for him if that's the case.

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15 May 2018 09:12:11
He's been great, but if you offered us 40 mil for him and I was in charge, I'd bite your hands off!

I really don't understand this Shaqiri thing. He's maddeningly inconsistent and in my opinion the exact type of over-valued, inconsistent and diva-like player we need to move away from. We need to re-establish a strong culture. While signings like Mawson may help that, Shaqiri will not.

For me, character should be a huge part of any evaluation this summer. Not too sure how Promes fits with that tbh, but I like his talent.

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15 May 2018 12:15:44
totally agree with the points from 123, but in any case I can't see Shaqiri as a 'Southampton' type of signing. I know they are not exactly like for like, but a signing like Promes may not be the finished article but will potentially have big sell on value.

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15 May 2018 15:21:34
Either Shaqiri or Promes works for me. Fantastic attacking players with Promes probably the more direct of the two.

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16 May 2018 12:46:57
I've read the rumor of Sisto from Celta Vigo (just paper talk), this would be to replace Boufal as we'll probably ship him back off to France. I would imagine we sign him or Promes. I'd rather go for Promes, generally based on the fact he has more experience.

Eds do you know anything about us potentially approaching these two players?

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16 May 2018 13:01:15
I don't think Liverpool pay out 40mill to sit on the bench.

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14 May 2018 18:04:13
Absolutely NO WAY we do any deal with Liverpool for McCarthy or any one else for that matter. We need to build and not sell out best players. Learn the lesson Led Reed.

PS Thanks Ed. Its been a frustrating season but your knowledge and advice has always been spot on!

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15 May 2018 12:16:34
I think its just paper talk. I rate AM but he is not a 40M keeper yet.

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09 May 2018 11:40:24
Eds, there are reports today we've turned down the chance to sign Max Meyer from Schalke for just under £9m. Is there any truth in this? I know Meyer has fallen out with Schalke but he's a genuine prospect isn't he? Do you think it was his attitude that saw us turn him down if we did so?

{Ed001's Note - it is not as simple as that. He was offered around by his agent, his club were still trying to get him to sign a new deal. There was no price set or anything, just clubs not wanting to get involved in January.}

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09 May 2018 13:13:54
OK, so just the papers highlighting a link to us to add a bit if spice to the story when in fact he was being shopped around to a number of clubs. I like what I've seen/ heard about him playing wise though. Any thoughts on his ability to kick on in the premier league?

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11 May 2018 16:07:31
Interesting striker worth looking at from St Pauli - Marvin Ducksch, currently on loan to Holstein Kiel, has scored 18 goals this season plus 11 assists.

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08 May 2018 22:15:21
Wow and Wow again.

Give Hughes a permanent contract!

He has got the best out of players and the board must show their appreciation.

This summer has to be a careful consideration of a way forward.

players have to go and some have to be bought in.

But this time, we have to show that we mean business and find goal scorers.

Out 6 ft 4 inch keeper has been amazing. Give him great credit!

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09 May 2018 06:42:27
We would've saved around 10 points had McCarthy started in Forster's place since the start of the season. Need more competition in that department.

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09 May 2018 20:42:26
Honestly I think we need to think long term rather than appoint Hughes just because he kept us up. Frankly he's a mediocre manager, at best. It shows no imagination or forward planning from Les that we would keep him. One of the big things of the 'Southampton Way' is supposed to be having a list of potential candidates and players that suit the philosophy of the club and that can step in when the time is right. Most of those candidates would have been employed in Mid March when we appointed Hughes, there is no way that Hughes was on that wish list of managers. Give him a pat on the back, pay the deal you agreed and get the next guy on the list that is going to take the club forward. #bebetterthanthatles.

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09 May 2018 21:18:31
Behave CanadaSaint, there isn't any proven manager better for our club. Mark Hughes is a very good manager. Look at where he managed to take Stoke from nothing to midtable. OK he didn't start well this season granted. We aren't a big club and there's isn't many of the same calibre of manager about. We had a few glory seasons and suddenly were expected to get there? Financial power of west ham, Everton, Leicester after their league win. It's that way of thinking that nearly cost us our Premier league status this season "we thought all manager wasn't good enough" replaced him with worse.

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09 May 2018 22:38:28
I totally agree that "we" need to know where we fit in the hierarchy of clubs and we are not a big club, I get it. I didn't mention anything about league position, spending power or expectations. I'm not suggesting managers will leave big club jobs to join Saints, not at all, but there are successful managers at all levels.

My point was that Hughes would not have been on a shortlist if Les had been recruiting from a fresh start / between seasons so he should stick to his plan, go back to the list and see who was on it to make the full time appointment. We took Hughes because he was available not because we really wanted him, that was my feeling on his appointment. Maybe i'm wrong and Mark Hughes was his No.1 guy all along and we just got lucky that Stoke sacked him. Seems unlikely.

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10 May 2018 06:41:59
What I'm saying realistically is for our status and wage structure, without taking a gamble he is a very very good option. The man deserves a lot of credit and he's certainly a very good option to move forward. We need to get into the mind frame that the glory days are over and he's one of the better managers for the level of club we are.

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11 May 2018 07:59:20
Well said Sfcphill.
Since the overwhelming success of the Poch and Koeman years are expectations were sky high but selling all our best players and the appointments of Puel and Pellegrino have been a reality check. Survival next season is a realistic target. let's face it the last two seasons we haven’t shown that we are anywhere near what we used to be in the league. Mark Hughes has the support of the squad which is something we have lacked of late. Give him some better players (centre back/ creative mid/ striker) and we will be alright.

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12 May 2018 17:24:04
Was a little disappointed with the boufal fall out he has great potential but Hughes needs players who want to play for him. I think personally his demise at Stoke was down to wrong attitude players. I don't know for certain but that would be my guess at it. I understand your stance Canada just disagree that there is much better out there that we could pick up at our level and financial standing. Sean Dyche start of last season could have be worth a punt but have no chance now. Could have been worse we could have got in big Sam. I think Hughes deserves a full season with performance reviews quarterly through the season. We definitely need to be quicker to react in crisis. Plenty of managers who can make a change in tactics and mentality about. Les Reed and the board could do with being ruffled up in my opinion. They're some great players to be picked up from the teams relegated this season which could be interesting.

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12 May 2018 17:27:39
Lawrie Macs comment in the echo was a good read and I agree with his comments.

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