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21 Jan 2019 19:53:28
I really enjoy the transparency and clarity that Ralph employs with the media. A real change from CP and MP2. And I also applaud his pragmatism around potential departures. Shows respect but also effectively says "if you don't feel you fit there's the door" A lesson for Ralph Kruger.

There's a guy who speaks English as a second language who's far clearer than you. So Mr Kruger, please ditch the corporate vague waffle and give a clear message regarding the strategic direction of the club. I have no idea what that is at the moment and I guess I'm not alone.

Saint David

1.) 22 Jan 2019 07:39:35
I understand the strategic aims of the club. We're a football club, they aren't complicated, and they're the same as they were a few years ago.

Not really sure what your point is here. RK rarely addresses media that I know of, and I wouldn't expect him to do so more often. It seems some people are still looking for people to have a go at even when times are better.


2.) 22 Jan 2019 13:12:03
I appreciate that he can come over a little like a politician/ business manager with his deliberate speech and vocabulary, but in the main I think RK is not only more engaging than previous people who have held his position, but open and honest with the fans as well. He has been clear about the club’s strategy and his views on this were aired once more last Friday in the fan forum. Video’s on the Saints website if you missed it.

I agree with 123 that there does appear to remain a lingering animosity towards the management of the club over the last few seasons. At a low ebb and with the club drifting it is justified, but not now. Also, at each stage of our struggles, the club was not passive. New managers were appointed, new players signed, a new transfer strategy adopted where we refused to sell our best players. When it became clear that changing managers, hanging on to sulking players and the new signings made were not having the desired effect, the board looked deeper beneath the surface and they lost faith in Les Reed’s ability to head up the football operations side. He was relieved of his post.

Last summer, RK admitted the club had lost direction in straying from the Southampton Way and he had faith that a return to that strategy would see the club right. He and the rest of the board should be praised for not only accepting responsibility but finding the most effective way to implement the strategy they believe will turn things around. This objectivity is crucial to progress. We now see that being implemented with the appointment of a head coach who fits perfectly with the strategy of developing players and coaching them to be better, as opposed to the old-fashioned view of trying to buy success. That is why we showed signs of progression and success under Pochettino. Many fans rate Koeman but whilst the team continued to perform for him, I would say that he was the first managerial appointment that started to lean towards more expensive, developed signings for the first team rather than relying on coaching improvements from the players he already had.

RH is working closely with Ross Wilson (RW) acting as head of recruitment to develop a shortlist of players in every position that fit the mould of the team RH is building. Young, hungry, high level of fitness. These are now the key attributes as technical attributes can be developed through the first class coaching that RH delivers. The players are loving being coached for the first time in a long time and it is showing on the pitch already. We are still far from the team RH would be happy with but look at the turnaround we’ve already seen in performance and points. Ignore all the paper talk linking us with the likes of Gary Cahill and any developed players at their peak. Cost aside, its not likely to be the sort of player RH wants. The links to younger players at the likes of Leeds and Brentford are more likely and trust RW and RH will do their homework thoroughly and only sign the players they believe fit the bill. They are looking for players for the future. Long term.

RK was also very honest last Friday when asked whether the club had developed a new 5 year plan. He stated that the focus at the moment is on survival in the Premier League for this season. Once that is achieved, over the summer the board are more likely to sit down and consider the long term position, underlining there is nothing concrete at the moment. But that doesn’t mean there is no strategy. The appointment of RH is a clear indication of what the club sees not only as a way of stabilising but developing and progressing. It’s a statement of long-term strategy and ambition.
The Southampton Way may be considered vague at best, or rhetoric at worst so if it’s the way RK speaks that irks you, I would urge you to look at the club’s actions in response to the adversity we have faced over the last few seasons. Past decision have perhaps been short-sighted and wrong with hindsight, but this new appointment and the restructuring behind the scenes indicates the club are looking forward. Publicly, RK says the club is looking at ‘the now’ and survival this season but the appointment of RH speaks so much more about the club’s desire to return to success, stability and progress that we enjoyed in the past in the long term. It is not a short term appointment but an act of reviving the strategy under Pochettino that worked so well. RK is clearly as excited about the team under RH as we all are, but he’s likely tempering his view to a short term one at the moment, simply because he’s had his fingers burned by a number of past decisions. But they were made without the insight the club has now achieved and will hopefully not forget again.

My issue over the last three seasons with the club was the loss of the Southampton Way as a long-term strategy, evidenced by a series of poor decisions that were ill-judged and seemed only to serve the short-term objective of survival. But I’m now more than satisfied with the club’s revival of its long-term strategy following the appointment of RH and the statement it makes. I’m now more than prepared to give the board the benefit of the doubt that they’ve learned from past mistakes and they won’t be repeated in a hurry.

There’s little point as fans in dwelling on the past and tempering our excitement about having a good manager and an improving team, just in case things fall apart again. The success and failure of teams is cyclical and there will be highs and lows along the way so we should just enjoy the good times while they are here. I for one am more confident now that should the bad times return, the club has learned lessons and will be more equipped to deal with them.


3.) 22 Jan 2019 13:51:48
Agree with much of what you say, but if it takes last season and the start of this season for RK to appreciate the club had lost its way then he really should have gone to an optician.

That sort of insight gets clubs relegated.


4.) 22 Jan 2019 17:30:04
Hi figo,

I have recently posted a post stating very much that our way forward is back to the Southampton way concentrating on youth development and looking at younger players from lower leagues and I appreciate RK is now being more open and looking to survival this season and look more closely at the squad in the summer. I also accept what St Martin is saying and let's face it we missed relegation by the skin of our teeth 2017-2018.I myself was in contact with the club in Oct 2017 criticising MP and saints playing style, too slow and ponderous and too many passes going backwards or sideways. I totally support RH and in such a short time what he has achieved is miraculous but RK has earned a huge salary, squandered tens of millions of £s and he was overseeing Les Reed so he cannot distance himself totally from the blame and let's face it confirms he might know ice hockey but knows Jack about soccer. i just hope we can hold onto RH for a decent time ie 4-5 seasons where we can instigate a long term viable, considered policy rather than knee jerk reactionary buys which have proved to be an abject failure. Anyway onwards and upwards. coyr.


5.) 22 Jan 2019 17:38:57
I also agree with most of what you say Figo. I also agree with Saint Martin re. RK. He should have seen what was happening to us a long time before he actually started to address the situation. We as fans could see the problems long ago. The Southampton way seemed to be put on the back burner for a while but hopefully RK has now realised the error of his ways and can get us back on course. I feel that RH can really take us back to where we were under Poch if the board are brave enough to back him.


6.) 22 Jan 2019 18:44:18
The point is that when a problem arises, its not always clear what the solution is. As fans, our first view is that the players aren’t good enough. Then we blame the manager. Then we blame the board. We expect people to lose their place in their team or their job and then, that everything will miraculously be better. RK knew there was a problem 2 seasons ago which is why he sacked CP, then MP2, then MH. Its disingenuous to say he took to long to see a problem. The club actively tried to right the ship.

Plus, the club acted appropriately in bringing in new players and selling the sulking VVD. They changed managers. They did everything we expected of them to. But ultimately, the wrong people were brought in and this didn’t address the fundamental problem at the club. The board is reliant on the footballing expertise of the person appointed to head up football operations as the board are commonly business people, not football experts. The failure of those appointments rests predominantly with LR and he lost his job in the end too.

You can claim to be some sort of clairvoyant but there were very few people posting on this website who had any genuine understanding of the depth of the problem at the club and how to fix it. Yes we were playing turgid football but last season many people were bemoaning the sacking of Claude Puel, despite him overseeing the start of the slump. Leicester’s record shows you that it wasn’t the players here but the Manager. Just as often, the players are castigated by people posting on this forum as they’re labelled lazy, not good enough, not passionate enough. RH’s appointment has now changed opinion. Also, there were many who posted on here who were delighted with the long term appointment of Mark Hughes over the summer. Now, those same people are jumping on RK’s back and having a go when ultimately they were, at best, just as clueless.

Its so easy with the benefit of hindsight now to say it was obvious that sacking Les Reed, restructuring the recruitment arm and bringing in a top quality COACH was the solution, but be honest and reply to this post in the affirmative if that was the collective solution you were insisting on 2 seasons ago. It was my thought just before MP2 was sacked last season which remained with me over the summer but I didn’t appreciate the depth of the problem before then. If any of you did, you didn’t say so on here. But RK found the problem and solution whether by diligence or luck and he should be praised for it. If he is to receive critical letters from fans in the dark days, perhaps he should receive congratulatory ones when we do well. let's wait and see how the club does for the rest of season. We don’t need to be angry or critical anymore.


7.) 23 Jan 2019 10:16:57
I think it's difficult as football fans because we'll always be on the outside looking in. We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, we don't know how many times the board meets with the manager, we don't know who we're scouting at the moment. We can only make our judgements based on what happens during a period of 90 minutes on a Saturday. And the thought progression of a football fan that you speak of Figo is correct if a player has a bad game then their not good enough, if the team has a string of bad games then it's the managers fault. If players are signed and not good enough and new managers come in and out of the club and we still see bad results then it's the boards.

I think the last 4 appointments seem logical, CP had a brilliant record in France and his CV was probably better than RK's and MP's. Yet he wasn't good enough. I'd pinpoint the downfall of CP down to selling Jose Fonte, as when we sold him, we lost a very good experienced defender and a lead. MP2 had a decent season before signing to the Saints and MH was signed because we needed a short term solution at the time to remain in the PL. Why we gave him a full time contract, we'll never know. Maybe because the board felt his achievements deemed some sort of loyalty to him or whether the board were too lazy to search for a manager.

RH already looks like a top man, and manager. He's very transparent, I feel like we'll always know the situation with the club with him in charge. He is addressing our problems head on, on Saturday I saw a fast flowing attacking football, not sideways passing and because of this we are scoring more goals and creating even better chances. This style of football will get us results and relies less on an indivduals performance. I feel that the Southampton Way had been lost a long time ago. Making the money that we have done from player sales has allowed us to really splash the cash, even though it doesn't seem like it and because of that we've signed inadiquate players, who get the matchday pick ahead of some of our youth players. RH will help reinstall this way as Figo has stated as he wants to bring in young players that will suit his style.

The only long term issue is that is RH builds a quality young squad who are hammered to play his style of football and then switches clubs, we will be left in the same postition as we were 2 seasons ago. Ultimately I think the problem with the previous appointments has been that they do that have a brand of football and have not been clear with what they want from the squad. Whereas RH wants to play the pressing game and that is all that he is focused on achieving.


8.) 23 Jan 2019 18:36:52
If or when RH moves on surely we should be looking for a manager that likes to play a similar style of football or even stipulate during interviews that they will be expected to carry on playing in a similar style. The problem with changing managers as often as we have recently is that each manager comes in with their own way of setting up their team and playing or in the case of MH no idea at all. This obviously makes it difficult for some players as we all saw with JWP who played well under Poch but then didn't fit under the next 3 managers but is now playing really well again.


 

 

 

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13 Jan 2019 16:00:17
I know that Shane Long comes in for a lot of stick but I would like to offer a word of appreciation. Not for the goal, delighted as I was that he broke the drought. Simply this. He knew he wouldn't have made the team without an onerous injury list, but still came in and gave everything for the cause. He might not be a premiership standard striker, but if all the squad showed the commitment and character that lad shows we would be in good shape. I've been offended by some of the light-weights pulling on a saints shirt over the last few years, but Shane gives all he's got. He shows the club huge respect through his approach and gets my thanks.

Saint David

1.) 14 Jan 2019 06:27:54
Agree!


2.) 14 Jan 2019 06:39:07
Totally agree with that
Commitment 100%
Work rate 100%
He’s always given that and yes we all know his stats and he should have more goals but I’d have his commitment over a lazy player any day.


3.) 14 Jan 2019 06:42:15
On another note watching Everton yesterday against Bournemouth Everton were nothing to write home about
So Saturday I’m feeling very optimistic about our chances
They just look very unorganised and I think silva is now under pressure to get results so I’m thinking home win
Thoughts anyone.


4.) 14 Jan 2019 10:03:15
Definitely optimistic, just depends to me on how strong our lineup against Derby is on Wednesday - if it’s near full strength we may be a bit leggy for Saturday, but even then wouldn’t expect a home loss. Palace and Burnley to come, could have a nice cushion before too long!


5.) 14 Jan 2019 13:35:27
Seems like Shane Long and Boufal have what each other don't. If only we could genetically combine those two to get a lazy, selfish, inconsistent, limitedly skilled player. What an asset.
I reckon bednarek and Jannick would do enough to limit Everton's attack but it's our fullbacks against their wide men that concerns me a bit. The lad Bernardo looks some player and his combos with Digne looks deadly. Lookman showed glimpses, although Walcott looked like he had an off day. Targett and especially Cedric really need to be at their best for this. Here's hoping for another 3 points but I wouldn't mind a draw.


6.) 14 Jan 2019 19:40:11
On Shane Long, he's one on the most unselfish players I have ever seen. He is a nightmare to play against. When RK was in charge he was often in the team showing pace and power and goals. Really pleased for him and I think RH will use him more.
On the Everton game, always feel unsure against them but we did them last season, and we are playing better now.
Let's go for a home win, Nat, Shane and Stu to score COYS.


 

 

04 Nov 2018 18:52:29
We are in the normal cycle of a medium sized club. period of failure followed by renaissance and ambition and now decline. Big dreams and boldness replaced by pragmatic "we are a small club" and recruitment of a serial failure like Hughes. Did anyone really expect him to deliver success? If you are in your 50s with a track record of failure why would you suddenly become a success? Cortese was flawed but at least thought big. We have been on a down hill trajectory since he left through lack of ambition. Until we have club leadership with hunger we will always struggle. And the question as to whether been are relegated this year is perfunctory. if it's not this year it is next. Because the plan doesn't change. And Krueger avoids any real accountability . and I'm not sure he cares. The answer lies with our new owners and a hope that they will tire of mediocrity and excuses and seek to drive for success as we saw latterly with Leicester. Otherwise we have this depressing attrition that ends up making relegation a blessed relief. I love this club but find this period the most bleak in 40 years simply because of the benign acceptance of our demise.

Saint David

1.) 04 Nov 2018 21:26:27
Hi David,

I'm sorry why is it normal for a club to have periods of success and failure? That just demonstrates poor management! Saints have demonstrated poor management in so many areas recruitment, failure to retain key members of staff at all levels. Trying to treat Premier League Football like any other business is just a nonsense. We are in what is now a global entertainment business and let's be honest who would pay to watch Sfc? We obviously cannot compete with the financial muscle of the big teams but we have fallen behind in so many ways, I am a big admirer of Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, great to watch, very competitive and buy wisely. Sfc have blown millions recently on really poor choices eg Boufal, Carillo plus so many others, we can't defend, we can't score today's performance was just pitiful, to start playing 4-1 in the second half is just a team going through the motions, taking their bloated salaries. Perhaps relegation would necessitate the mass clear out of all our dead wood. As an Sfc fan of 50 yrs I have never felt so despondent and so angry at where we have ended up and it need never have happened. So let's see what happens in the next few weeks.


2.) 04 Nov 2018 22:30:32
Two good post’s there-congratulations. To avoid any further supporter unrest and despair please let the TEA LADY choose our next Manager!
KOM.


3.) 05 Nov 2018 17:07:34
I still think the new owner only has purchased any stake for development of land around Southampton, being refused sale of a large plot of land in the years previous for development. I know I know that's my doubting negative head speaking. but Mr gao does seem quite uninvolved. look at the comparison of say the Leicester owner (yes I know its totally different and no I don't know what goes on behind the scene) and I know this is a "personal" investment for him and his daughter but what has actually been impacted by their ownership? We're going backwards, we have no identity and we've gone from being everyone's second favourite team to laughing stock relegation fodder. I still stand behind my thought of bringing it back to clearing out these numpty big transfer signings, clear out the dead wood (not on loan) and get a good blend of youth, talent and desire. Then find a coach who is willing to emplore that and excite the fans and the league again. right now we are there for the taking home and away and that's been the case for at least 2 and a half years.


4.) 06 Nov 2018 07:52:58
Agree about Mr. Gao. Seems totally disinterested in football or Southampton FC. I can't understand the owners just sitting back and allowing the club to fall apart. Surely they realise that their stake in the club will be next to worthless if we fall down through the leagues again. I would have thought that they would be making decent money available for transfers in January just to try and keep us in the premier league . If they have no interest in football start looking for someone else to purchase the club.


 

 

 

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05 Dec 2018 14:22:29
Agree with you there Figo. There remains an unknown (to a degree) as to how the new coach will adapt to a new league, but all the indications are that he has the required depth of tactical insight and emotional intelligence required to succeed in the premiership. Sadly MH was of a dying breed of English managers (a la Keegan) who have passion and effort but who lack breadth of tools required to succeed. I am impressed with the decisiveness of the board following the protracted prevarication around MP2 and share the view that a rush to appoint a DoF would be ill advised. A positive couple of weeks after 2 years of drift. St David.

Saint David

 

 

 

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09 Feb 2019 19:43:55
Ralph is still our best bet but he needs to control the negative comments. We have enjoyed the new manager bounce and now it is now down to trench warfare till the end of the season. Comments about unbelievable stupidity won't help and a spell in the second tier is now looking likely. Big test of Ralph's temperment over the next month.

Saint David