10 May 2018 15:59:10
Excuse me for being confused about the reaction to the result at Swansea and as to whether Mark Hughes should stay on as manager. The turn around in our performances since he came in shouts out loud and clear BELIEF! He seems to have motivated the same players that were just going through the motions into professionals showing passion and fight. All the talk of who should be our next manager is quite baffling, considering we would be in the Championship now if we had stayed with MP2 . I am no rocket scientist but do we want to play Russian Roulette with the club again and appoint a foreign manager with no experience of the EPL? MH has been here about 5 weeks and saved us, yes saved us. The reaction shown on Tuesday night portrayed a person with passion and commitment and at the final whistle the players embraced him as though he had been here for years. Give him a chance we might not sweep all aside next season but one things for sure the dressing room will be a much happier place with players that have their confidence back . The players have respect for MH whether it lasts who knows but the man deserves a shot at it. In my book he is a bit of a hero right now, just a few weeks ago we had just about given up hope . We march on but only just about. Thanks Mark Hughes I truly believe you saved us.

1.) 10 May 2018
10 May 2018 17:13:09
Here Here! Give him a long term contract and let's see what he can do. I personally think he's a good manager, yes it went a little sour at Stoke, but he was there for 5 years! How many other top-flight managers perform consistently for that long? (Apart from Fergie or Wenger)

2.) 11 May 2018
10 May 2018 23:30:19
Hi guys,
I totally agree with your posts MH has done a fabulous job in a very short time scale. To contemplate other options who are relatively unknown and relatively unproven is a huge, huge gamble! MH is our fourth manager in 3 years, we have had enough gambling and let's have some stability. Questions have been asked about his transfer dealings at Stoke but again let's not forget our vaunted black box is not faultless and again two very recent acquisitions Boufal was Puels choice just before he was kicked out and Carillo MP's shortly before he was outed. For me the main factor is he has united the dressing room and let's face it this club needs some stability plus don't forget a new owner only 6 months ago. The majority of players have publicly stated that they have enjoyed his managership and he must stay. Also players have been publicly stating that they have underachieved this season and taking responsibility for their actions. let's not forget football managers are a rare breed and we are not in the top echelons and so we need to cut our cloth accordingly. MH was at Stoke a very similar size club and previously kept them in the top half of the table, possibly he made mistakes there but who doesn't, I am sure he has learned from them and wants to put his stamp on Sfc and prove the doubters wrong. Re the squad we need to take a long, hard look at players and address our inability to score goals which has been the root cause of our problems, and if certain individuals cannot improve then hopefully better replacements can be found. I do feel that Sfc are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, labelled a selling club but if your best players can go and play at a higher level and double or triple their salaries who can blame them? We as individuals given that opportunity would do the same thing. We have to accept that unless we can do a Leicester we are not competing for the Premier League, but we can do a Burnley who with a limited budget have achieved Europa league football. We have a magnificent training setup and let's maximise the youth setup and ensure that our future acquisitions are the right fit regarding temperament, character etc. This season we have tendered on the brink of relegation and we all know it's a crap place to be, so next season if we improve all over the pitch cut out stupid mistakes learn to close out games when we are winning 1-0 we can look back at this end of season as a pivotal moment in the club's history. So Sunday let's go and put in a professional performance and get the 1 point needed or more to totally negate Swanseas result. ps I loved the club's Twitter feed 're the Marriott. COYS.

3.) 11 May 2018
11 May 2018 11:46:13
My concern is that firstly, he has not saved us yet. Some people seem very relaxed about this but relegation remains a possibility if Man City fly at us and Stoke don’t bother against Swansea. Further, wearing the rose-tinted glasses of believing we’re now safe, some are praising MH but if you rewind to the weekend after another chance slipped against Everton, I doubt there were so many so vocal in their support of the impact he has had. I therefore assume Saintchris that the difference of opinion over whether he should continue is down to those judging his ability in the short term, perhaps even as brief as what has happened in the last few days, and those who are taking a slightly more long term view and remain concerned about his previous track record.

MH has made a difference in pulling the team together and yes, he has faired better than MP2, but he has not improved us defensively and we remain very fragile which causes genuine concern ahead of a match against Man City with their tails up. He has given the team greater licence to attack which has benefitted the likes of Tadic and Redmond but its not a tactic that can work every game. We’ve lost 4, drawn 2 and won 3. We’ve conceded 13 goals. Its not been great.

The team are all pulling in the same direction at the moment with a very clear short term goal of staying in the premier league. Their motivation is strong. What happens at the start of next season - what is our goal then? What is the long term goal? What happens under MH when results aren’t coming together? Do we see a repeat of Stoke or will he be able to make a difference?

I disagree with the suggestion that retaining MH is not a gamble. Of course it is. He will have been in charge for 10 games at the end of the season, in a very unique set of circumstances, and to say that is enough to assess whether someone will be a long term success is ridiculous. We can look at his previous track record at several clubs and its patchy.

I have set out my view in more detail in the article I posted on this site yesterday, but in short, the club needs to first sit down and devise a long term strategy for the next 5 or so years. Each season over that period should have its own clearly defined target with a detailed plan of how that will be achieved. The managerial appointment in a way is secondary to this. Look at the clubs who started this season without a long term plan, ended up in trouble and got in an experienced premier league manager, only to see it make little difference. When you exist season to season only, you are only running to keep up with everyone else, rather than looking ahead and being the one setting the pace. This in turn leads to the desperate payment of large sums being for players because of name or reputation but failing to consider whether they truly fit in the team. I disagree with VS that our signings have been as woeful as the likes of West Brom, Stoke, Swansea, Palace, West Ham, Everton, Newcastle.

4.) 11 May 2018
11 May 2018 13:08:54
All posts here on either side of MH have their justification
I think the club do need to analyse and put a plan together but perhaps not as they have done and look at a shorter term philosophy than 5 years. MH should be given the opportunity of a window and a pre season.
It’s a love in at the moment and to tamper with that would be folly. What he brings is knowledge of the division and passion which was for all to see on Tuesday.
He cares and the players get it.
If it’s going peared before Xmas then make a change but give him a chance. He deserves it.

5.) 12 May 2018
11 May 2018 23:27:48
If we were to give away this 10 goal margin I honestly couldn’t live with that and probably wouldn’t have the desire to go and watch them for a long time
But 10 goals!

6.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 03:37:08
Dear figo

I appreciate your comments but are you seriously proposing that MH who has been in the job 2 months is let go? after barring a total catastrophe keeps us in the Premiership and then we appoint another manager! The third in one year! Please tell me who this outstanding candidate is because the names I have seen bandied about are not guaranteed sure fire successes. Our credibility as a club is rock bottom to follow that path would deservedly make us the laughing stock of the footballing world! And what if your candidate can't win over the dressing room? Do we go back to MH in January 2019? Please are you serious? Your comments about our recent transfer policy is not as bad as Swansea, West Ham, again please do you really believe Boufal and Carillo were good acquisitions? How low are you setting the bar?
The club, players need some stability perhaps MH is not everyone's first choice and his record is not perfect but was he to blame that we didn't beat Everton? No the players have accepted responsibility for their failure to close out the game. This has been a rubbish season and we look we will survive by the skin of our teeth which was the primary objective. As I wrote previously MH has been criticised by the Stoke management saying they should have sacked him earlier but Paul Lambert had 18 games and failed to keep them up! MH is also blamed for their transfer failures, well that's an easy comment to make as he was sacked 5 months ago, it strikes me these are cheap shots for Stoke to make. This whole situation has come about because the Sfc board failed to take action about MP soon enough so our options were limited and MH has done the job he was asked to do. He has the support of the players and hopefully followed by an objective appraisal of the squad and suitable additions/ replacements. Regards vs.

7.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 09:44:29
Dear Figo 2
He hasn't given them a license to attack more, he has changed the structure of the team to allow our wing backs to be just that, wing backs, instead of the odd rare sortie across the half way line.

As for the number of goals conceded. he changed to a three CB formation that included Bednarek who had never played a single PL game. So we have three CB's who have never played together! so it was going to take time and yes there were going to be mistakes. In previous posts you talked lack of confidence in the squad, need a manager who can inspire . well we got one!1 MH hasn't just fired them up, told them all how much he loves them. He has inspired a team of broken players, broken in spirit and confidence, into a 'band of men' who are fighting for the ball, fighting to win.

And yes he has been rather more technically astute that people would give him credit for, including me. The perfect example of that was when we played bournemouth and how we counteracted their wing backs, which played very high up. The clever interchange passing that looped over and bypassed the backs was clever. The positioning of redmond and tadic was very fluid, with one or both or neither playing a highline; you could tell Swansea didn't know what to do!
when Bednarek was injured against Swansea . even Gabbi didn't think he would come on! replacing a CB with a striker was a very brave move, but the team adjusted immediately.

As for Gabbi . watch that goal over and over again, while all the players were chasing the ball, gabbi was chasing the space. Adjusting his position and stance repeatedly, waiting for that one chance. he took it! he really is a great player.

that's all folks .

MH for President.

8.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 10:39:55
I am not proposing he is simply let go, but I am proposing that his contract is not simply extended without first defining the ambitions of the club and then considering whether he is the best man to achieve them. I don’t think its enough to say the only ambition is mid-table safety next year. Right now, we’d all snatch at that given we’ve been fighting relegation the last few months but ‘guernseyboy’, the precise problem is with the club giving someone the job and then changing their mind and sacking them by Christmas if it doesn’t work out. If they are going to do that with MH, why not consider trying someone else?

The club may well give MH the job and I’ll support that if its married to the club having a strategy to improve the team in the long term. But I will be disappointed if his contract is renewed as it’s the easy option and one less thing to worry about going into next season. That is short-termist and the clubs I have cited have given colourful examples of what happens when clubs go into a season without a clear strategy, a manager who can build a team and have them play with a clear purpose and identity. The football team must be a project for someone looking to mould the team into something tangible. Those are the teams that succeed and play beyond the sum of their parts. Why would we settle for anything less?

If we’re honest as fans we would like gradual improvement season on season. Does that come from following a long-term strategy and recruiting players that fit the identity of the team or spending the summer signing players who on paper look like they may have better attributes then the player already in your squad? Do we want to follow the Spurs path or the West Ham one? VS, you are trying to distance MH from Stoke’s failings in the transfer market but he must have had some involvement. He hasn’t come out and said that he was just the coach and the club chose the players without his input. But as I say, I suspect the reasoning behind poor transfers are clubs trying to buy success/ improvements rather than achieving it through excellent coaching and a long-term strategy.

If MH manages to keep us in the league, we’ll all be very grateful and his achievement should not be undersold, but nor should it be oversold. We have by far the best squad of players in the bottom 8 – 10 teams in this league so the potential for survival was always there if the right man was here to get the players playing again. MH has done that and its to his credit. But its not quite the miracle some are portraying. In addition, this achievement sets a benchmark for next season in terms of expectations that may be skewed if not considered objectively. VS, you may consider MH blameless for the Everton draw but its always a gamble to use all your substitutes early and MH was forced into one at halftime as his original line-up wasn’t working. As a result, when Yoshi was sent off, we had no option to bring on a sub and alter our formation to be more defensive or plug the gap Yoshi had left. Yes there were mistakes by players and the ref in addition and you may also argue bad luck, but the manager is not blameless. You make no mention of the other 4 losses or the other draw against Leicester so I presume you do not excuse his role there.

VS, you also put forward a number of ‘what ifs’ should a new manager come in, but those same hypotheticals are applicable to MH. These 10 games in such unique circumstances do not really tell us what will happen next season if we sit comfortably in midtable. Will the players find the same motivation to play when relegation isn’t threatened? Will they achieve better each season under his stewardship or will we simply sit midtable and ultimately tire of the stale football without achieving anything other than comfortable finishes in the Premier League? Will the fans demand more? Will the players? Can we achieve that with MH? Will the players stay without a long term ambition?

VS, you’re very selective with the transfers you are considering. You have condemned Carrillo having seen him play very little football. Boufal is a fringe player but there is no questioning his ability and potential if he applies himself professionally. He is not a failure in so much as he has scored a number of key goals in his time with us, including a match winning goal against West Brom that sees us now sitting outside the bottom three rather than in it. Can the same be said of the failed signings at the clubs I listed? Not in my opinion. But even if you think Boufal and Carrillo are abject failures, that is two players in comparison to the list of players from the clubs I mentioned that could probably make up a whole roster by themselves.

I think its fair to add that you seem to assume MH staying or going will be entirely down to the club. But if another board share your strong view of his achievements here, who’s to say another team doesn’t come in for him and he decides to go there? He is not tied to us beyond the end of the season. Everton, Leicester and West Ham are all teams that could well be looking for a new manager in the summer.

You support your earnest view that MH should be kept on with reasoning that is very selective. Your judgment about him is as rash as your decision that Carrillo is terrible. Criticising our own transfers and putting us in the same hat as Stoke is not an argument for keeping MH on, rather an argument against keeping him. At least a manager with a better track record of finding and developing players would balance the selections of the black box and Les Reed.

But as I say, I do not disagree with MH staying on at the club if he has a long term vision, together with the club, that will see structured and informed team recruitment and sales, improved coaching at all levels to promote individual and team improvement and improvement each year in terms of achievement.

9.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 14:12:06
Yes South Hants Rich, by changing our formation he has given us licence to attack more. I was not overlooking the change of shape. However, if you disagree that he encouraged attacking football in some games and its simply the change of shape that made the difference, please explain the Leicester and Everton performances, or Swansea for that matter. Rampaging we were not.

I have no idea why you say the inclusion of Bednarek in the back three has been an issue. He has been a stand out performer when in fact Hoedt and Yoshi have both had their moments of culpability. It was certainly ballsy to change the defensive shape and stick with it despite conceding three goals a game. The gamble appears to have paid off but its by the seat of our pants.

MH has got the players playing better going forwards, but there is no discernible style to our play, performances are up and down and our defence is as weak, if not weaker than it was under MP2. But I do balance these views with my general position that where the plus points of this 10 game period are very much in the context of this relegation fight, so are the negatives. As I have said, who knows how the team will play under MH if they’re in a more settled position? I for one don’t.

That tactic has been used against Bournemouth by several teams as their wingbacks are a major attacking threat so MH was smart to pick up on it ahead of the Bournemouth game. As for Swansea, we didn’t play well and no action was taken to manage the direct/ long ball game they were playing. The second half was more balanced but it was not a comfortable performance. There have been several games as well where MH has made tactical errors, such as changing our shape to a flat back four in several games after taking the lead, not reacting quickly enough to the change in momentum in the Chelsea game…

In short, there are arguments both for and against MH staying on and differing views on how good he has been. We all agree he appears to have achieved the number one target and that deserves credit. This 10 game period has done nothing to address my concerns about his management and coaching as it is too concise a period of time in very specific circumstances. I therefore do not believe the club would be justified in giving him a new contract and saying he’s earned it if he does not sit down with them before hand and determine the long term strategy of the club. Failure to do this, with or without MH at the helm, is likely to see us drifting again as we have this season and I would be surprised if the consensus among Saints fans would be anything other than avoiding that at all costs.

10.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 19:42:56
Well put Figo. Another example of fans over-reacting to small changes of fortune. Les Reed, if you're reading, IGNORE US! Honestly, the hypocrisy of fans on here is mind numbing.

Short term thinking will, at best, lead to the fate of Swansea, West From or Stoke: a few middling PL seasons and ultimately relegation. Look at the teams who have built with a long term vision in mind, like Spurs, Liverpool, City, and frankly, us. These teams have all achieved great things in the last 5 years relative to where they were in the 5 years previously, us included (this season has come out of the blue and been horrendous, but let's be fair about how far we came as a club up until this year) .

So keep Hughes, or don't keep Hughes. I can see both sides. But if you keep him, it had better be as part of a renewed and amended strategy to move this club forward. That could mean he sells us on him being the man to do that, and shows he has a vision for how he's going to do it. It could even mean that we use him as a bridge for a year to maintain the momentum of the relegation fight, change the personnel a bit, and bed in a new generation with the players we consider culpable for this season's performance moved on. Or it could mean we simply thank him for his good, but hardly great job that he's done, and move onto someone else immediately who shows that they have a vision which could take us forward.

VS, you said who else is there? Well when we hired Hughes, there really wasn't much because of the timing. That was a particularly difficult situation, and Hughes made sense. That doesn't mean he's still the best man for the job. Fulham's manager Jokanovic, for example, was in the middle of a promotion fight and unavailable. If Fulham don't get promoted, he could be a great option at the end of the year. Even if not him, the board will not need to convince potential candidates to abandon their current clubs with 10 games to go in the season and move to a club on the brink of relegation. We effectively only had free agents to choose from. Now, we will be able to convince managers at other clubs to make a career change based on a long term commitment, rather than recklessly jump onto a sinking ship.

11.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 21:06:24
As a saints fan of more than 50 years all I ask is passion commitment and honesty in our teams performances. If I see that then I can forgive anything. Good luck to next seasons manager, hope it’s MH.

12.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 22:16:06
That sounds nice Saint Paul, and is the kind of thing fans love to say but hate to live by. Fans demand improvement and want to support an exciting club which gives them reason for optimism. For a long time, this Southampton regime provided us with that. How? By proactively taking steps designed to improve the club. Adkins, for example, could have provided the kind of relative success I think Hughes could - a decent run in the PL before the wheels come off. But we went bold, and tried to find someone better. That time, it worked and we found Pochettino. The next time we did it, it didn't and we got Pellegrino. I, for one, want to support a club that tries a third time.

To be clear, this isn't me saying we have to sack Hughes. I'm agreeing with Figo, whatever we do should be with a long term goal in mind. Personally, I don't think the man for that is Hughes, but I do accept that there are two sides to that argument.

If I had the decision, I'd look around at what's out there and consider Hughes plan B if I don't think we can get the right long-term solution. I would love Jokanovic though, personally.

13.) 12 May 2018
12 May 2018 22:40:14
I never said the inclusion of Bednarek was 'an issue' . I said he went to a back three that included an untried player. Bednarek was excellent and of the three CB's made the least mistakes. Hoedt is a strange one, his passing can be perfection . but sometimes is either over hit or in the wrong direction . Yosh is an excellent tackler 18/ 20 times . but sadly the other 2 can be awful .