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A weekend to almost forget.
at 21:59 7 Oct 2019

Back in York following my weekend down south to take in the Chelsea game.

I don't think there is anything I can say about the game that has already not been said. It was a complete and utter shambles and for me, watching from the stands, it wasn't just the farce of the first half errors, but it was the apparent lack of fight when they came out in the 2nd half. I saw nothing, absolutely nothing to suggest they were going to make any real effort or attempt to get back into the game or give the home fans some hope, something to hang onto. Even more bewildering, was the length of time it took to bring the subs on.

I don't think one single player came out of that game with much credit, say may be Ings for some effort and Romeu for not giving up and although he played his part in the errors (though no less than the others) Yoshida who you could see was desperate to the last ditch to avoid that goal. In fact, I am not sure how he has been solely blamed for it, since Prowse started the problem and Gunn (who was truly awful) was out of position in no man's land. Prowse and Hojberg were woeful in midfield. There was no urgency, no pace, no movement.

Chelsea were everything we were not - structured, organized, working as a team, committed and enjoying themselves. We make excuses about our new players needing time - we never had time in the first place, we needed them up and running and staying fit from the off. Mason Mount has adjusted quick, Timmo Pukki adjusted quick, Longstaff brothers have adjusted quick, Daniel James has adjusted quick - so why can't ours? Chelsea were on the ball quick, when they lost it, they won it back and their passes were incisive.

I honestly don't know where we go from here. The failure to deal with the defensive issue since Fonte left has been gross negligence on the part of the club, but as bad as we are at the back we seem to have almost as many problems in the other areas. An ineffective and powder puff midfield and attack. In the summer, people were saying, we may concede a lot but we should score a lot - well we are not even doing the latter when the opportunity arises.

But, I think the issues on the field are just one aspect of what is wrong with the club. As I walked to the ground with my brothers and arrived at the stadium, it was noticeable how quiet it was - we could have been going to a church without a choir. There was no anticipation, excitement or atmosphere. Sat in the stands even before the game started and as the players came out, there was virtually no singing, no atmosphere from the home fans - polite ineffective applause. It is as if, the whole St Marys has become some sanitised shadow of what the club used to be. It is like the last few years in the PL has drained it of everything that being Saints once was. The spirit of Southampton appears to have been swept away with the last outgoing tide into the Solent. Cortese was far from perfect, but he did have a vision and a idea of how or what he thought we could do or be. This crowd in charge now, have and are draining the club in everything but name - or so it feels.

I have my ticket for Wolves, but beyond that, I am not sure. Money is not earned easily. I probably will keep going because I am a hypocrite and you just hope that at some point it will change. B/stoke Saint said on a thread that he was tired of this annual on and off field issues - he echoes the feeling of many, I am sure.

I am sorry that this is such a negative post. Yesterday, I was not just disappointed with the result, I was angry and frustrated with the whole experience. I cannot help but feel that Kat Liebherr has let her Father down and more so the club, not least by selling what she had in the manner she has to an owner who simply doesn't seem to care. Rather than build on her Father's legacy, even accepting she wanted out (which I understood), it was incumbent on her to do the right thing, but on the face of it, it appears her decisions have undone it.

A slight glimmer, may be, is that RH has 2 weeks to try and resurrect something. But does he have it in him and do the players want it? Time will tell.
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A couple of days back home
at 10:35 5 Oct 2019

Leaving for the drive from York down south this afternoon to take in the game tomorrow and then back up on Monday. Looking forward to the short break from work and hoping, rather than expecting, a home win for a change. It should be an entertaining game. Realistically, I can only see a Chelsea win but really hoping that that prediction is as wrong as I usually am with predictions.

Have a good weekend everyone.
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Opportunities missed with supposed top 6
at 10:52 1 Oct 2019

Just an observation -

This season we played Liverpool when they were slightly off their game. We had a chance for at least a point and came away with nothing.

In the second half against Man Utd, we were by far the better side (accepting that Man U were the better side in the first half). We had several chances to win it and ended up with only a point. I would also suggest Man U, contrary to my title are at the moment, a long way off being a top 6 side.

Against Spurs away, who are never easy, we had plenty of possession, they were down to 10 men and yet no cutting edge and came away with nothing.

All in all, one point from a possible 9 when you have to say, that arguably we played them all, when they were all beatable - though I reluctantly concede that this year Liverpool have that something that says, even on an off day, they are showing they can dig in and eke out a positive result.

If we are unable to beat any of these sides when they are not on top of their game, then it really suggests we are a long way from being a good PL team.

Obviously it is not a must win game by a long way, but to get some confidence back, we really do need a special performance against Chelsea and RH to get his team selection and tactics right and hopefully resolve his backroom issues - if he has them.
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Could be stuck on 7 points for a while.........
at 22:49 20 Sep 2019

We really needed that win tonight because you would have to say, it looks highly unlikely we will get any points against Spurs or Chelsea. Following that it is Wolves and whilst they have had a poor start you just know they will break it against us. After that I believe it is Leicester and Man City!

Many of our fans, me included many times, have lauded the Ralph Hassenhuttl effect, but tonight and against the first half at Sheff Utd he has got his team and tactics wrong. At Sheff he got away with it, tonight, he did not. We cannot even complain of decisions going against us, because so far VAR has worked in our favour.

What I am really not getting is this:-

- why the repeatedly poor first half of games?
- why, no matter who we put up front, are we so impotent?

We have all covered our issues in defence for several windows now and tonight it was shocking at times. It seems that even RH hasn't got a clue what combination to put there, but I feel, for as unreliable as they all are, he needs to settle on some sort of combination and not keep swapping it around - though he seems settled on Vestergaard and that bewilders me (I appreciate, I am in danger of contradicting myself here). But, for the life of me and I suspect everyone on here, why oh why have we allowed this defensive issue and lack of investment to continue window after window. Whatever small steps we have made are in danger of being erased by this negligence.

As poor as we are at the back, we are equally as poor up front. Harry Wilson not a PL player before this season has scored 3 goals in 5 games. Timo Pukki for Norwich, new to the PL has scored in virtually every game so far, Mason Mountford for Chelsea and James Daniel for Man U, new to the PL have shown that they know where the net is, yet, no matter, who we put up front, experienced or new, seem to become totally goal-shy.

Nick goes on about Captains and leaders and he is right - tonight, in a number of positions, we did not have one, whereas in Bournemouth there was noticeably several. Bournemouth were second best in the second half and we were the better side then. The first half cost us because we were a shambles, the second half cost us, because we can't seem to find the net.

Our home record, whichever way you look at, under several managers now, is truly awful.

As much as I enjoyed last weeks game and result at Sheff, I did feel the result papered over the on-going issues and I also feel Ralph needs to be careful not to become arrogant and blinded by hype.
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Membership cards
at 22:34 20 Aug 2019

A serious question, but has anyone heard or have any knowledge as to when we may expect our much treasured and paid for membership cards? As far as I can tell, there has not been any communication to explain when we may receive them or why the delay, but the club happily took my hard earned cash quickly enough!
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My take on yesterday!
at 20:35 18 Aug 2019

After the game yesterday, I left feeling frustrated, disappointed and if I learnt anything, is that when a top 6 side has an off day they are still probably more likely to win even if Saints have a good day.

Last week I was somewhat dismayed by our performance. This week, I thought we would put in a shift, but I still expected us to lose and so it was. In the first half we largely did the right thing and Liverpool looked generally out of sorts. But, of course, we failed to create enough chances and when we had them, we could not take them, whereas on the stroke of half time Liverpool punished us for failing to close down with possibly only their second chance in the half.

Cometh the second half and for the most part Liverpool looked largely in control and got the second goal that seemed inevitable and at that point sealed the win. The introduction of Armstrong, Ings and Djenepo brought some life back into our team but it took an error for us to score and then with the goal gaping, we did, what we seem to do all too often, failed to convert a chance that seemed easier to score than miss.

Overall it was a good performance by us, but it meant nothing in the end and I am afraid, I am not in that plucky parade that readily say and comfort themselves that at least we can say we played well. Do you think successful teams, take comfort in playing well or worry about winning dirty?

I thought our midfield was better yesterday. Romeu for me was having an excellent game. Our defence well, it was better I suppose, but still made errors that were costly. Yoshida was a welcome addition, though he had a couple of close calls - but then he has out for a while. Valery had a mare of a game and some of the early shine and promise has probably gone off. However, he is young and I recall McMenemy was a master at bringing on young players but dropping them briefly into the reserves when they lost their confidence and then return better. He will get better.

But if our defence is proving costly, so is our attack. No matter who we seem to put up front, we are profligate in front of goal and in the end yesterday we should have at least have come away with a point.

Armstrong did well when he came on as did Djenepo and the latter could really make a difference if the short spell of his introduction was a genuine indication of what he may offer our game. I am cautious to get too excited by the prospect as like many of us, we have seen too many false dawns.

Mariner from what I saw live, was awful, simply awful. How he could book Romeu for a supposed late tackle and then not do the same when one was made on Djenepo was bewildering. But, I have not seen the highlights and my reaction to the ref could be unjust! I am sure others on this forum can give a more balanced view.

It is difficult to see where our points will come from. If we cannot score and our defence has at least 2 or 3 costly mistakes per game then I am in danger of stating the bleedin' obvious here. We need to have a good game every game, but also, I would be quite happy if we are as boring as hell at Brighton but get a win out if it. Looking at yesterday, I cannot see us getting any points against any of the top 6 sides, because though we may match in performance, they are clinical and we are anything, but.

I did though, enjoy the game. The atmosphere was not bad. I was conscious of the Liverpool supporters in the boxes and there was no humility in their celebrating in front of the home fans. In the 70's and 80's I had a respect for their football and their managers, but I really struggle to find anything likeable about LFC and their fans, even though, I will concede that Klopp has made them an exciting team to watch - I really dislike LFC and everything connected to them in an almost irrational way.
[Post edited 18 Aug 20:39]
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My take on yesterday
at 13:13 11 Aug 2019

My take on yesterday.

I will try to put some perspective on the game, but I am liable to slip into the "bedwetting" category. I thought I would let a few hours pass and watch the highlights to see whether my initial depressed reaction after the game was an over-reaction.

When last season closed, I felt quite optimistic that this season would be different. I thought we would have a good close season and we would be up and running unlike previous seasons.

Burnley - one of my nearest grounds for me, but I have to admit, I have never enjoyed going there yet or seen a good match against them. Burnley's football is awful (but effective) and their fans some of the most unpleasant. My expectation for this game was, probably a dull game with a draw or 1-0 win either way. Add into the mix, when have Saints last had a good start to a season, irrespective of the quality of the team and manager? I was hoping this season may have been different.

The first half was largely a dull uninspiring affair, but not all that surprising. My feeling that it would be a draw or a 1-0 win either way seemed about right. We started quite brightly and for some better finishing we may have taken that lead (where have we heard that before?). We were probably fortunate not to have had a booking or two.

Second half seemed to start similar, though you could tell Burnley were targeting our back line. So it proved - 12 minutes of madness (again). As if Stephens had not already shown his all too familiar frailty, Vestergaard dared to even look worse! All I wanted was someone to take responsibility and just clear their bl**dy lines. At times we were a mess at the back - in fact, completely unprofessional. Even Bednarek seemed clumsy and unassured. You have to wonder what they had been doing all close season or the more likely conclusion - that none of them are good enough for this level - which we have all been saying ad finitum for how long now?

It would though be too easy to just criticise our defence. As the game went on, our midfield and frontline became increasingly ineffective and supine. Ings was awful - he offered nothing of note. I said before the season started when people suggested we should score a lot - what if you come up against a team that is tactically streetwise and knows how to stop you scoring?

It would be easy to panic, but it is the first game. The thing is, it was opposition that in itself was not great and that is the worrying thing.

I did not see anything yesterday that suggested anything has changed. Did we not concede 3 goals against West Ham and Newcastle at the end of last season? (I haven't checked - so I my memory may be playing me up). Some pundits are predicting us as relegation candidates and on yesterday's showing you would struggle to prove them wrong.

On the MOTD highlights, the mess of our defence was even more apparent. I thought Ralph demeanour came across reesigned and somewhat defeated. Unless things can improve, I would not be surprised if he makes the decision to walk like his assistant.

A poor start and a horrid game and performance. Have to hope we get that out of our system quick, though, I cannot see it happening next week!

I committed a cardinal sin yesterday which I feel I should admit to - I left the game 8 minutes early!

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