I don't want or have time to dig into why and quite frankly what I think doesn't really matter. However, I will say this:
NICK! I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS FANZINE FOR CLOSE TO 5-6 YEARS. FOR ONCE CAN YOU DO THE RIGHT THING FOR FOR SOUTHAMPTON FOOTBALL CLUB BY NOT SUPPORTING A ROTTEN ESTABLISHMENT. THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE.
Ralph, unfortunately, has to go. He's definitely a quality manager but, for some reason, he came at the wrong time and has clearly lost the dressing room.
For me, I'd be happy with relegation if it means Gao and Katherina leaving the club for good. I suspect if we truly want to stay up we'll need at least 60-70 million to spend in Jan on two quality centre backs and a decent box-to-box midfielder who has the same level of talent as Lemina but an infinitely better attitude.
Lastly, managerial prospects that spring to mind are:
Tony Pulis - Not necessarily first choice but you know what you'll get with him. No player will get away with murder with him as manager.
Marcelino - He would be a major, major coup but unfortunately wouldn't be attracted to us because of our poison-chalice owners.
Quique Setién - Another major coup. However, I think he's holding out for Barcelona. Hopefully, Koeman gets the job instead once Valverde leaves.
Van Bronckhorst - He might bring hunger and dynamism to the squad and has a point to prove in a more established league such as the EPL. He comes from the same philosophy as Koeman but with a better win percentage when comparing their times at Feyenoord. You never know!
Everyone keeps banging on about the lack of leaders in defence but were more than happy to see Fonte leave not too long. No we're seeing the ramifications...
This is what I had to say at the time of his departure:
"Southampton FC is at a crossroad. The reason why I'm so emotionally invested in Fonte's departure isn't just because he's an excellent footballer and a great servant to the club. It's more because of what he represents and I would like to think the qualities he's demonstrated over the years is a reflection of Southampton FC.
We may not be the most prestigious club in the world to play for but above all else we have demonstrated to everyone in the footballing world the idea of success. Success isn't necessarily about winning it's more about the manner in which one picks themself up from failure. Fonte epitomises that story and is the foundation of the dressing room.
While it makes economic sense to sell him (especially when you factor his age) it will have wider ramifications. It will send out a message to the fans and the football community that we are no longer a football club operating on the principles mentioned earlier but rather as a profit maximising business machine no longer connected to the game.
Even if he does want to leave what upsets me most is the manner of his departure. This could have been handled much better and in a more sensitive way for the fans at the very least.
If you think I'm being naive or too ideological let me ask you this:
- Would Man Utd let Giggs or Scholes leave in this manner? - Would Barcelona let Xavi leave in this manner? - Would Liverpool let Gerrard leave in this manner? - Would Chelsea let Lampard or Terry leave in this manner? - Would even Watford let Troy Deeney leave in this manner?
All of the above names make/made up the core of their respective club's dressing rooms. They're all characters and Fonte is one of our own!
It's about the bigger picture and I don't see that from the board at the moment."
Get this buffoon out of the club already. Once we get rid of him, Austin, Carillo, Cedric and most probably Boufal we'll have a clean slate from Les Reed era of transfer dealings. It's clear to see a lot of these players never truly wanted to play for Southampton. They were either here for the wages or most probably expecting a move to the Top 6 club a couple of years down the line.
For once I want us to purchase genuine talents (like Boufal and Lemina) that actually want to play for us. It's a real shame Lemina and Boufal didn't work out. Under Ralph they really could have elevated their games to a different level.
As a football fan, I watch football to be entertained and most importantly to have fun. When I watch players like Lemina, Boufal, Redmond and to a lesser degree Hojbjerg I'm excited to watch Southampton FC. I commend hard work--especially from players like JWP--but if that was all there is to footy I wouldn't be interested. I'd rather just go to gym...
The reality you're more like to remember Pele/Maradona/Brazil Ronaldo/Zidane than a Gerd Muller. Even though Gerd Muller's goal record was far superior to the aforementioned players. The simple reason is that they are special players with the ability to light up games in such a way that make you excited about football.
The player that has done that the most for me in a Saints FC shirt is Le Tiss. I just feel a massive void of excitement has been left since he retired. Players like Boufal and Lemina had the closest talent to what Le Tiss offered but for some reason, both are just prima donnas more interested in moving to bigger club and posting on Instagram--instead of just playing football!
Nonsense he hasn't got time on his side. At his current age, he should have made a lot more appearances. Please bear in mind JWP has already made 234 apps and he's only a year older. How he's managed that number of appearances is beyond belief considering his lack of talent!
Nonetheless, Gallagher could have got this move 2 years ago and at the very least built up his experience in the Championship in a similar vein to James Maddison who had made 113 apps before his move to Leicester. Maddison is currently being touted for potential moves to clubs like Man U.QQ
Instead, he got comfortable playing in the reserves staying in the Southampton youth bubble!
I genuinely had high hopes for Gallagher. I thought with a little more confidence, toughness and hunger to improve he could have replaced Pelle in the longer term.
Hopefully he learns from his experience at Saints and kicks on at Blackburn or Wigan.
We could get at the very least 80-90 million for the above players. That would more than enough funds for a decent centre-half, right-back, another striker and even a left-back. The rest can be filled by the academy.
Agree with mostly everyone apart from Boufal and Hesketh. When you see players like Eriksen, Zaha, Pogba, Maguire all being touted for 80 million and above it would be crazy to sell Boufal at this stage especially under a decent manager like Hasenhuttl. If he and Lemina in particular get on with Ralph and buy into his philosophy we'd definitely have enough quality in our midfield to challenge for the Europa League.
The truth of the matter is we don't have his attacking talent in our squad at the moment. The closest player to Boufal's quality is Redmond but I still think they're very different in style and can be played together.
Lastly, Hesketh needs a chance to prove himself in the summer. If he can't get into squad by January then we should look to sell--even if it's a loan deal with a view to buying. Also, agree with SanMarco on JWP. If we get a silly offer I think we should take it!
schatfield : I never wanted to get rid of Bednarak. I just thought he needed first team experience to be in the manager's long-term plans--especially if we get one (or possibly two quality centre-backs). I definitely rate him over Hoedt and Stephens but I'm wary of putting too much pressure on him too soon. Do I need to remind anyone of what happened to Gazzaniga...
I have always rated Nathan Redmond's ability. My main issue was his negativity while playing under Pellegrino i.e. passing the ball back constantly, not committing defenders that sort of stuff. The very fact that Guardiola had to take him aside last season spoke volumes about the type of philosophy being employed by Pellegrino.
Nonetheless, fair plays to our board for getting Ralph H. I honestly thought he was beyond our reach given our position and his success in the Bundesliga. Let's hope we don't mess this one up as we did with Poch and Koeman. Look at how Spurs are trying to retain Poch. Our board needs to play hardball with Ralph when the time comes.
I genuinely think we can put ourselves in contention for the top 7 title next season once he's had enough time to get us to safety.
This club should be competing with the likes of Everton, Leicester, West Ham and Wolves. Our squad is decent enough to get a top 10 finish under a decent manager but needs major polishing with our attack and defence.
Below was my view of the club's strategy last summer (the article is called "Saints To Launch Summer Squad Reshuffle").
I find it insane that we didn't go in for Hasenhuttl last summer. He was clearly available and we were definitely a more attractive outfit back then than we are now. I really hope the club back him in January and we do a mass overhaul in the summer with the squad as mentioned below.
I get the impression he already has players in mind that he wants. He should try to convince Ademola Lookman to join in January and get Cahill/Christensen on loan. That should be enough to get us out of relegation.
Nevertheless, I'll be positive and grateful that we've had our first back-to-back wins since April last year :)
"I think before we even consider wholesale squad changes we need to consider what the club wants? Is it year-on-year mid-table finishes or pushing for Europe? (or more cynically just survival).
If the former then we should definitely stick with Mark Hughes. He's done nothing short of a minor miracle keeping us up.
If the latter then we need to consider hiring a young manager with a solid track record. I think the following should be considered (in order of preference and being realistically considering us):
Slaviša Jokanović (Fulham Manager) Željko Buvač (assistant coach to Jurgen Klopp and old teammate) Rui Faria (former assistant coach to Mourinho since 2001) Brendan Rogers (I know very ironic!) David Wagner (currently manager of Huddersfield and also worked under Klopp) Marcelino (currently managed Valencia to 4th but worth a punt with more money in the EPL) Vincenzo Montella Marco Silva Ralph Hasenhüttl (Currently manages RB Leipzig. Highly unlikely but always worth a punt)
In terms of players we need to sell and buy but in as someone mentioned in a phased way. Here's my proposal:
Jan Bednarak (needs a solid season on-loan in the Championship or EPL) Maya Yoshida (is getting older. may need to reconsider being a backup or be sold) Ryan Bertrand (his head is no longer in it. I think he wants one last payday). Needs to be phased out with Matt Targett/Kieran Tierney as his replacement. Steven Davis (too old now). Should be replaced by Shaqiri or Wilshere James Ward Prowse (has been given enough opportunities. time to cut our losses) Dusan Tadic (is getting older. likely to leave this summer. Should be replaced by Boufal or Boufal's replacement) Forster Clasie Harrison Reed Carillo (should go out on loan) Sam Gallagher (not EPL quality) Charlie Austin (too injury-prone. may have to accept himself as an impact sub) Redmond (too inconsistent and not strong enough on the ball)
Christian Benteke to replace Pelle (was never replaced!). Might need to consider alternatives but he's the best I can think of at this moment.
Adama Traore/Quincy Promes (both will bring pace and directness to our attack). Traore is younger and may have a better sell-on value in the longer term.
Hakim Ziyech and Shaqiri (replace Davis and JWP)
One (possibly two) Solid centre back with leadership qualities i.e. Harry Maguire, James Tarkowski etc.
Backup goalkeeper for McCarthy
Backup right back for Cedric. Maybe it's time to see whether Yan Valery can step up to the first team. "
Brilliant result!!! So happy for the club and in particular the fans. This type of performance was long overdue.
You have to commend the positivity, hunger and belief Ralph H has bought to the squad already. It's frightening how much of an impact strong leadership can influence individuals. Long may it continue!!
One thing not to forget is we need to thank Ralph Kruger and the wider board for making swift decisive decisions. Congrats to the board too! :)
I cannot emphasise enough how much of an overhaul this squad needs. I thought we were bad but bl**dy hell. We couldn't beat Cardiff let alone score!
There something majorly wrong with our attack. Aside from Armstrong, Obafemi and possibly Ing they all need to be sold in January.
The same applies to our defence but I think it's a bit of a broken record mentioning our defensive frailties when we were spoilt rotten having the likes of Toby and VVD 3-4 years ago (both of whom are now considered the best defenders in the EPL and world).
We need to get at least one decent striker, pacy winger and quality centre-back in Jan. If that happens I'm pretty confident we'll stay up.
I agree with most of the comments. My main issue though is regardless of whether you have a decent defence or not you still have to score in order to win games.
That for me should be the first priority. If you look at our goals conceded position last season we had the 14th best defence and were nearly relegated. West Brom and Swansea actually conceded fewer goals finishing 13th and 14th for goals conceded but were still relegated.
With the exception of Stoke, all the teams that conceded more goals than us didn't get relegated. The question is: why did they finish ahead of us?
Simply put, all of those teams (with the exception of Burnley, Brighton and Huddersfield) scored more goals. It should be noted Brighton and Huddersfield were nearly relegated too both only having a couple more points. In fact, Leicester (who scored the most goals outside of the Top 6) scored 19 more goals than us. While Everton scored 7 more.
Of course, I'm not trying to undermine the importance of defence but fundamentally we need to score more goals to avoid relegation. Having a decent attack is fundamental to survival.
Defence becomes more significant when you want to cement a higher league position--assuming you're able to score goals in the first place. For example, this time last year we had scored 15 goals and conceded 18 lying 11th. Burnley, on the other hand, had scored 14 goals and conceded 12 and were 7th. Ironically Everton and Leicester had already conceded 28 and 20 goals but, on the flip side, both teams had scored 4 to 5 more goals. To put into context Burnley had the 6th best defence in the league last season.
When we look at Burnley this season they have scored the exact same amount of goals but have conceded over 30 goals and lie in the bottom 3. Currently, they have the 19th worse defence in the league. It’s difficult to explain Burnley’s dip defensively but clearly teams have worked them out their defence and are not too concerned about their goal threat. Nonetheless Burnley’s defence isn’t too different compared to the rest of the league outside the current top 6 as the number of goals ranges to 2-3 more.
This goes to show that if your defence is performing similar to everyone else outside the top 6 then you have to compensate with a better attack otherwise you'll get embroiled in a relegation fight.
Looking at Everton and Leicester for this season. We can see that Everton have scored 21 goals (2 more than last season) and conceded 17 goals (11 less than last season) currently lying 6th. Leicester, on the other hand, have the same goal tally as Everton but have conceded 1 more than Everton. Nonetheless they are 9th but only point behind. Other factors involved Man Utd's poor scoring record and Bournemouth having an exceptional start.
For us currently we have scored 13 goals (17th lowest in the league) and conceded 29 goals (also 17th in the league). We clearly have two options:
1) Sticking with our current attack and drastically improving our defence by delving into the Jan transfer market while improving training methods.
2) Investing in better attackers (i.e. a new winger to support Redmond, another decent striker to support Ing) and improve the coaching methods with our existing defence.
I’d go with option 2) because we’ve already spent considerable money on Hoedt, Vestergaard and Bednerak. All of them (including Stephens & Yoshida) need to be managed better by the coaching staff and have more confidence.
Attackwise we haven’t truly replaced Mane and Pelle. Austin can do a job off the bench but is too injury-prone. Redmond has improved but needs more support with another a pacy winger. Tadic still needs to be replaced (I’d recall Boufal).
Once those replacements have been addressed I suspect we’d improve our goals scored position and push for a mid-table finish providing that our defence benchmarks with the rest of the league’s defences (outside of relegation form).
Nonetheless, an overhaul of the squad is definitely needed next summer!
I agree with many on this thread. We need to get rid of Hughes asap and find the next best alternative Nagelsman like manager (he's going to RB Leipzig next season btw). I think this will be contingent on who the board appoint as the DoF both in terms of reputation for prospective managers and input as to whether Hughes stays or goes.
I also disagree with the quality of the players. Our defence and midfield need to employ the right tactics and habits under a decent manager who actually knows how to defend! We shouldn't forget the gulf in quality between this side and the side that was promoted to the EPL is much higher (with exception of the attack). We just need to build confidence and the foundations of that need to come from the manager!
Moreover, I think the main problem is with the quality of our attack. Even with Gabbi (and possibly Ing) I am not inspired one iota. I think we need to bring Boufal back from loan and buy a decent pacy winger. I would try Ademola Lookman and Bergwijn (from PSV).
Most importantly the board need to have a purpose/vision of where this club wants to be and stick to it. Otherwise, it's all just a waste of time!
The sooner we spend money on a decent striker (most likely going to cost £30 to £50 million) and a decent pacy winger along with bringing Boufal back from loan then we'll stay up. Also need to sack Hugh and replace him with Leonardo Jardim or Ralph Hasenhüttl. It's beyond insane we haven't done this already!
Very convenient for Nick to now change his tune when things are so obviously wrong with our recruitment policy. This is what many on this forum (including myself) have been saying for years! The board have spent money in the wrong areas and it should have prioritised the attack. They haven't replaced Pelle and Mane! It's been 3-years now. Ross Wilson and Les Reed have to go. People keep saying the margins in the EPL are small and yesterday only epitomised that saying.
I can assure any decent striker would have put the Danny Ings and Bertrand chances away. If those go in it completely changes the dynamic of the match.
Just pay the f*cking money on a decent striker. It has to be £40-50 million striker now. That's the going rate and for me is a justified investment to save us from relegation possibly get us a top 10 finish. Mitrovic would have been an excellent option but he's gone to Fulham.
Also agree with Aussiejosh86 we need to replace Hughes with Hasenhüttl. Hughes is way past his prime and should really retire. Hasenhüttl is free in the market and would be an excellent (even if he uses us as springboard for a couple of years).
Defence wise they never handled the Fonte and VVD situations properly. Our defenders would have been fine if they had transitioned Fonte out properly using his experience and leadership to guide the likes of Stephens and Bednarek.
Look at how Liverpool managed Gerrard leaving. Jordan Henderson has more than made up for his departure captaining the side. Bertrand is not a captain! That urgently needs to be sorted!
Lastly, that buffoon, what's his name again? Boufal! He's not doing too badly in Spain from the looks of it.
Two goals and an assist from five appearances (from the bench). Weird that a player less talented than Redmond, JWP, Davis, Shane Long, Charlie Austin, Elyonoussi and Armstrong is doing pretty well on loan compared to those mentioned who funnily enough were getting more game time than him.