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Push me- pull you
at 14:15 22 May 2024

I've been struggling with an issue here.

All season I've been saying that RM is, in my opinion, a few percent short of what we need in a manager to get us promoted. He missed out on a top 2 place of course but we are now literally 90 (or 120) minutes from promotion.

I very obviously hope that we win on Sunday but I do worry that RM will feel that he has been vindicated when in my opinion, he will have been lucky.

Lucky because the division this season has had few teams of any quality so his preferred style of play has worked. When we met teams in the second half of the season who had had a chance to work us out, we saw some real problems. RM's fixes for those problems (Captain Jack in midfield, inverted full backs, AA on the wing) have failed to convince.

He needs a Plan B and perhaps several players if we do win on Sunday and then will have a real test in the PL. I am not looking forward to that.
Lalana to Saints?
at 09:41 17 May 2024

Did I read the BBC right in that he is interested in playing one last season for us?
I've tried, but I can't accept it
at 10:23 7 May 2024

The latest statement from RM is something I should ignore and move on from - but I can't.

He seems to be saying that he should have credit for keeping together a team when "two thirds" of the squad wanted to leave and that getting to the playoffs was all along the master plan.

I'm calling BS on that.

A first team squad is what, 20 players, 22? Saying that 12 to 14 wanted to leave is literally unbelievable.

We know that JWP and a couple of others (Tino, Tella etc) were sold because the club needed the money, Did they express a desire to leave?

We know that some were not wanted (Tall Paul, etc)

We know that some clearly wanted away but I doubt that was more than a handful.

A better measure might have been to ask the squad after the run of four defeats early in the season, who wanted away?

I just don't buy the statement and I see it as RM trying to buy compliments.

Then to suggest that a play off place was his "plan"?!

With arguably one of the best three squads in the league and his "system", to suggest that he had met his target is either delusional or he's seeking to weight his annual appraisal.

To suggest that a play off place is "success" screams a lack of ambition and perhaps (dare we whisper it) a lack of belief in his own system.

I really hope that we win the lottery/playoff and get to the PL> If so, I hope the owners have a good hard look at the managerial set up and alongside some investment in the team, consider improving it.
My invite to a season ticket in the Northam
at 16:42 1 May 2024

Has just arrived.

Standing - at my age - no thanks.

So my reward for having bought tickets in the Kingsland this season is an increase of 10-15% in prices; being next to the away fans; having to go a long way around the ground to reach turnstile F.

I fear that the disaster I saw against Stoke will be the last game I will see at SMS.

Do we complain too much?
at 12:00 29 Apr 2024

Those of us who follow Saints at more than a casual level have this season been led to believe that promotion was something that the owners wanted (despite the fire sale at the start of the season), was something that RM was brought in to achieve (but we don't like his style of play), was something that with our squad and loanees, should have simply achieved.

None of the above have proven to be anything other than vague hopes and misplaced expectations.

The position of the owners is a mystery even now. Are we a feeder club or one with ambition?

The position of RM is more complex. We, the fans, do not like the way he plays but we are going to finish 3/4 in the table and therefore it works against most teams in this league. It does however seem to have left the players bereft of confidence at a crucial time and perhaps (who knows) he has lost the dressing room. I remain of the view that he is a 98% manager and when you need somebody to be 101%, he's not the man.

Our squad has always been short of at least three players and now, at the sharp end of the season, it shows. There are failings there which, promoted or not, need to be fixed.

The threads here have pointed out all of the above, time and again. We have not held back in our criticism of owners, manager, players.

We have therefore become a self fulfilling prophesy, predicting problems and frustrations and then revelling in them when they come true.

How many posters here? A couple of hundred tops?

How many season ticket holders? More than 30k at each of the last few home games?

We posters here are in a minority and whilst that may be balanced by the degree to which we "care" about the team and club, we will always be a minority.

Many relegated clubs, especially those who lose a lot of players, are mid table for at least a season. Arguably we have therefore exceeded expectation?
A loss of confidence at the worst time - or a one off?
at 09:06 24 Apr 2024

The Leicester game was terrible (for us).

RM saying he saw a good match for 60 minutes? Really? Did he have a TV on the bench and was watching Arsenal?

One of the BBC pundits said after 20 minutes that it was like watching attack v defence and that the defence was in panic mode.

No organisation, no shape, no aggression or fight, no heart in the team to buckle in and make it a contest.

Is this is one off reaction to losing - not to Cardiff - but automatic promotion? Or was it just a one off as we are prone to (Sunderland away this season?)

My worst fear is that this is the players giving RM a message that they are fed up with his way of playing - and him - and as a lot of them will likely be away in the summer, they have nothing to win or lose at the moment.

Take that into the playoffs and we may as well concede now.

If the issue is that RM has lost the dressing room, I really hope somebody in management /ownership knows that and takes appropriate steps.
Desperate Tories - or tactical masterstroke?
at 11:55 23 Apr 2024

The UK welcomed around 37.000 immigrants last year who did not have permission to be here.

Rishi and cronies want to send around 2,000 to Rwanda - a year - as a "deterrent".

In order to do so he and his whips bullied and arguably overrode the safeguards built into our democratic system. His Gov't ignored Parliament and bulldozed this through.

At the risk of triggering the latent racists among us and in the hope of sparking a genuine debate, is this the right answer? Were the means to achieve that answer justified by the ends? What will be the next Gov't (Tory Party) v Parliament issue be?
The rest of this season - and next
at 10:11 22 Apr 2024

Short of an unlikely series of results, we're in play offs and stating the bleeding obvious, we will get promoted or stay in the Champ.

If we get promoted, we'll have enjoyed a day out at Wembley and be looking forward to some good teams coming to SMS. My feeling is that the club has no money for serious recruitment and that a stay in the PL will see us lose more games than we win and survival may be all we can hope for.

Perversely if we do get promoted the style RM likes to play will be better suited to that league but again, I think teams already there play it better than we do and we will need something a little different. I am no confident that RM can provide "different".

If we stay in the Champ (and arguably we are perhaps a year or two ahead of the plan anyway) then I fear that many of the teams mid table this season will be real contenders. At least three of them Coventry, Boro and Hull have teams that are rebuilds from previous seasons and if they are kept they will be contenders. Add in the three relegated teams and promotion next season is not a guarantee.

I cannot see the owners asking RM to move on and I can't see him departing for "better opportunities" elsewhere. We are the best opportunity he's ever had!

I would hope that the obvious shortcomings of this season are addressed. We lack players of sufficient quality in some areas and I think the game management needs to be improved. If we accept that that we will make a lot of chance, score few of them, then we need to stop letting goals in. That speaks to needing a new CB and a new system. Personally I'd like to go 3-4-3 but again, not the RM way.

I'd also like to see less BS from the manager. Absolutely understand that he has to say one thing to the media and a different thing on the training pitch but some of his statements are embarrassing. Saying we've outplayed the opposition but lost 2-1 is utterly pointless. He knows why we lost - not enough shots or shots on target - and that's what needs some honesty.

My view is that promoted or not, RM is here to stay and whilst I hope some new players will arrive, unless they do, we'll be here again next season.
Consistently inconsistent - the RM effect?
at 11:48 10 Apr 2024

I could not make the Coventry game, but threads here and watching highlights suggest that Aribo had a good game. The Boro match I did watch and I thought KWP had a good game. Scrolling back through these threads other players have been picked out for playing well in individual matches.

Is it the case that players have one/two good matches and then relative ordinary games.

Or is it that they have a good game and then get dropped?

Or they have a good game and the following week half their team mates change along with the system?
Football commentators wind me up
at 11:28 5 Apr 2024

Players do NOT "win" a foul or penalty - the opposition commit a foul.

Some commentators are reinforcing the falsehood that simulation (or as I would call it - cheating) is part of the game. Kids know this.

I watched an U15 match recently (my brother coaches them) and one of the opposition was constantly going over at the slightest touch. The ref spoke to him - nothing changed. The ref spoke to their manager at half time (stood next to us) - nothing changed. The ref eventually yellow carded him for diving - cue outrage and many swear words from their coach and supporters.

The lad who was diving had clearly been told/coached to do that and it must have been frustrating for his team mates as well my brother's team that he was like Bambi on ice.

I wonder where he learned that what he was doing was acceptable?

(My brother's team won 4-0).
Cool heads and calm hearts
at 09:58 2 Apr 2024

The result against Ipswich leaves us looking at the play offs short of a mathematical miracle. That of course is a disappointment and naturally some frustration about who is is blame is circulating.

It's tempting to blame the manager and his tactics. That is fair to a degree and also unfair in that he had to work with what he had and we know that the squad was perhaps two good players short of where it needed to be from the first day of the season.

Failing to correct or cover that shortfall was an error. Whose door was that at? Could the manager have tried harder to make the owners aware of this? Did the owners not have the funds? Did the strategists on the football side say that we had to manage? We'll probably never know.

Starting the season with a squad which was perhaps weaker than is could have been should have meant some compromises in style and tactics. However RM had a way of playing which took time to bed in and four games last early on were a burden we were never going to recover from without a record breaking run. And we did that with some luck, some favourable refereeing and some late, late goals. All this evened up to a point about thee/four weeks ago and left us in a good position.

The time to show what we could do was post the three week break and here we have - so far - failed. The Boro game was our season in a nutshell. Played well. Got a goal out of luck/pressure. Continued to keep the ball. Lost focus in the last 10 minutes and conceded. A draw from a game we should easily have won.

Ipswich game? They are a top 4 team at home and I would have taken a draw.

Now we are looking at playoffs and sacking the manager is not going to change that, arguably would harm us in the playoffs- and so now is not the time.

Now is the time to get to the playoffs (we could still fall out of them) and see what we get.

If we stay in the Champ, then next season we have less money and we need to assess what a realistic prospect of promotion might be if we continue to play the RM way. (My view has always been than he is a 98% manager and that 2% would always prove to be the difference).

If we get promoted, is RM the future? I think he is not but it would be hard to fire a manager who gets promoted even if it is by being 3rd/4th/5th/6th best.

We have to stay together as a team - owners, managers, strategists and players - AND fans.

end of May is when to hire and fire.
Is it all sunshine and roses for football players?
at 11:48 25 Mar 2024

There's a thread on here about how an average Champ player lives a live cushioned by a large salary which allows him to enjoy a big house and expensive car and no doubt other luxuries. And yes this is a charmed life but there are also some hard facts ignored in looking at his lifestyle.

I've worked with a few players and the following is all from their stories.

Had a client who joined us age 18 on the insistence of his parents. He was earning at that time around 4x the national wage and had just signed his first full time contract. He was playing for the junior teams but was expected to be a first term player within a season. Boxing Day he was training and tweaked his knee. Three months later he was told he would never play again. Within another three months he was paid out of his contract and on the job market. No educational qualifications, no work experience, no support network.

Next client was a first team player. He had addiction issues. We spoke with his club who were frankly not interested. He fell further and further into debt, his mental and physical health suffered, he dropped out the first team. Within two years was out of football. Took another three years of therapy for him to find his way again. Now works in sports agency trying to sign players.

He firmly believes that a lack of structure in his life outside training and a lack of program from the club which may have seen him develop in other areas of his life, caused his addiction problems which cost him his career, all his money and the fact that his now grown children don't talk to him.

Next client was a first team benchwarmer for many seasons. Eventually had enough and moved down a league or two. Found that his benchwarmer salary was sufficient for his lifestyle, but not the salary from a few divisions lower. Struggled to cope with the drop in lifestyle and had a number of financial, relationship and health issues. he was lucky in that his wife was supportive and he is now a coach at a pro club.

Next client was a first team player and had more money than he knew what to do with. The vultures found him and he entered a series of misadvised tax avoidance and "investment" opportunities all of which went wrong and we spent three years untangling them. Left him with perhaps a fifth of what he thought he should have after five seasons at the top level.

Finally had a client who played at a good level until his mid 30's. Drifted into the lower leagues and then semi pro. Finally finished in his early 40's. Has since had several major surgeries and operations and still cannot walk without sticks. (He's 52). There is no chance of him being pain free for the rest of his life and all of his interactions with his family and friends is driven by this fact. He's also exhausted his medical insurance and so operations to come are all at the convenience of the NHS.

So yes, players who make it past the youth ranks who have a career in the first team and these days take advantage of club programs to help them after football who invest wisely and look to the future, have a very nice life. It may be a brief few years in the sunshine. Would you think about this job given the above?
What happens if ... Leicester gets a points deduction?
at 10:06 25 Mar 2024

But it is not until the middle of next season.

What is Leicester are docked enough Championship points to move them out of the automatic promotion slots and the team that would otherwise have been there, loses in the playoffs?

I think this season may end - not in May - but in a Courtroom in November.
We've got to do this on our own
at 17:37 16 Feb 2024

I've seen a few threads around, such as Millwall helping Ipswich to and easy win and the loss of Downes for a few games perhaps and the impending suspension of a few players.

At the end of the day we cannot rely upon other teams failing to loss when we want them to or not having replacements for key players if they cannot play.

The management of the squad need to keep the first 11 focused on winning and let the teams around us worry about us.

If we are missing a key player (and to be honest it's not Downes I fear losing but one or more the CB's) then change the shape of the team to compensate.

This end of the season is where managers need to show their worth and quality and it continues ot worry me that RM has not been here before. I hope he is listening to some good advice.
A liar for a PM?
at 15:47 18 Jan 2024

Hot on heels of Rishi being told that his figures on reducing debt were at best out of context and at worst misleading and wrong (by the UK's statistics watchdog), comes another from the same source saying that his (and Cleverley's) claim to have cleared the backlog of asylum claims is incorrect.

Perhaps they are encouraged by the antics we see from the Big Orange man in the USA who continues to claim, last time in the hearing of a Judge, that he is right and the decisions of the Courts are wrong. He does so with little more than a slap on the wrist. Perhaps Sunak/Cleverly think this will be their punishment.

What sort of politician do we want?

One who is smart, honest, hardworking and cares about the truth?

Or one who lies with certainty and conviction because it suits his narrative?
What's the issue with Sulemana?
at 10:16 17 Jan 2024

Injured or just precious?
In January we need ...
at 12:20 3 Jan 2024

Action and not rumours.

A 20 goal a season striker. (I wonder if Rickie Lambert is still playing?)

A holding midfield player.

At least one centre back who is not going to return to his host club at the end of the season.

A decent back up keeper.
Getting it wrong (for now) in a good way
at 10:45 2 Jan 2024

Happy New Year to all.

I predicted between 7 and 9 points from the 4 games over Christmas. Obviously I was wrong.

I also said that RM needs to sort out the problem of having all of the ball and not enough threat on the opposition goal. He is saying all the right things post match but still failing to fix the problem.

Having now though admitted that our expensive striker is not going to be fit this season (or perhaps ever again at this level) perhaps that will focus his mind on a new player or a different formation. (I have more hope of the former and none for the latter).

I don't know how many points we are missing from having drawn a game rather than won it, but I suspect enough to make the present difference between us and Ipswich much closer.

Will that cost us at the end of the season, pitching us into the playoffs (a lottery) rather than automatic promotion? I don't know and as I'm clearly not good at prediction, I'll reserve judgement until there are perhaps 5 games to go.

I do though remain of the view that RM's inflexible approach and inability to solve the possession to goals ratio is going to leave us a few percent short of promotion.

(And yes, that is a churlish attitude given an 18 game unbeaten run but it's how I feel.)
Is there a fan led Saints podcast each week/game?
at 11:01 21 Dec 2023

Asking for a friend
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