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Board Shake Up Needed
at 15:40:55

Reading through Nick's article and the various comments /criticisms that followed there are a few points that eveyone see3ms to have overlooked, but everyone who says they support Saints has a right to an opinion..and here were some,
1)..".The Board doesn't have any experience of running a football club" ..maybe - but like every Prem. club ..SFC.. is a £100 million per year business and needs accouintants to handle the finance and not a load of ex-footballing hacks that would lead to disaster . (e.g. Pompey's bankrupcy 10 years ago).
2).." Cortese should return" ?...whislt I wa sfirst to admit that Cortese DAJFU in re-organising the administration ..on his own admission he knew little about football and whilst allowing Pardew/Adkins a scant £5 million to rebuildd a team with Britsh players, but he went abroad with borrowed money and sanctioned the purchase of Ramirez and Osvaldo (that's chapter that Pochettino waon't be keen to put in his autobiography.) Those 2 deals alone cost the club almost £50 millon in fees and salaries . Please no-one tell me the Board should be allowed to buy players.
3) At the time you interview / employ; managers, scouts, DoF you can only select from those who are available at the time, and you do this based on their previous experience.
that doesn't always work with players , many of whom are successful in one club, but are too often given different roles after they move -and they fail. Someone tell me what is the best role for ; Redmond, Boufal or JWP when we play them, because neither Ralph or I have figured it out yet.
4) Managers are left with the task of selecting from those; fit, confident and in-form players he has available on the day. Ralph doesn't seem to know what formation suits us best (his fault for experimenting with 4-2-2-2, 3-5-2- or 4-3-3-.?..- maybe not so).
I think Ralph is under stress because he can't find the rioght formula , but it would be wrong to sack him at this juncture . The next 4 fixtures fixtures may decide our fate for the season. If we are still in the same position.."The Board" will have to find an "experienced, available and successful " manager in January to keep us up.
4) " The bad buys " we made in the past are history. Sad as it is - it's pointless to dwell on them, and (most of) this Board weren't responsible for making decisions to buy them .
5) Back to square 1. ...Get a group of players good enough to play (reasonbly well) in the Prem. and amanger who can coach them well enough to stay up every season.
I rest my case.
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Saints At Everton The Verdict
at 21:55:29

YES - the main problem is confidence - or rather the lack of it.
Players are not played their best positions - and the formations change every week.
Ralph's 4-2-2-2 doesn't seem to work and in the last few games we have seen 5-3-2
4-4-2 and 3-5-2 and with a succession of players given roles they can't play effectively and in consequence don't know what anyone else is suppposed to be doing.

The shortcomings in Valery's game are beginning to show and neither Vestergaard or Yoshida have settled into their CB role. JWP is out of touch and Redmond is just a shadow of the man we knew last season. I'm not alone in thinking Armstrong should have been given game time weeks ago, and now he's brought in when the worst has already happened. Whatever Ralph's future plans may be - needs to get it right PDQ.
If we don't pick up points from our "winnable " December fixtures , I fear the worst.

The discussion surrounding Forster and Elyounoussi is making headlines every week in Scotland - and even in the CL -and they look to be different players altogether.

Meantime... we still have the burden of Carrillo, Hoedt and Lemina on the books for some years to come. Any future financial burden will need to include the £15 million a year that their combined salaries are costingf the club..we can only hope that Che Adams will make good ASAP otherwise he will also join them on the list of "non-starters ".
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Saints Looking To Preston For Ross Wilson Replacement
at 16:21:49

well that's another rumour we can forget about, then.
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Rumoured Departure Hints At Coaching Shake Up At Saints
at 16:20:44

It seems the "rumour " you mentioned (Nick) was a promotion for Rahdi and not a sacking.

A one year stint with a US club who we are partnering with, and a view to cooperation and player loans in the future...sounds like an interesting development .
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Rumoured Departure Hints At Coaching Shake Up At Saints
at 14:11:09

If true ?- I think it's a bit tough on Rahdi, who has DAJFU since Martin Hunter left.

Last season he coached the U23's to promotion, and they made it to the semi's of the European trophy for their age group. The problems this season are (1) now they are coming up against harder opponents in the top division, at the same time that (2) half-a-dozen of last season's best have moved above the age limit, (3) and some of the others have either left the club and /or are out on loan this season.

A quick look at the personnel from last season shows that less than half of them are still in the current U23 squad, and at least 4 others are currently out injured resulting in the fact that... so far this season...16 lads who are still qualified for the U18's have been drafted in at various times, and TBF..thay just aren't up to it yet when coming up against Prem.clubs who use their U23 side to help already- established young talents get fit, or get match practice.

Either way. I think Rahdi is the victim of circumstance and it shouldn't reflect on his ability to coach good players. If he is to be " replaced" then I hope that the club is fair to him, as IMHO ..he still has much to offer the club.
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Saints Scapegoats Show They Have Fight
at 15:16:58

Nick..one of the points that comes out of your epistle (above) is that some players are being played out of position - in the hope they may become another *Joe Payne.. and find their natural role in the team. Too often Prem. teams (Saints are no exception) buy a good prospect and then play him out of position in a team formation that is different from that where he had succeeded. We know SPL isn't the same as the English Prem. but Moi Elyounossi is on a good run at Celtic whereas he couldn't hit a barn door when selected for Saints....in short ... Celtic play a formation that suits him much better.

Prowsey's goal was another example of his poaching style in the 6 yard box ( and he scored in a similar follow-up situation a while back. I'm sure Danny Ings would have appreciated that one).
As it is every time Ralph changes formation. JWP gets pushed further back and ends up as a wingback, when his best performances last season were as an attacking MF.

Same goes for PEH (and laterly Redmond) , who now has to work very hard in middle of the pitch, whereas he terrorised defences last season playing wide on the left, AND scoring some great goals. One can hope that players find their correct role in the squad, but meantime the experiments will go on.

* Joe Payne was half-back (MF) for Luton in the mid 1930's. Prior to one game when all the regular Luton strikers were injured, he was given the CF shirt....and scored 10 goals.

(we all live in hope)
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The Ugly Inside TV ! Manchester City Game Fans Reaction
at 15:28:03

A week is a long time in ..the football world. YES - it is.
Even though the players showed that over two away games at the Etihad they knew how to fight, that embarrassing 0-9 result may stay in the record books - forever. We can't talk about a " moral victory over 70 minutes", but it certainly had Pepe biting his nails .
Nevertheless, Ralph has understood (1) that you can't play the same side week in and week out -as it depends on the opposition. (2) given the right circumstances a packed defence can DAJFU - (even for 70 minutes) and given the fact that City had 26 shots and 17 corners, both of their goals were somewhat lucky - albeit well-taken chances.

Ward-Prowse's goal may hold off his critics for another week or so, but it shows that in a forward position he can be as sharp as Danny Ings on the day, and his goal was reminiscent of a similiar effort (sometime) last season?.
His dismal displays of late have seen him dropping deeper and deeper and losing out in the rough-and-tumble of defensive duties, he's much sharper playing further up the field.

McCarthy looks more confident and now it's up to Gunn to win back his place - if he can.
After last season's (justifiable) criticism, Jack Stephens looks atotally different player, and may have won his place for a while. ¨

YES - the Everton game is " massive" to use that over-used word around the club.
A good display ..3 points and some goals are a long time coming and will give a breathing space before the international break. The Everton game - and the three in 8 days in early December are all against the clubs around us . Wins (even scrappy ones) will see us move up the table to some safety...the alternative .. isn't anything to discuss at the present moment.
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Saints At Manchester City The Preview
at 06:31:23

so much can be said about his game but IMHO we must continue to have McCarthy in goal Angus Gunn's confidence must be shot to pieces after the Leicester game, even if he doesn't get blame for all of the goals..he'd still worry about the defence in front of him..(or lack of ).

Last season Jack Stephens was thrown into the fray on odd occasions and didn't always have a good game, but in the present situation -can he be worse than anyone else. Perhaps Yoshida should be rested - (if for no other reason than Nick won't be able to blame him for an eventual massacre)... as for the rest..I think Ralph will put all the names in a hat before the game and get the travelling mascot (poor lad) to draw out the remaining names, other than that - we pray for a miracle result.
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Absolutely ******* Disgraceful
at 21:58:23

The token gesture of Saints staff giving a day's wages to charity is the least that can be expected as they try to make amends for last Friday's " bad day at the office ".
I suspect that Reed (and subsequently Wilson) bear the burden of signing up so sub standard foreign players who might have looked good in their own leagues, but obviously couldn't cut it in" the toughest league in the World".
How many of the current squad will we see put out on loan to join; Hoedt, Carrillo, Lemina and Elyounoussi in the upcoming January window.? IMHO - we ought to be concentrating on British / Irish players who we can see week in and week out and be able to make favourable comparisons, as Euro football looks highly unlikley in the near future.
Saints need to concentrate on survival in this league, and not think about Euro League.

The need for "experienced heads" in the back line and midfield is so obvious to us all that we should scarcely need to keep repeating it, but not one has been considered, as we wait for the next Bale, Shaw or Lallana to emerge from the Academy. It won't happen - at least not in the short term, and we have no guarantees for next season.

"You win nothing with kids" is a much quoted phrase from the 1970's that still rings true today - but in our case ..."you can't stave off relegation with kids ". You need older heads.
For those who maintain "the Gary Cahill's of the World" are too old should ponder the thought that giving Jose Fonte another 3 year contract wouldn't have been such a daft move at the time - instead of selling him at a stupid price, and then paying out 4 times as much on a couple of misfits who aren't even good enough to be first-choice anymore.

There are probably a lot of people on this site who hammered Adam Lallana after his move to Liverpool, when he only did the same as mnay others who moved North, but in the light of recent developments, we could do worse than have him back in our midfield and buy him relatively cheaply now - as his Liverpool contract runs out in the summer. (If we don't - I could pretty well guarantee that Bournemouth would - with joy).

Few fans expect any positive results to come out of the two forthcoming games against Man. City, but I would at least like to see some fight (and even a few yellow cards) to show some sort of positive intent - instead of lamely surrendering after we concede the first goal..



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Saints V Leicester City The Verdict
at 13:12:48

david argyll ..from .....under weststand...
If you are referring to my list of the December fixtures. I haven't said that they were easy ...on the contrary..I think they will be a bit bl**dy compared to some others, but the significance of playing 4 other clubs (who are also treading water around the drop zone) can't go unnoticed because even if we get new signings in January they will be too late to affect fixtures that so obviously have a bearing on our league position and points tally.

If we fail to win at least 2 of them, we will remain in the drop zone and (they) will have moved up the table significantly.
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Saints V Leicester City The Verdict
at 09:48:00

I'd go along with a lot of American Saint's comments...
before Friday night's debacle many would have said we'd be glad of one point (given Leicester great start to the season).and YES it was raining on both teams, and for once VAR going against us - as last season Bertrand's clumsy tackle would have been strong words from the ref. and a yellow card. The game was effectively over in the first 20 minutes (at 3-0) as the days of those great comebacks are long gone ..the rest was down to damage control...and there was little of that, and despite the red card ..there were no yellows (!) which might have been anticipated from a real fighting side.
The whole team seemed to lose heart by the time Vardy popped up with 5-0 at HT ..
In the end we can be glad the defeat was still in single figures as Leicester clocked up 25 shots in the match. .more than any visiting team has recorded at SMS .

ALSO American Saints stats. are very revealing... of the 6 games we have already lost - 3 were to teams presently in the top 4... and we await Man.City next weekend. We also lost away at both Burnley and Tottenham ..and don't anyone say that was a surprise. (!), even 'though our wins at Sheffield and Brighton were very welcome.

All the things everyone else has repeated are correct...lack of quality / experience in all areas of the team and a lack of determination . I do think Ralph has been too soft on the demands he makes on the squad. YES - we know about the tougher training regime, and all that jolly camaraderie, etc, but everyone surely understands that all their futures are on the line now, and any repeat performance will surely end with loan outs/sellingon to pastures new after New Year, in order to make way for others who are more hungry.

In the past we've always pointed to the" tough" Nov. December fixtures where we traditionally played the top sides but now can be the deciding time for the rest of the season.. when we play 4 of the sides presently around us ....Everton in 2 weeks time and Watford, Norwich and Newcastle in the space of 9 days in early December.

Anyone can do the maths of that ...2 or 3 wins would give us a breathing space before New Year, but without those ..the other teams will pass us on the way up and it'll need a real miracle to retain our position in the Prem. next season.


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Saints V Leicester City The Verdict
at 16:01:40

With everyone venting their anger/sorrow/ disappointment/ disbelief ..there are some who are already demanding Ralph's sacking....so what's next step...can Ross Wilson find another ...(ooops sorry he's gone already hasn't he ?) I am sure that we must have a list of alternative managers ...as well as player's we... (sorry Ross)... had been watching.... ...and look at those who are available as possible replacement just now...

well....there's that Mourinho fellow but he only goes to teams who are already established in top six..then again there's that Welsh fellow ..Pulis. He was always good at guiding teams out of the drop zone ..oh but he has his hands full just now...and that other Welshman ...Hughes - is it? ..Apparantly he's still unemployed ..or ..maybe we should wait a week or two and see if Ralph can turn things around in the meantime.
After all ..it's not December yet .
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Saints V Leicester City The Verdict
at 10:24:09

DPeps is right about red card comment -we managed a point against Man U when down to 10 men, but Leicester didn't mind getting their heads wet and were totally ruthless.
If this is Ralph's "best / favourite / optimal" start side then it needs a major re-think PDQ.

I won't make individual criticisms -as it would take too long (and even Nick can't put the blame totally on Yoshida) but it was the worst game I've seen in 60+ years as a Saints fan.

The likes of; McCarthy, Boufal, Armstrong, Long - and even Stephens need a run-out AND picked to play in their best postions, Ralph's chop/change formations put too many players in postions where they are poor/ ineffective. JWP is not a defender, and Redmond created havoc last season playing wide on the left, but now scraps around in MF with very few chances to shoot-let alone score, and the whole weight of "our strike force" has landed on Danny Ings. We need a stronger midfield with some "bite and muscle".

Expecting Ché Adams to step up a division and continue scoring goals has been shown to be a fallacy, but as we are never going to be in the market to spend even £30 million for a player, we need to continue trailing through the lower divisions in the hope of finding suitable talent ...hopefully before relegation becomes a foregone conclusion.

It's Ironic that the likes of Targett, Reed, Jones, Sims and Hesketh ( Academy products every one of them)..... aren't around and have the opportunity to show up and be seen, but two away games in a week against Man. City might be the make / break time for some of the present squad.

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The Worst Defence In The Premier League !
at 09:44:00

as a postscript to most of what has been said above. Many people seem to be saying that we've never replaced VvD. (which is true ), but I would maintain that we've never successfully replaced Jose Fonte.
Alan Pardfew persuaded him to step down to L1 level in 2009 and in time he went on to make successful partnerships with ; Jaidi, Hooiveld, Lovren, Alderweireld, Yoshida and Wanyama even before VvD appeared on the scene, and to some extent Jose made them look a little bit better than they may have been without him.
When you consider he didn't really come into his own until he started winning caps for Portugal when past 30 (and still gets game time there at 35). I ask myself what possessed Saints to let him go and leave us totally dependent on VvD (who was crocked by Jamie Vardy two weeks afterwards).
Many defenders come into their own late on in their careers and maybe our biggest mistake was not in selling VVD - but letting Fonte go when we did.
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The Worst Defence In The Premier League !
at 09:18:02

to landerval......whilst most of us would agree with your early comments the example of Tyrone Mings "release" has another side to it.
At the time he left the club aged 16 - it was part of the cost-cutting measures from the (then) new chairman Nicola Cortese who more or less scrapped the youth set-up as we know it. (This was confirmed by Mings in an interview several months ago). Around the same time "The Receiver " oversaw the sales of Surman and Dyer as they were our most saleable assets at the time, despite both having been fine graduates from Youth sides.

It's also true that we haven't produced a class CB from the Academy since its inception. The closest we come may have been Jack Stephens, who although putting in some fair performances from time to time really isn't anywhere near a good Prem. standard.

Most "successful " from the youth sides have been full backs; Bale, Shaw and Targett and amongst MF players; Oxlade Chamberlain, Lallana and Ward-Prowse (you can all argue amongst yourselves on the definition of "successful" ). The number of good strikers who have come through the Academy in recent times can be counted on your thumbs, as players like Obafemi had a lightning start but lost his ranking after long injury absences.

Some of the other sales we've made have been after developing young-ish players from other clubs who have improved during their time at SMS; Clyne, Cork and Wanyama are typical examples. This always goes in phases and at present Rahdi Jaidi is struggling with a U23 side that has too many inexperienced teenagers in it after the departure of Gallagher and Targett - and whilst the likes of; Hesketh, Reed, Jones, O'Connor, Johnson, Sims and Barnes are cutting their teeth on loan-outs to clubs at quite a different level.

Ralph has been very vocal on using Academy lads (whenever possible), but the truth is that there aren't too many "diamonds in the rough" just now. Some of them look good at U18/U23 level but that's a world away from the required "Prem. standard" we need.




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The Worst Defence In The Premier League !
at 14:47:09

the real problem is that our opponents have been doing their homework, too. and we've been sussed out already. Thank goodness that VAR has become our 12th man.
Angus Gunn is not a bad keeper, but he is young and still has a lot to learn.
We've seen him pull of great saves, but I think he's conceded more than he has saved.
McCarthy is not a world-beater but I'd like to see him get a run of games instead.

Everyone gets enthusaiastic about wing backs, but by definition a full back is primarily a defender and many times ours are too slow to react and lose their opponent too easily..
Much the same arguement for the CB's. I can never understand Nick's criticism of Maya Yoshida when you consider most of the games he has played in preceding seasons were as emergency RB- a position he's not well suited to. He started with Saints at LB hence his no.3 shirt. He is the only experienced defender in the club. Jack Stephens blows hot and cold and Vestergaard's obvious disadvanatge is his inability to turn quickly-at 6'7" it's like trying to turn a super tanker and fast runners beat him every time. Bednarek is the most depebdable overall, but he too lacks pace although his last ditch tackles are often vital.

Hjobjerg just isn't the player he was last season ...Does he take the captaincy role too seriously? ..and Romeo has always given 100% - give or take a few yellow cards - but he will never be better than he is now. JWP is a disappointment this season when we recall his perfomances in the second half of last season. whe he netted 7 times after January.

All of these have defensive duties as part of theri role in the team but to see the likes of Danny Ings coming back into midfield to help out and trying to win the ball shows that something is wrong in Ralph's total plan of things. Either they are not doing what he wants, or they are but what he wants is not the right answer.

There is a lot of encouraging talk about the unity and determination in the squad but unless we turn the corner soon, we have to admit that there are more than a few who - just aren't good enough.
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Saints Need To Get Fans Back Onside With A Home Win
at 15:31:37

After almost a year with Ralph at the helm, everyone tries to sound positive but we don't seem to be nearly as positive on the pitch as we were at the end of last season.
We know all the usual quotes -" if we can play as well as we know we can ...etc, etc " otherwise I think ..Saints foreverj (above).. has just caught the feeling of many fans.

Of course we need more home points and it sounds strange to older fans to say that our away form is in our favour . Years ago ANY away point was almost signal for a street party.

So far this season our best player has been VAR. For decades we've come out on the wrong end of many poor decisions and rarely got the rub of the green in such hairline situations, and but for that... we'd have lost 1-3 on Saturday. I'm also fed up with people saying . "if It hadn't been for VAR...etc". Personally I'm glad to see correct decisions made (99% of the time) - even if it goes against us - at least we can see it's fair and correct.
I hope it works in our favour against Jamie Vardy on Friday - if for no other reason that (without VAR) the ref. missed his late tackle which broke VvD's foot back then, and he's one of the crudest player to disgrace the Prem...and that's saying something.

Does Ralph really think he's picking the best eleven to start ?. .it sounds like he's just waiting for Djenepo to get 100% fit and think that everything will be OK again.
Gunn must be very close to losing his place and few can think that in his current " lack of form" JWP can perform better than Armstrong (who) really deserves a run of games.

Friday's result ...perhaps even one point will start some street parties to celebrate ...but don't hold your breath.
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Saints At Wolverhampton Wanderers The Verdict
at 10:35:16

One point is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, especially considering our recent poor form. Danny Ings might have had two with more luck, but our best luck was having VAR on our side. In any previous season we might have lost that game 1- 3.
People complain about the waiting time for a decision, but sometimes there are longer delays for injuries to players and at least we get a correct decision and it might even things out when playing the top six sides who always seem to get refs. who look the other way in controversial situations.

Less possession (44%) but 14 shots against their 4 shows we need to sharpen up our shooting skills and attack more instead of playing keep-ball on the halfway line.
Bit clumsy PEH giving away penalty, but good showings from Valery, Yoshida and Romeo.

If we can perform like that against Leicester on Friday then even one point at home would cheer the faithful at St.Mary's.
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Gunn Or McCarthy ?
at 15:02:13

Where's the discussion?..
McCarthy should take the role..and now.

Angus Gunn is a good prospect but playing in the Championship and at U23 level are in a totally different class. He will come good in time, but he needs to move up a level until he's good enough to regain his place in our Prem side. McCarthy has experience and should be given a good run of games - especially as our other senior keeper is enjoying his life back north of the border.
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Saints At Wolverhampton Wanderers The Preview
at 14:51:32

Lots of different views here Nick.
Whatever has been said about JWP, he's certainly not shown up well so far this season.
If we bought Armstrong with a view to him becoming the next Steven Davis? .or whatever, he has to be given a chance and non better than now. Armstrong in JWP out (for a while).

Young keepers are always frail, now its Angus Gunn who needs a re-think. McCarthy in .

If Danso is a likley new CB -then give a a place to play as a CB. and stop ****ing around playing him all over the field.
The biggest defensive headache is trying to find full backs who are good in the wingback role, but suddenly they forget that they are defenders who are allowed to cross the halfway line once in a while. I'd prefer a good FB who primarily knows how to defend his patch and can do the job properly . Come Back Frannie Benali.
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