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Southampton Now Genuine Top 10 Contenders
at 19:31:34

Yes it’s great to be talking the way you have compared to the pessimism around in late Nov.

McCartney seems to get the blame but he’s not the only change in the line up. Moreover we had a run of 11 pts from 5 games ( inc Chelsea away) prior to the Norwich defeat. We then had a run of defeats as well as draws we should have converted to wins ( Brighton, Leicester and Burnley).

Other changes to our current line up include S Armstrong and the dropping of A Armstrong and Tella for more Broja and a little more Elyonoussi And of course Walcott is no where to be seen these days. The upshot is that we have more staying power where we can play higher up the pitch in the last 20 mins or so , and that was a clear factor in throwing away two points with Brighton as much as keeper error.
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Southampton Loan Out Defender To Further His Progress
at 13:59:55

History does not bode well for Dynel. Of all the loaners out from our Academy since 2014 I’m pretty sure that only Stephens and Targett returned to play any amount of first team football for Saints.

It’s not just game time these young players need at 19. They also require skill coaching and their physique and mental strength developing. For the manager of Carlisle , facing a relegation battle and only 8 PTs off dismissal from the League and with no win in three , he is unlikely to prioritise Dynels needs over that of the team and his managerial career.

Bringing good but not players oozing with natural ability Eg Shaw, Bale , Walcott through that gap between Academy graduation and establishing yourself in the first XI squad is very difficult and Saints have yet to find a solution.

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Southampton Loanee Returns To The Club
at 11:59:00

Yet another loan of an academy player ends in apparent failure. Correct me if I’m wrong but of all the loanees placed by us in lower divisions we have to go all the way back to Jack Stephens in 16/17 for someone to return and then make a major contribution to the Saints first team - 140 games in all competitions .

We have yet to work out a process that enables ex - Academy prospects to establish themselves in the Premiership. It’s an enormous gap to fill in terms of giving sufficient match day experience , actual playing time , implanting the necessary professional discipline as well as skill development to enable to claim a regular place.

Just sending them to Lincoln, Coventry, Mansfield or wherever must be a real psychological blow to a young lad who has been cosseted by our Academy , sitting on the bench at St Mary’s perhaps even playing a Prem game or three in front of 30,000 or more . Their experience at Lincoln will be living in digs ,in a town a third the size of Southampton , 150 miles from your mates , with poorer training and support facilities during the week and a match day attendance of about 8000 . Or an away trip to on a coach ( not a plane) to play in front of an even lower crowd .

No wonder so many fail.
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Time For Saints Supporters To Put The Past Behind Us And Look To The Future
at 18:49:12

A good article and worthy sentiments , Nic. I was interested in your reasons as to why clubs are successful - size of stadia and fan base plus ‘ history’. I’m not sure what you mean by history . As for size you are probably correct but Newcastle and Sunderland contradict that . It’s probably size plus the wealth of the region the club is located.

I took heart that of all those clubs ( currently in prem or championship or first division) with gates of 28 to 35,00 then we top the list of club with the longest period in the top flight ( prem / first division) , and I suspect by some distance. That makes me feel proud.

In assessing a clubs wealth foundations you make no mention of Academies. Have they no place in the financial well-being of a club because if an Academy produced a £10 m player once every two years that is probably worth the same as an extra 5000 on the gate each match.
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Southampton V Tottenham Hotspur The Verdict
at 13:19:27

Shane Long. Not withstanding his fabulous 7 second goal at Watford or the magnificent winner at Anfield in the league cup his tenure with us disappoints and frustrates many supporters. His 27 league goals gives a poor return of 1 in 7 and none in the last two seasons. Yes Nick he can give us advantage by holding the ball up and he can harass the opposition but he can’t cross a ball, rarely scores with his head , some of his misses have been truly embarrassing ; he missed the only penalty I recall him taking ( Middlesborough away) and his runs and hard work often end in nothing. From a forward I expect more goals and judge his career accordingly.
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Southampton Forward Line Shaping Up To Be Better Than Last Season's
at 09:06:12

Nic I love the ways you take positives out of our dreary season to date . Trouble is there’s no rule which says only strikers can score goals. To date we average one goal a game. Last season we scored at 1:22 per game greatly assisted by 8 from JWP and other non strikers.
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Les Reed An Overview
at 18:52:36

What worries me Nic about your summary is that it misses out Les’s career after the second failure at Charlton. He was first team coach at Fulham where he had mixed fortunes but then bizarrely turns up as managing Bishops Stortford after being sacked by Fulham. That bit of hisc CV raises questions about his competence.

Is Les one of these folk who does ok when there are very competent others around him ? You say things slipped after the summer of 2014. Ok by then Paul Mitchell and pottchechio had gone and Cortese went before the end of 2014: all strong, capable people. Truth is he couldn’t shine without them and Les couldn’t really adapt to a replacement chairman ( new to football) , couldn’t identify the really good undervalued transfers - in , keepthe Academy scouting the very best rising stars or preparing the squad for the vigour of the Europa League .

Such a view is supported by our gentle slide downwards. So I think he’s right to be gone though I would credit him with some of our recent success but place the contributions of Leibher, Pottechio , Koeman, Cortese, Mitchell as being higher.
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Can Saints Repeat Last Years Grandstand Finish ?
at 12:07:04

This season I well remember the pride and exhilaration I felt at the San Siro after the game with 7,500 other fans singing their heads off; at Longs winner at Anfield and again the travelling Saints family celebrating for the next 20 mins before they let us out, and; our performance at Wembley.
Those three events mean I've had a great season irrespective if what happens in the remainder of it.
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Saints At West Bromwich Albion The Verdict
at 19:37:20

Nic, several times recently you've commented that the opposition missed a number of chances which should have been taken. You are right to say that . The question is : is this them having an off day or is the frequency of this phenomina is related to how we defend?
I'm not an expert on tactics but if we defend in numbers and defend with pace then might that cause forwards to hurry shots or be distracted by our presence, meaning that they are not as clinical as normal.
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