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Only One Course Of Action Left !
Sunday, 4th Mar 2018 10:53

The draw against Stoke City was a case of Deja Vu, it is the same thing happening week in wekk out and unless something changes then it will continue ! The only trouble is that there is now only one thing to change !

I have tried to be the voice of reason this season, although I have made it very clear since November that I do not think that Mauricio Pellegrino is the man for the job, I have tried to look at what the alternatives are, tried to look at how the team might suddenly improve, pointed out that a failing manager doesn't neccessarily mean the club is rotten from top to bottom and in general tried looking at things in some sort of perspective.

But here we are in March and each game blurs into another, we are not a bad side, indeed we have only been beaten once in the last ten games and if not for a cheating Watford player we would be sitting in 13th place, but nothing is changing, we just cannot make the jump from drawing with sides to actually beating them in the Premier League at least.

The squad is good enough, the bulk of it is the side that finished 8th last year and 6th the year before that, we have boosted the team with some good transfers, in short we have changed what we can change and we have given the manager not only the tools to do the job, but unlike some clubs we have also allowed him time to show that he is the man for the job.

Indeed the team seem to be playing for the manager, they can't be accused of lacklustre performances since the turn of the new year, but they cannot seem to win games that they dominate.

But here we are and things are not getting any better, everything is predictable from the team selections, to the tactics to the substitutions, there is no leadership, there is no motivation, you have to ask what is the manager adding to the squad ?

A good manager will make the subtle changes needed and improve things, but there is nothing visible to the naked eye to suggest that Pellegrino is adding anything at all, in short I could go into the dressing room with a team sheet and we would not get any worse results than we are at the moment and that is the core of the problem.

I am very fond of quoting the saying "If you do the same things, you get the same results ! and this is very true in what Pellegrino is doing at Saints, he is just not changing anything, whatever he does ends up in the same result and that is usually a draw.

I don't thin Pellegrino is essentially a bad manager, but he just doesn't appear to have that extra oomph that makes a team go into overdrive once in a while, some would say that it is merely his tactics, if he played two up front then all would magically be solved, that is too simplistic, in the last two games we played two up front, yet never looked much like scoring apart from shots from distance, it is all about the build up play.

I think that Pellegrino can keep us up, he may even win the FA Cup, but the fact is we will do it the hard way and nothing will change next season.

As I say something has to change and that is the manager, if only for the short term burst that a new man in the dressing room would bring.

The board should be considering that change this weekend, they should be looking at making a change now, whilst there is still time to make a difference, but if they don't then surely next week's game at Newcastle will be the defining moment in Pellegrino's tenure at St Mary's, he either wins or he goes, it should be as simple as that.

Yes a draw at Newcastle would not be the worst result in the World in the normal course of events, but due to the lack of wins and points thrown away, normal rules don't apply.

So change is needed at St Mary's and there is now only one thing left that can be changed and that is the manager, it is time to do it !

The ball is now very firmly in Les Reed's court, he is sometimes unfairly criticised, he has done some good work at this football club, but sometimes Directors of Football have to make harsh decisions that define their role at the club and for Reed this is one of them !

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davidargyll added 11:06 - Mar 4
...but does Les Reed read this column...??!!

Number_58 added 11:17 - Mar 4
With our tough run-in and our appalling win ratio so far this season it will be a gamble to keep MP, but without any credible candidates out there that we know of, wouldn't it be an even bigger gamble to sack him now? What a complete and utter shambles this season has become.

skiptonsaint added 11:29 - Mar 4
For who though Nick ? WBA stoke etc couldn’t get a great exciting manager in so why should we ? We are no more attractive than most of the other 14 clubs who make up the prem now our academy and player purchasing is no better than the others.

I would swap for Silva now but the problem is we don’t know if he would take it , he may have already turned us down.

For me the best hope is the powers above realising that going down without showing anymore attaching intent will be disasterous for season ticket sales sales next year so they instruct MP to go a bit death or glory...but with Man City and Chelsea in the 3 home games left I can’t see us scoring many goals to send the fans away happy in the summer.

And of the aways there is no way I see us getting anything at Newcastle Leicester and Everton as historically we never do.

That was our easiest game and we blew it

dirk_doone added 11:36 - Mar 4
"The squad is good enough, the bulk of it is the side that finished 8th last year and 6th the year before that, we have boosted the team with some good transfers...The ball is now very firmly in Les Reed's court, he is sometimes unfairly criticised."

Reed is probably as deluded as you in thinking that that he has strengthened the squad and that he has been unfairly criticised. Our squad has been getting progressively weaker for the last 2 years as Reed has sold our best players and frittered away the money on inferior replacements. Nearly every team in the Premier League now has better strikers and central defenders than we have.

kingolaf added 11:38 - Mar 4
I wouldn't leave him charge for the Newcastle game.

Get the new manager in now. Failing to score at home against a really poor Stoke side was his last chance for me.


1970 added 11:53 - Mar 4
Pellegrino is going now-where as I've stated before he is saints role model manager and they would argue we are still in the fa cup bla bla bla, as mentioned other teams don't sell there crown jewels every season they all build from something we only start from scratch every season, we choose our managers from a pool of.. well unemployed ones now I'm not saying that is a bad thing look at Koeman and Poch but you cant always choose from that pool every now and again you need to entice a good one but who would come to a situation that Koeman described and photographed for twitter when he took over because that's what the club want, it makes me wonder how we attract the Mane's and lamina's I think a deal is in place well before they sign that says we will actively get them a move to a better side in the prem unfortunately its always the bin dippers, relegation would be a disaster for us but the other teams are not good either so we could be lucky , what are we as fans going to do to make our point at the end of the season? that's the point.coyr till the end.

petesmaterob added 12:02 - Mar 4
My view but not necessarily Pete is that the lack of goals is a symptom of the way we play and not the personnel. I tend to think that we would be more of a threat with two up front but can play with only one if that one is Charlie Austin and we can get wingers and someone through the middle to support.
I do not understand some of the substitutions and again taking Sims off was strange as he still looked full of running.
For me the main reason we are not scoring is that we are far to slow going forward and we have to play through the midfield rather than other players distributing straight to the forwards. Time and time yesterday Stoke were able to defend as a team because we allowed them so we played to their strengths. Had we attacked at speed their strength (their size) would have become their weakness as demonstrated a couple of times by Redmond (who I thought was our best player) and the Sims run in the first half.
What is the point of playing two wingers that played well if we are going to give them time to populate the penalty area and as has rightly been pointed out deal with all the crosses.

DPeps added 12:06 - Mar 4
I wasn't in the Puel-out camp but am now in the Pell-out camp, I'm afraid.
Of course there are bigger issues at the club than just the manager, not least of all the errors that the board have made in appointing 2 managers in succession who don't fit the players we have, but I think most other coaches could get a bit more from this team.
Under Pell we will get relegated, under another manager we might scrape through

sholingred added 12:08 - Mar 4
The manager is out of his depth when players come out and say they like reminds me of steve wigley they said the same about him.also I don't think the team is fit enough I noticed players all stop and were bunched together clearly struggling for fitness.

Kemp_Not_Martin added 12:21 - Mar 4
Simply put, it is too late. We are going down and need to start building for next season ASAP. It is too late to change manager and there is no one out there to appoint anyway. We will not get the points we need to stay up, end of story.

A_Saint_in_Stoke added 12:38 - Mar 4
Ron11 was sitting behind the Pellegrino dug out yesterday against Stoke ... his comment - It was like a comedy show. Noticed Redmond arguing with the clown over his instructions more than once - and KD looked totally bemused most of the time.

Sums it all up in my opinion .... the players have no respect for a manager with very little motivational skills ..... and offers very little else.

petedoors1 added 12:46 - Mar 4
He has got to go by next Saturday and he should have been gone by Christmas. Since then we have had a lot of games that were easily winnable and we didn't. If we cant beat Stoke the team with the worst away record what hope have we. Take a look at all the teams who have sacked there managers and the change brought instant results. No other manager could do any worse than Pellegrino so its worth a try. Keep him and we are DOWN.

saintmark1976 added 13:08 - Mar 4
Man and daughter buy football club. They borrow the money to finance the deal. On the borrowed money they have to pay interest until the loan is finished. They don't want the situation to continue into the future and want to be debt free. To achieve their aim they asset strip the club by taking this seasons T V deal money plus a relegation parachute payment together with transfer fees from players already sold and soon to be so.

Result? They majority own a football club and its stadium together with the land on which it stands.

The future for them? The football club plays in a lower division with players earning much reduced salaries but the club still provides a steady income stream for them. Fans of the club still turn up because let's face it, that's what we do. After a time they sell debt free club thus adding to their capital and return their attention to places far away.

Your comments Nick assume that the owners are unhappy with the current situation. My view is that they are not. All evidence to date appears to suggest the latter.


BuenosSaint added 13:10 - Mar 4
"I think that Pellegrino can keep us up, he may even win the FA Cup, but the fact is we will do it the hard way and nothing will change next season."

You cannot know and say that with 100% surety Nick. Come on. It would be worse than the Puel Sacking if he wins the FA cup and keeps us up. Many managers have had a crap first season and gone on to be legends. Ferguson and MCmenemy immediately spring to mind. Who can definitively say MP won't. Key Issue though could be season ticket renwals ala puel....


helpineedsomebody added 13:12 - Mar 4
as les reed at charlton said if they had stuck by me & given me time i could have fixed it
well now you are giving time to mp now & look at the result / same mistakes / same excuses.
as les reed said im incharge of all football matters here at sfc

saint68 added 13:37 - Mar 4
I expect no action in the boardroom and very little on the pitch for the remainder of the season.

kenis added 13:41 - Mar 4
I thought we should have kept Puel, and have stood by Pellegrino thinking we should keep him, but the club should be talking to Monk, Silva, whoever and if someone’s willing to come make the change. I think it’s be a shame for Carrillo who I think looks like he’ll come good and probably only came because of the manager but that aside we need to change. I thought Swansea were clever with Caraval who was rated last summer after two good seasons with Sheffield Wednesday but never thought he’d achieve what he has. If by some miracle we stay up with Pellegrino we should go all out for Wagner from Huddersfield (even with the Liverpool connections)

SaintPaulVW added 13:44 - Mar 4
Zero action and a strategy of draws until the end of the season. Sell off a few players in the summer. Can this really be what the board and silent owners are endorsing?

I'm not convinced it isn't.

ItchenNorth added 13:58 - Mar 4
I agree that the board should change manager now, before it's too late, but what can't happen is chanting for the sacking of the manager during any game. That would be massively counterproductive at this late stage of the season. It has to be left for the end of the game. If fans have the desire, stay behind after the next game. You have to question the muted reaction of the fans at the end of yesterday's game. Personally, I don't think Saints fans are that militant these days. Frustration is found these days on social media and websites such as this or the Echo, but tbh at the stadium it's been nothing of note. In the Branfoot days the protests were focused and very vocal. Even more recently with Rupert Lowe there were was a point where fans really turned on him and the club (Ipswich at home if memory serves). But that was 10-25 years ago. You get the feeling today's fans just like a moan, but won't do anything else about it. Therefore our only chance is if the board pull the trigger for us.

AirFlorida added 14:16 - Mar 4
Reality check: We all know the board won't sack him before the season's end so we're relying on lady luck to deliver us match winning moments..not his predictable tactics, sigh. The Palace debacle at home should have been the moment.

dillydog added 15:23 - Mar 4
It's time for a complete clear out, from the top down to the manager, but not till the end of the season.
With a change of direction, 4 European coaches have come and gone, or about to go.
Some have shown no loyalty or understanding of the history of the way Southampton expected to play.
what is needed are young British coaches who understand the game in England, that will bring a fresh approach to the club .
Something that we as supporters can fully get on board with.
Agree or disagree with there selections and tactics but understand what they are trying to achieve , but always backing there ambition to match our own on there terrace.
The Cowley brothers at Lincoln , or Johnson at Bristol City to name a couple

Shano added 16:13 - Mar 4
The conspiracy theorist in me agrees with Saintmark.. You only hope it not to be true.
Re the topic, I think the sack the manager opportunity has bolted, as it should have been at the start of the transfer window. If they were to, just let Kelvin see out the year and beg Le God to come in and provide some weekly relegation scrap motivation talks and ideas.

skiptonsaint added 16:56 - Mar 4
Shano Stmark , my only hope with that plan is can you really run saints in the lower leagues profitably and not tumble downwards ? Or build up losses each year ? Do championship / league 1 clubs break even as a whole ?

But then they may think it just needs one decent academy player every couple of years to tick over and someone would buy it with the hope of putting money in and getting us back in prem as the stadium and sleeping fan base are there and we are close to London to attract players

Very worrying. We are set up to be asset stripped and it’s not as if he has tried to engage with fans or reassure us so far I suppose

patred added 17:05 - Mar 4
the manager has to go, and go ASAP. The question is who should replace him.
Because of our present position we are not an attractive proposiition anymore.
We can only attract those managers on the lower rungs, or those about to retire and are looking wind down thier careers.
An experienced manager will look at our policy of selling our better players, and not being able to sign players unless they have a re sale value after thier contracts run out. That virtually precludes the experienced players we need. Goal scorers are rare and all the other clubs snap them up, we are never quick enough, nor pro active enough. We are more likely to get another Pellegrino than another Ronald Koeman apply.
No the manager is not the only position to change, it is the clown that finds them and then employs them. Then restricts him by buying unsuitable replacements for the players he sold off with no reference to the manager.

Colburn added 17:40 - Mar 4
The silence in recent weeks from those who run the club speaks volumes to me. There is no respect for the fans and they know the feelings of most by now. I appreciate Les Reed has helped us to get to where we are but does not seem to have the ability to keep any of our better players once we have signed them, as if we sign them under the promise they can leave to a bigger club after 2 years of their contracts if a top club comes in for them.. we MUST attempt to build a team and squad who are hungry to wear our shirt and build towards a common goal, because at the moment it feels like we have a squad of players with different personal aims and objectives. Until that changes I can’t see us progressing or even surviving under any negative tactic manager/coach. Pellegrino doesn’t appear to have positivity in his make-up, just hope and Puel was a bore, so we desperately need a motivator, someone with a can-do positive attitude, someone like Silva. A 3 win honeymoon period will do the trick, can’t see us winning 3 as things stand as Pellegrino has soaked the players in fear this season..

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