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Who Is Who In The Blame List At St Mary's
Monday, 12th Mar 2018 12:29

A lot of fans have been ranting on Social Media about who is to blame for this season's debacle, but most are the names they know without looking at what the structure is.

Most Saints fans seem to be blaming two people apart from Mauricio Pellegrino for the problems at Saints this season and that is Ralph Krueger and Les Reed, now whilst it cannot be denied that both have played a part in this season's issues, to blame them for everything and claim the club is in complete meltdown because of on field results is a simplisitc view.

But that is football fans in general, most base how healthy our club is off the field purely on results on it, four years ago most thought that the club was in good health, it was nudging the top ten and had a Chairman/CEO n Nicola Cortese who hadn't said much but what he had was promising the Champions League as if it was as simple as operating a calculator where as long as you press the right buttons you get the right result.

But it turned out that Cortese was cashing cheques he couldn't cash, the club's budget was running wildly out of control and Katharina Liebherr as the actual owner could not get access to her own club.

Things had to change and with commercial income at one of the lowest in the Premier League and the training ground cost spiralling out of control, not to mention £35 million wasted on signings that barely played for the club in their time here, things had to change.

Ms Liebherr put into place a proper management structure and since then off the field the club's income from Commercial activities has risen five fold.

This is not to say that everthing is rosy, but it is perhaps not as bad as some would think, take a look at Everton no one would claim that they are badly run, indeed they have a majority shareholder who has pumped multi millions in, yet they have done little better than Saints. That is the point with Premier League football, there is a limit to what you can achieve on a season in season out basis and I am afraid that is purely down to money.

The Big Six can get theirs from a variety of sources on top of the Premier League and TV money and although we can also get ours from the same sources, they have more pulling power, look at Manchester United, their shirt sponsorship deal alone is worth £70 million, ours is £7 million and that is roughly 8-10th in the division, that should tell you all you need to know about the gap Saints need to broach, to be blunt there is only one way to do so and that is develop and sell players at a huge profit and keep on doing so.

There are many who say that we can't keep selling and doing just that, but we have no other choice, the big clubs get bigger and the rest get smaller in comparison, Ralph Krueger was ill advised with his small club comments, but in terms of the Big Six he was exactly right, we can't take them on on our own terms, we have to do it on ours.

So perhaps now is a good time to look at who is who in the Saints management structure and where their culpability lies, this is not to point the finger or indeed to suggest that the board have got everything right, purely to give an unbiased overview of who is hwo in the structure.

Gao- He is effectively the owner in that he owns 80% of the club, but that does not mean he has to be hands on in running it, no big company majority shareholder is, they delegate those to run the company for them, they wll instruct those below them to do that and in any company structure football or otherwise they will rarely make public announcements.

Indeed when do you see the majority shareholders in the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Spurs, Arsenal or Man Utd do interviews or go publc, the answer is rarely, only Roman Abramovich has a high profile and recent events in Salisbury may give a clue as to why it is advantageous for him to do that.

So Gao will delegate and he will have done so. The big worry is we don't know what his intentions are, but so far he has done nothing to suggest that they are bad, he is at the moment no better or worse than any other owner of a football club foreign or otherwise, as he lives in China which is a 20 hour flight away, he is obviously not going to be popping over to watch the team every weekend.

Yes his long term goal might be to develop the waterfront by St Mary's but that could be a very good thing for the club.

Ralph Krueger- As Chairman his job is part time, he is the owner's representative he has to oversee that the club is being run in line with the owners wishes, he will not get involved in the day to day running, the only person he is truly responsible for appointing is usually the CEO/ Managing director, although it would appear that Krueger due to his sports background will from time to time take a bigger role as when needed in that he sits on the Executive board.

Per se Krueger cannot demand that a manager be sacked he has to oversee those that are and ultimately give the nod if that is what the director of football wants to do.

Toby Steele _ Formerly the Finance Director, Steele took over last July as Managing Director after the departure of Gareth Rodgers last July. He is the man who runs the club on a day to day basis and makes sure that every department is running smoothly and well in all departents, his nae has not been mentioned at all, but in simple terms he is the link between the owner and his representative (Kruegger) and the club itself.

Les Reed - He is the man who gets the most stick, he is responsible for a lot more than just the first team at the club, all footballing departments answer to him, he has built up a great infrastructureat Staplewood and the rebuilding of the youth structure that had had to be virtually abandoned for a couple of years a decade ago as no younsters would sign for a club going bust.

But his biggest job is to oversee the appiontment and continued employment of the first team manager and it seems he is willing to gamble his job on the fact that Pellegrino will come good and that is a worry.

There has to be a point though when he will blink and sack Pellegrino if results continue, that moment may be now, perhaps we are in talks with the new man already, but I suspect the Cup quarter final will be where the line will be drawn either way.

When you consider that already this season over half the managers at Premier Leage clubs have been sacked and that few do even three seasons at a club, it should be noted that every club makes bad appointments and bad signings, but those that succeed don't panic and stick to their structure, but there has to be a point where you have to make the right call and for reed that time is now.

So there you have it, the main players, Southampton Football Club is a big operation these days, it generates a lot of income, but ultimately it will be judged by it's fans on the results on the field and few will take into account anything else.

That is perhaps right, after all that's why we support it, but over the years the club has rarely had a period so consistent as this one up till now at least and we should take that into account when considering whether the club is in complete chaos or merely suffering as all football clubs do from time to time.

My view is that we still have a great infrastructure in place and are better placed to move forward next season whatever division we are in more than most, those that keep pointing to the selling of players should look at what other choices we have to be able to raise money to sign more players and compete financially, look at Virgil Van Dijk we tried to keep him and where did it get us, that should be a lesson to those who say we sell the moment that someone makes a bid.

Saints have a game plan which ideally would see a player sign, stay three years and then be sold at a vast profit and the process repeated, the problem is we have been too succesful at this over the last four years, yes who were the reasons for that as yourself, this ame plan is not in our hands it is firmly in the players and their agents, once they have the chance to triple their wages and play in the Champions League etc which brings them even more money it is hard to keep them I'm afraid.

That is not Les Reed's fault, nor anyone at the club, it is the reality of the Premier League now.

So 90% of Saints fans on average judging by various polls want Pellegrino out, they think he is not the man for the job, I am one of them, but I don't think everything is corrupt at the club just because we are getting one decision wrong, anymore than I will think the manager is suddenly the right man should he escape relegation and win us the FA Cup.

Let's concentrate on what is truly wrong with this club and that is the manager !

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bstokesaint added 12:44 - Mar 12
I think what we see at Southampton these days is a club with no heart or soul. It pain me to say it. It’s all very well targeting the owners, the board and Les, etc, who are all guilty to an extent, but we’ve brought this on ourselves. There is zero team spirit. Maybe the Black Box needs a new upgrade to find “team” players or maybe that’s just an issue which can’t be fixed when you send out the message that you are a “stepping stone to something bigger and better.” Will any of those players want to stick around when we are relegated (I’ve been convinced since we lost to Palace this is a ‘when’ and not an ‘if’)? I could imagine JWP and Stephens and maybe the keeper (who now has a guaranteed first team start) may want to impress, but I reckon the rest of them would jump ship tomorrow if offered the chance. The manager can’t manage them and we totally deserve to be where we are. I just hope we clear out all the rot at the end of the season and then get Mr. Gao to explain his visions for the future. Because to date his appointment has done nothing positive whatsoever.

LordDZLucan added 12:45 - Mar 12
The manager could well be the problem but equally it could be that the players are just not very good. But we have to change the manager to find out which it is. And we have to do it straight away to give the new manager the maximum amount of time to prepare the team for the next Premier League game against West Ham.

Wembley76 added 12:58 - Mar 12
A balanced view of the realities of BEING in the Premier League...... or the "Money Magnet" as, perhaps, it should be named.
Like it or not the ethos of running a club and supporting a club, are two entirely different things.
Went to Wembley in '76. With luck, Saints could be at Wembley this year; but consider this, did that stadium stand still or has it has to 'move with the times' and cut its cloth accordingly.

bstokesaint added 13:03 - Mar 12
Wembley, the sad thing is we could (likely will) get relegated with no legacy whatsoever to show for it other than some Europa and League Final ticket stubs. No bigger ground and no silverware. Nothing to show for our return to the Premiership.

dirk_doone added 13:09 - Mar 12
"Not Les Reed's fault"

You put this in every article now, Nick. YES, it is his fault, He appointed the managers and coasches and bought and sold the players which led us to this. You always praise him for everything good that ever happened at the club but absolve him of all blame for everything that has gone wrong. Frankly, that is ridiculous.

SonicBoom added 13:11 - Mar 12
I understand what you are saying Nick but "being able to move forward whatever league we are in" is a bit odd.
The "great infrastructure" you refer to is currently delivering relegation. In fact you say we have this great infrastructure yet our fortunes have tumbled within one season which suggests these foundations are actually built on sand.
Infrastructure and planning should be the bedrock on which we can deliver consistency. A few ups and downs yes, but a relatively stable position. We are seeing a wild fluctuation now. Who thought we would be relegated back in august?
Finally you compare us to the top 6 and their revenue. We all know we are not competing with them.
We are competing with the other 13 teams who are on a much more comparable basis to us. There is no excuse for us to not be able to do that.

SaintBen added 13:12 - Mar 12
A very well written post!

Dare i say the issue is also the solution... We buy young promising players, that will ultimately (and hopefully!) play well and provide a nice profit in years to come... But as previous posters have suggested - Are they team players, or just out for their own agenda? I would like us to buy more players from the lower divisions, as gems are definitely there (Dele Alli springs to mind!) where the step up gives them a point to prove... Also, maybe a few more 'characters' - All of our recent buys seen to be sculpted from the same 'perfect professional clone machine' - I don;t see many born leaders in the squad...

BoondockSaint added 13:28 - Mar 12
The vast majority of the players are just planning where they are going next, as evidenced by their happy laughing and talking with VVD after his new team had trashed them.

Where did they get this attitude from? Les, Ralph and the owners. They have been just signing players to sell them. How many times have we seen a player signed and he's gone in a year? At any other team, if they just sold a player for 70 million, the remaining players would be thinking "I wonder who they have lined up to bring in with that kind of money? Some good who will help the team go places! Or, I better work harder so I don't lose my spot to the new player or players!"

But Saints only got 20 million up front and never have anyone lined up , player or manager. The "Southampton Way" left with Paul Mitchell.

And who can really blame the players? The couple of players that actually try to win (Sims and Gabbiadini) get benched! You could call them rats leaving a sinking ship, but why should the rats be stupid enough to stay and drown?

The only hope is Gao gets tired of his toy, or his mega-rich friends laughing at his team getting relegated and he sells to someone who cares.

SaintBrock added 13:32 - Mar 12
What happened to Venky's investment? Just read this and panic.

SaintBrock added 13:33 - Mar 12
...and they are run by the Rao family, yes you heard it Rao not Gao.

Scary eh!

SaintNick added 13:33 - Mar 12
Dirk, you take the sentence "Not Les Reed's fault" in isolation and use it to prove your own point, when taken in context that it is not Les Reed's fault that the wages and demands of Premier League players have spiralled out of control and that is why it is so hard for any club to keep players these days, I dont think anyone bar yourself would argue with that, but that doesnt suit your agenda.

This article points the finger at Reed for his failure to sack Pellegrino, but it does not blame him for other areas of the club, nor does it praise him for areas he did not contribute to, though it suggests that Staplewood was Reed's project to oversee and a good job was done, it does not suggest for instance that Reed had any input into the much increased commercial income at the club.

However a balanced view does not suit your agenda, you are at best ill informed and/or unable to understand the complexities of modernf ootball clubs or at worst closed to anything bar your own opinion.

Pull my opinions to bits if you want, that is what they are there for, but do so with well backed up opinions of your own, don't just cut and paste a few words to make it look like I am trying to paint Reed as blameless in everything

Colburn added 13:36 - Mar 12
Good article Nick. Well explained. I don’t think many fans are too upset with the overall structure, as you say we have come a long way since the last relegation, it is just the inability to show the balls to stand up and say ‘we got this appointment wrong’ (before it’s too late) and this is a huge failure which looks like costing us our top flight status and sadly undoes all the hard work from the previous 7 seasons.. I agree with bstokesaint, the heart and soul has been severely damaged this year and the people who make the decisions (or avoid making them) must take the blame for not correcting their honest mistake in appointing a man who has failed to maintain that spirit and soul. I also think the ‘black box’ is obsolete as the game moves on every year and you have to keep up with these developments and we have not. It seems the good players we sign soon see the lack of ambition when they arrive and that’s why they’re so desperate to move on again asap. There is still some hope if we change the gaffer!

SaintJez added 14:02 - Mar 12
is Pellegrino really still Saints manager? How bad do you have to be to get the sack?!!?

SanMarco added 14:30 - Mar 12
If we were sitting in 12th with 38 points and all moaning about a bad season and throwing blame around then this article would make perfect sense. I am afraid that that is very much an 'alternative universe'. We are now highly likely to go down. Given the bookies odds at the start of the season + everything the club was saying before it went silent suggests that our fate is a shock. It is very surprising - something has gone very badly wrong. Given that, it is not unreasonable for fans to ask: 'who is to blame?' It is perfectly reasonable and it would be astonishing if passionate and committed supporters were saying 'oh well, there you go - worse things happen at sea'. What neutrals say to me is 'why in the hell didn't you buy a good centre half and a couple of good attacking players?' I agree with them and explain that someone called Les Reed is responsible for that and that he also appoints the manager. They just say 'I'm surprised he is still at the club' and laugh...

BoondockSaint added 15:33 - Mar 12
OK, so Reed is not to blame for not growing new revenue streams (playing in Baltimore?? to raise the team's profile in the US?), and not reaching out to get new fans on the South coast (who will now be lost to Brighton and Bournemouth). That's not his department (don't know if Saints even have a proper marketing dept.)

However, the lack of preparation to replace players and managers is astounding. Every professional sports team has a list of needs and potential signings that would address those needs so if a player or manager leaves, they have someone they have been keeping an eye on for the last year or two that they can go after immediately. Not the Saints, it's dither, dither til the last day of the window (IF, they sign someone).

Some suggest that it isn't Reed but the owners who won't spend. Then he should leave before his reputation is ruined. Call out the owner in the press, and walk into a new job (likely the Scouse) where he can put his talents to work.

Butty101 added 16:46 - Mar 12
Nick pasrt of Les's role is the failure is in recruitment and you have negated to mention that in your article. Had we signed a centre back in both the last two winter transfer windows it might be a different story. But Les failed to get one in and cost us a cup final last year and now a our palce at the top table.

landsdownsaint added 18:03 - Mar 12
I think MP is just a bad appointment, I don’t think Les reed is to blame I think he’s tried to compete with the big 6 & realised it’s pretty impossible , for me he’s only guilty of a bad appointment in MP

saintmark1976 added 18:33 - Mar 12
Nick, most realistic Saints fans understand the problems of competing with the top six.What they don't understand is how a club with the ninth biggest income stream in the whole Premiership is one point above the relegation zone with eight games to play.

My own opinion is, and has been for many months, that there is a hidden agenda. Put simply I'm of the view that it would suit the owners objectives for relegation to occur.

oldeastterrace added 19:05 - Mar 12
The decision to keep Pelligrino in his job for so long has left us in this dire situation. A majority of the fans saw this coming before Christmas for Petes sake, but they were told by the happy clappers that they were 'Bedwetters' blah blah blah. Now even most of those happy clappers admit that they were wrong! Two years ago fans and pundits alike were praising this club to the hilt about our recruitment etc and i think Les has probably been guilty of lapping that praise up and he has become complacent. Les may have done some good work at this club but it is HE who has undone all of his good work by failing to to ensure that we strengthened the squad adequately in the last few transfer windows and allowing Pelligrino to stay in his job to long when he is quite clearly out of his depth. Those decisions mean we are now in the position where our Premier League status is hanging by a thread! I personally think we are down and i am BLOODY ANGRY ABOUT IT!!! i would love to be proved wrong but i don't think i will be. Now Nick believes he is going to be in charge for the Wigan game. So if we get through he will be here for the West Ham game etc. I say NO F-----G WAY!!! He should have been sacked long before now and after that debacle on Saturday how the hell can he still be there today??? I urge all of my fellow Saints fans to protest. and make your feelings known! You and me have been taken for mugs. Now we have a choice, we either come on here and keep moaning which will get nothing done or we let Reed and co know that we are not standing for it anymore!!! I personally think it is time for action.

WestSussexSaint added 19:25 - Mar 12
Can we still blame Guly?

kenis added 20:01 - Mar 12
I dont often agreed with Nick a there are some odd things in the article but my twin pence Sao worth:
- players force moves
- our recruitment and replacement of staff and players has been more successful more often than it hasn’t been
- our issue last year and start of this season has been form of strikers, but the question is why have they been out of form?
- my view is Puel and Pelligrino tactics are the cause, either directly or their application but the players (which the manager should fix)
- Pelligrino looks like a mistake, but until saturday players were playing for him. THE EARLT GOAL KILled us

I’d say sack him and get replacement in by weekend and build for westham game after international break. This is the window. Pell might have come good, but it’s not worked for him. Hopefully Carrillo would still be right purchase and comes good.

DPeps added 20:02 - Mar 12
The reason Les grates on some fans is because he was very keen to take the plaudits when things were going well, but seems to have gone into hiding more recently. However, as a general point I agree with Nick that there's no point blaming individuals - actually the balls up is bigger than that!

I'd say the main problems are as follows:
- our recruitment has been awful for the last 2 years (maybe longer). Have we had any successes in the transfer market in this period?
- we don't appoint managers who match the style of team we have
- we have no leaders on the pitch (sold em all)

bartley41 added 20:21 - Mar 12
Avery well written article, balanced and factual.A pity that you don't write for the "Echo"

The" Echo" is spoil t by fans who just keep slagging one another off, there is no serious debate!

Boris1977 added 20:31 - Mar 12
I've been looking at saint's related pages all day expecting either a vote of confidence or an announcement that saints and mp are parting ways. This lack of clarity makes fans feel superfluous and completely disenfranchised. The board need to tell fans what they are doing and importantly why. At the moment they are as trustworthy as politicians.

the_saint added 20:54 - Mar 12
Yep he’s gone

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