Ralph Krueger Speaks Wednesday, 16th May 2018 09:20
Saints Chairman Ralph Krueger has been speaking to both the Daily Echo and BBC Radio Solent about the club's season and also about the plans going forward.
After talking about his disappointment over the season just gone, Adam Leitch of the Daily Echo asked the Saints Chairman a direct question.
What went wrong?
"Somehow the mix of the players and the expectations, the goal setting, the management of the team, all of that had trouble finding harmony."
"Sometimes there is no clear black and white answer for that."
"I have been in sports professionally for 40 years and sometimes it just doesn’t fit and it’s not just one person to blame. This type of season is absolutely not blameable on one human being. That’s the easy way, to say it was that player, that coach, that manager or that board member. That’s the easy answer. "
"The hard one is for everybody to take responsibility in some shape or form and get better."
"What went wrong was we got the mix wrong somehow and we were able to get it right down the stretch and now let’s get it right right off the hop next year."
"You waste energy on blame, you invest really well energy on looking for improvement and for understanding that we made multiple mistakes, a bunch of little mistakes."
The Premier League, the difference between eight and 18th is percentage points and we got them right for four years in a row and we got them wrong this year.
"We accept that we made multiple little mistakes but what went wrong it would be totally false to mention one name, one event or one set of circumstances because it’s all of them combined."
"It started in the first game against Swansea, outplaying them as much as we have ever outplayed a team, a 0-0 draw."
"It was a season where we kept thinking we were making the turn and had that game bringing us back in and we went flat again and we drew ourselves to death."
"I used to think it was only important to hate losses, but I have also learned you need to hate draws because we are in tenth place as far as losses go but you can see where that got us. You’ve got to win football games and that’s certainly something we learned this year."
"All the draws left us at points in time in a state of limbo and it would have possibly have been better to lose some of those games to make more dramatic steps towards winning."
"We got into that momentum and the January and February drop was disappointing but the recovery and what we did in the stretch gives us the chance to reflect in an optimistic way to take what was good at the end into the new season."
"I cannot say one thing went wrong."
With regard to the answers to this question Krueger could be referring to either Les Reed or Mauricio Pellegrino and indeed both at some points, however although some would consider this a stock answer glossing over the problems, in essence he was right, this season was a series of little set backs and catastrophes that in themselves were not big but when added up put us right in trouble.
Whether it was the continual failure to mark players in the box at vital times which cost us soft goals, the inordinate number of times when we conceded in the final minutes, the poor refereeing decisions that seemed to go against us ranging from the disgraceful hand ball incident at Watford that bizarrely combined all three issues down to the simple failure of referees to enforce the rules of taking free kicks in the proper place, from this respect Krueger is right, the fact that we stayed up despite these set backs is testament to the fact that or squad was a lot better than the position implied, but that does not mean that there weren't several big issues on top of this that were the root cause of the problem.
In my opinion the to major causes were appointing the wrong manager and the failure in January 2017 to replace Jose Fonte which was the root cause that continued into this season.
Adam Leitch did not let it lie there and asked "But the flip side Ralph is that therefore nobody is accountable for what went wrong"
"No I am accountable.I told you that in January.If you want to blame one person, blame me."
"It’s not about blaming one person, but who is accountable, and people want to know how are they accountable? What happens? Whether it is the right or the wrong culture, when things go very badly somebody’s head rolls In most clubs, and it did with Mauricio this year, but he wasn’t ultimately responsible alone for our situation."
"Quite clearly, as I said in January if you want to take a name or face I have to be ultimately responsible because that’s my job and if I can’t handle that I’ve got to get out of here."
"I didn’t try to make a sarcastic statement. My job as chairman is for the owners to be their representative here and here you go Ralph."
"Then we have specialists in all areas of the club and what you have to see is that the fan has the right to put all his emotions into the moment, and that’s why people come and pay for tickets to watch on a Saturday. They are only present there and they have a right to boo and to cheer and to do all those things."
"Then it expands into a larger area and into a season.In my role we have to look at bigger picture things. We can’t say we finished top eight four years in a row and we are going to forget all that. That’s not fair."
"It’s not fair to say the club did well to go from League One without me here and then it did this and then this so now we have to roll heads. No. We have to see what the lessons are."
"The biggest mistakes a lot of clubs do is that they look for individuals, as you said heads roll, and you lose all the experience, so whatever you just went through becomes lost in space if that person leaves."
"I am a person who believes that in my past as a leader in sports every single medal I won, championship I was a part of, anything special that ever happened, came off the heels of something really difficult and challenging. We went through the most difficult challenge possible in sports and we survived."
You have every right to look for defined things to improve…
"As a coach I know you sometimes end up with teams you just can’t get connected and we could end up with a book rather than an interview but I say maybe we didn’t get the leadership right last summer."
"Maybe we didn’t deal with the transfer policy right because we wanted to consolidate the team and for the very first time we didn’t sell a player we didn’t want to sell and we left the Southampton Way a little bit. Possibly that was a reason."
"Maybe it was fate that two goals go off a post and so on and so forth…."
"We are not giving up on our ambitions because of the situation. We want to reach for the top half of the table, to find a pathway back to Europe and reach for that and we are not embarrassed about this season that we now hide from our lofty ambitions."
"We have to improve everybody, everywhere, every step we take and in the end we saw we had a good football team which we felt all year but couldn’t connect them."
"Mark Hughes was able to connect that group at the right time and we need to strengthen that group and go forward."
Leitch then asked "You stay. Les Reed stays. Ross Wilson stays. Martin Semmens stays. The people at the top stay to learn from the future?"
"Ownership has been extremely supportive of us all season to learn from good and bad times. For Mr Gao it’s been good to have the experience of Katharina there. It’s a good example of how valuable it is in an ownership change for the experienced owner to stay part of the process so we are thankful for that."
"The dialogue was always very strong, the support was always there and Mr Gao watched every game he wasn’t here live in China, even if it was the middle of the night."
"I was permanently messaging with him so I can answer that question in that the management team we have here is staying in place, or the board or whatever you call it."
"Accountability is one of our five values…"
Leitch - But if every time you keep saying when things go wrong ‘we learn from it’ is that accountability? I’m not sure that is in most senses of the word. We aren’t talking every little decision, we are talking sacking two managers in less than two years and surviving relegation by the skin of your teeth. That’s a pretty dramatic and sustained period of under performance
Krueger - "I don’t think last year finishing eighth and the cup final was a disastrous season for Southampton Football Club…"
Leitch - But you sacked the manager
"That we ended up sacking the manager was a decision on principle, a long term decision and it’s not fair this year to blame everything that happened on Mauricio Pellegrino."
"It was part of a storm that evolved in the timing of it all, the locker room difficulties made it difficult for him with his style to get the potential out of the team."
"Accountability is number one that you are willing to take responsibility for the good or the bad. It’s also holding others accountable."
"That means each and every discussion we have in the boardroom put all the truths on the table and don’t stick our heads in the sand."
"That’s why we were able to save the season in the end because we did look at what was happening and didn’t try and hide it or colour code but we rolled up our sleeves, we got together, we stuck together and that is also accountability that you then take responsibility."
"Ultimately we as a board are responsible for whatever happens to the club and we need to make some changes which we are now in a position and a period of reflection, analysis and we will certainly make adjustments out of this."
"The Premier League is ever changing, ever getting stronger and it’s more difficult to be a competitive team and get into the top half so we automatically have to improve and if we don’t we aren’t going to be able to sustain our position."
"I think it’s unfair to say we have made a lot of mistakes."
"I think we have made some transfers also of players that we still see have potential growth and no club in the world will ever hit 100 per cent on purchases and selling but if you do the net on buys and sells possibly one of the biggest things we got away from was the pathway to the top clubs last summer."
"When Sadio Mane came and he told us he wanted to be the best football player in the world he truly believed that. He came and played his two years and he went and now he’s playing in the Champions League final."
"We allowed that pathway and we were an important part of that and we should be proud of that but we got away from that."
"Maybe our ambition made us reach for a pathway that wasn’t ours."
"The consolidation of a team and the not selling of any players possibly exactly was one of the biggest mistakes we made as a board last summer. That might be where we got it wrong but nobody will ever know."
"We don’t have any of those transfer situations in the air. They could evolve naturally but we don’t have that urgency."
"That’s just one example of analysis we are doing right now and you will see it in our behaviours throughout the summer…"
"I think our club decision to consolidate last year and hang on to core players was for Southampton Football Club wasn’t the right time to do that. That definitely hurt us."
Fair play to Ralph Krueger for coming out and saying it how he sees it rather than telling the fans what they want to hear !
But the danger is that these words will be twisted, from a business point of view for a football club Krueger is absolutely correct in what he is saying, in football you should win and lose as a team and that means off the pitch as well, of course you have to look at individual members of that team and their performance, but it is still a collective ownership of a problem, be it conceding a last minute winner or transfer issues.
Krueger is also shackled by what he can say publicly and again this is right, in any workplace issues between staff should not be aired publicly, they should be dealt with in private, that is right.
But for some supporters this will not be what they want to hear, they want a public hanging rather than a reasoned approach, they want to see someone pay a price for our woes this season.
Perhaps that may yet be the case, but before that can happen the issues need to be analysed and blame apportioned and in football it is rarely simple to do that as it is a big chain.
When Yoshida for instance failed to mark Giroud against Arsenal back in December he was to balme for that error which cost us a goal and two points lost, but Mauricio Pellegrino has to take some of the blame for picking him, Les Reed has to take some of the blame for failing to provide Pellegrino with better options in the centre of defence, Ross Wilson has to take some of the blame for not identifying those option, Ralph Krueger has to take some of the blame for not bringing Reed to task for failing to deal with a position in the transfer market that had clearly been coming since August 2016 when Jose Fonte returned from the Euro's demanding to go.
So one goal and five men in the chain who have to have some culpability.
The right thing to do now is to not panic, this is a lesson that many have failed to learn over the past four years, in a crisis you need steady hands at the helm, perhaps Krueger is too "American" for some in his interviews, despite being Canadian. But he is a steady reasoned man with a grasp of not only what make sports teams tick, but also the business side of running things.
I have aid this many times, in any problem if you apply a scatter gun approach then you merely cause more problem's, you have to identify what the problem is, how it can be fixed and then take the right action.
Ultimately Les Reed is the biggest culprit to most and there is truth in that, but Reed's job is not as simple as just appointing managers and signing players, whatever his faults he was responsible for the building up of the infrastructure of the club, the scouting network and the training ground from virtually a field in Marchwood to one of the best facilities in the Premier League, if you think that a Swiss Financial Advisor had the knowledge and contacts to do all that then Reed might as well build his own gallows now.
Over the last four years every summer I have constantly urged for calm, it has always proved the best way forward, I have also always said that it is never about what you have just done, but always about what you do next and this is as true today as it has been in the last four summers.
Clearly mistakes have been made in the lead up and during this season. Puel and Pellegino were sacked as a result of theirs and arguably some players will have dimished earnings opportunities as a result of theirs. I suspect if we had been relegated the Gao & Kat would have expected Ralph and or Less to walk as punishment for the financial impact that would have had on the club. But we didn't get relegated so they stay. for now.
I accept much of what Ralph has said and looking at the bigger picture they have had one bad season in 5 so they would have banked up some loyalty credit during the good times. They have spent that now on last seasons effort so I hope Ralph, Les et al do learn the lessons as there should not be any second chances if they fail again next season.
P.s. I don't think "understanding the need to win football matches" is really the most difficult lesson to learn. Still Ralph has 40 years sports experience so he must know what he is talking about......
Having ploughed through all of that I am quite a few minutes older but not much wiser. Not selling Van Dick as soon as the toys flew out of the pram was the only reason I could glean for our failures. People are blaming Reed because they see him as responsible for the readily identifiable failures. Kreuger believes that Reed will have learned lessons. Most of us learnt that you need 2 good centre backs and a way to score goals years ago. Perhaps Les has now joined us....
SanMarco, football is a very simple game, personally I believe that our squad under performed because it failed to sign another central defender and it appointed the wrong manager, although perhaps if the club had signed a replacement for Van Dijk in August alongside that of Hoedt then Pellegrino might have succeeded, that we will never know.
id give my eye teeth to be there when saints have their annual get together later this year. It clearly should not run smoothly. I always worry when people start to rely on longevity as the source of their wisdom: Kruegers quote of being in sport for forty years is a classic example. Its nonsense of course, both in term of years, and in terms of relevant experience. Im disappointed Leitch didnt attack Krueger on the grounds that the ownership was merely concerned to take out of the club by selling our best players, which so nearly cost us our premiership status, instead of spending on the team. We should all know b y now Krueger was put in place to manage PR in the wake of KL's extraction of her "investment", it was always a dangerous policy and it nearly cost us disastrously.
Same old BS. Same old interested in 10 wingers. Same old keep the manager on tenterhooks until we've bought players. Same old not renewing McCarthy's contract but keep Forster. Same old not quite fulfill all the positions needed. Crap!
Your editorial is a fair and well-balanced summary. I regret that many of us see football through rose-tinted spectacles but it simply isn't what it used to be. Every decision made by every person involved in the business is minutely dissected and quite often presented in derogatory terms. Referees, who make more calls in one game than a high court judge does in an entire career, are even subjected to criticism by ex-colleagues, gamekeepers turned poachers. Who would have thought that? Yes, refereeing standards are at best debatable but the support referees need isn't given with players trained to cheat, contest every whistle and so on. The murky world of agents, ex-players tapping up targets, newspaper columnists and their favourites, TV only interested in certain clubs. It's a damn difficult job to run a football club successfully and we do not know why our board made a set of disastrous decisions after several years of getting it right. We can guess and we do but we don't all agree - see points made above by other subscribers. One thing I do believe is that 2018/19 will be much better for Saints than last term. Krueger has rightly put his head above the parapet, probably not even instructed to do, so and Gao and KL will not employ people they consider to be fools. We have to draw a line under this season and move, if not march on.
"It's a damn difficult job to run a football club successfully" - yes halftimeorange - and the rewards are phenomenally high, ridiculously high. Personally I would add an attacking m/f to Nick's central defenders and manager but the point is that that was fairly obvious to virtually all of us and not a 'damn difficult job' at all. Of course, getting the right players for those positions is 'damn difficult' but Les hardly tried in my view...
I think he spoke well. Let's see what happens over the summer then as he seems to know that this year wasn't good enough. He gloss's over a lot. I can't imagine the owner was enamoured with our performance for a start. Made me laugh when he says that it's not one persons fault and they should all take responsibility. Bit they sacked the manager and no one else......
I don't understand all the vitriol at the board. Of course this season was a complete disaster and could have been many times worse, however the previous 8(?) years under the board we have been one of the most successful teams in world football. Bottom of league one with a 10 point deduction to 6th in the premier league and a major cup final where we were robbed. If that is abject failure I will have some more please.
Nick, Cortese was rather more than a Swiss Financial al Adviser.
Like blame success is something that people strive to apportion.
My big issue is that we easily discuss whether the success was down Reed (of Charlton fame) to Cortese who found a wealthy backer and also spent a considerable time studying German football (they are quite efficient you know) . You may even be able to work out my opinion?
What we have trouble doing is deciding which part of the clubs structure is faulty . This is because we have at least 5 options!
It seems obvious to me is that the board is far too big and as a club we lack Agility. This is why we have struggled to make decisions about players in a timely manor. Its not just about January (an obvious disaster) its also situations like Alderwiereld and even Koeman.
Aside from that I am alarmed that Ralf doesn't match the fact that we sold so many players as the cause for a drop in form . Bizarrely he seems to think that its because we didn't sell our best players. I am also alarmed that he takes such pride in Liverpool's success.
You say football is a very simple game, Nick, but if that was the case we'd all view the problems in the same light. You see a goal go in against the Saints and you immediately blame a defender (although you can never quite bring yourself to blame your beloved Wesley Hoedt who until the last few games was an accident waiting to happen!). I see a goal go in and I blame the midfield, usually because they are not putting pressure on the ball and backing off. A good manager can pinpoint the problem and put it right as long as he has the right players in his squad. To a certain extent Mark Hughes has done that but I'm sure he'll be wanting to strengthen his midfield as a priority for next season.
I know not all will agree with me, but managing/running a football club at this elite level is not simple. It's far from it. I agree with RK that the reasons for Saints demise this season cannot be simply attributed to one or two things. I also agree that just small issues can make a huge difference at elite level.
Interesting that RK has placed a lot more emphasis on the VVD situation, but also that this idea of keeping your core players 'come what may' went against the Southampton Way. I suspect that is the biggest tell that SFC won't be doing that again. We will never know the full extent, but SFC's stance and VVD's attitude had a significant impact on the club.
The description of Mane signals (to me) that SFC want to get back to attracting top potential talent on the basis that it is a pathway to bigger things. We don't know, but i would place money on the fact that a number of potential footballers SFC have been looking at may have got cold feet after seeing the VVD saga. (And I hope that doesn't include Promes). That's a mortal blow for a club like SFC, who cannot offer the same attractive wage deals as a number of clubs in or around the mid table - let alone the traditional top 6.
Nick is bang on with the interlinked issue on VVD: SFC decided to move away from the usual approach and force VVD to stay. It meant they diverted attention away from identifying a replacement (alongside Hoedt, who you could say replaced Fonte) to fill the gap - obviously because they thought VVD would shut up and put up. He didn't - and performances were affected.
I think this element of the interview also requires us fans to become a bit more bought into the ideal. I too have been screaming for SFC to show some balls and dig in to ensure we don't get the 'selling club' tag. Yet when it did happen, it had a negative impact and we were eventually left with the same result - just a few months later than planned, and for more money (bonus) but with a negative impact on the squad that MP simply did not have the experience or personality to resolve.
As such, I should look to accept that we are a growing club, who is placing emphasis on getting decent performances from top 'up and coming' players for 2-3 seasons before they move on. When this works, we become better as a collective - and we could soon reach a level where we can attract and keep these players for longer; but we only do that if we are consistently challenging for European spots and equaling ambition by securing bigger name transfers alongside a growing pay structure. That doesn't happen overnight though - and this season has made a big dent on our improvement there.
In terms of this season, RK gets it spot on for me with regard to the failure to convert chances into goals. The stats are clear to see. If MP had not had better luck, more support, a happier squad, it could have been a very different scenario - because some of those draws should and could have been converted into wins if the wind was blowing the right way - and then we would have all been commenting on a very different season than the one just been.
Finally, i come from an organisational culture where the emphasis is always on learning, not blame. Clearly SFC (under RK's reign) is also embedding that culture. I accept that, more broadly, Football does (and will) continue to operate on blame. I appreciate Les Reed is not everybody's cup of tea but i still believe he has had considerably bad press as fans look for that pariah to lynch. He is still a very good member of staff who has guided the club into continuous improved seasons in the most competitive league in the world. He may well have made mistakes over the past two seasons - but i believe that all of SFC have learnt from that - and that will make the club stronger. Experience is key. Success always accelerates when you learn from failure. Practice really does make perfect.
Clearly not everyone will be satisfied until we see public executions on live TV, but its also clear that not everyone understands what it craves to run a business , let alone a PL football club. Some management changes were forced upon us (Pochettino and Koeman ) and it becomes clear that not every manager can be a success in every country. Saints are by no means worst when it comes to managerial changes in the last few years, but (thankfully) still in the Prem. and we can look back at some of the clubs who aren't.
Despite Adam Leitch's total disregard of the explanations he got (from Ralph) its obvious that the season was destroyed by a long list of problems not directly the Board's fault. Neither Reed or Krueger were responsible the myriad chances that Long, Gabbiadini and Redmond scorned when it was easier to score, or Boufal whose every goal suddenly rates as Goal of the Season, but doesn't realise that he's supposed to be part of a team. Referees who have their own interpretation of "Fergie Time " to favour the " big clubs " and those who turn a blind eye to fouls and handball situations also cost us many points.
Players who previously looked "top class" suddenly lost it and looked like L1 rejects, or players whose ambition to play CL football means they demand to move on, and do so. The whole VvD debacle destroyed the first half of the season, but IMO Saints did well to "draw a line in the sand " when Liverpool so blatantly "tapped him up" , and warn others to think twice before making illegal approaches - just because they've got the power.
YES - we need to take a longer look at the future , but blaming individual Board members /players / managers won't cure the situation in the short term. The positive points being that we are still in the Prem. and (hopefully) will agree a manager (Hughes) who can get the team motivated AND build up a new generation of players.
Fonte was the last of the L1 squad that saw us up into the Prem. - and stayed, and we can hope that the next generation will move us up a level but it won't be achieved overnight.
Perhaps a change from the norm.... maybe be a little more decisive.. knowing that not ALL decisions can be made as prompt as we want BUT many can... If Hughes is the man then make it that way...shouldn't take longer than a few weeks, therefore by the end of the month he's confirmed! Boufal and Carrillo out (no disrespect to either of them but it didn't work) except a loss and move on but under no circumstances make these transfers linger on! more in's and out's I know but what i'm trying to say is for once... SEIZE THE MOMENT rather than getting to August and NOTHING DONE... i hope the board has noticed that the window has been brought forward......
Saying that the board didn’t miss the chances ? They did however put the forward line together for the manager to choose his options which were weak and risky with Charlie’s injury record. Ditto last minute goals and a weak underinvested defence.
We need to get off the bottom of the net spend table for a few years because we are no better or worse than other clubs at buying now.
The board have used up their credits for me now. Kat has had her payout. Now at least show a bit of ambition and common sense rather than just running it for maximum profit. You rested on your laurels and got a hell of a scare. I hope you have learned that lesson.
Ps Les, why not come out yourself and show a bit of humility and admit some mistakes ? You could win a few back with that simple action, because if you even slightly mess up next season you will be the number 1 target and I can see st Mary’s venting their anger on you. At least Ralph showed balls
Is there anybody out there who still believes one word of Krueger's claptrap and bullshine? Lessons have been learned? By 60+ year old millionaires milking very penny out of the coffers? Do me a bloody favour!
The bloke is as much culpable in our demise as Reed and he knows it. No amount of waffle and humbug will detract from that. He should go and so should Reed; let's hope Gao sees past all this cant and hyperbole.
Otherwise "a new beginning" will rapidly degenerate into the further emasculation of our once great club.
What a load of sh**e this man is a complete numpty suggesting the he and his colleagues had a hand in not being relegated is ludicrous to say the least, and as for business he must come straight out of the school of Steptoe and sons I'm sure,
Everybody should know business of any kind is made up of a series of processes these are in place to maximise the output to the customer etc they also consist of very fine indicators that tell you how you are performing and what parts are broken etc , consider it an early warning sign against failure, if there were multiple failures then there must be multiple root causes so what are they ralph? Cleary you don't know which means your process is not working so how will you learn and how will you ever be able to improve? so lets all gather round and tread on the same rakes next year shall we, what a f***ing numpty ,the man s only there to help skim the profits that's why he has spoken because its time for us to dig deep and pay for our season tickets and the rest of the Ratners at our club there salary's, I bet hughes will be told that most of the current squad will be sold but don't worry we will give you half of it to rebuild the squad there skim the rest, if your in agreement with ralph about how business is run Nick then you are too laughable , on a positive note I'm glad to see hughes brought his own crew with him I couldn't imagine kelvin trying to motivate or point out how the game should be played to any premier quality players.
SaintNick ... theirs absolutely no way Pelligrino would’ve succeeded even if he had got a quality defender, he didn’t no what to do in the prem ! He was a mistake appointment & that’s all it was , every club does it now & again , the only ting I can blame the board for was keeping him to long apart from that I can’t see much wrong with Reed & Krueger , allways the right amount of money available for the size of the club we are , if Ms Liebherr don’t want spend the whole £75 mill on players the I can’t see it’s Reed or Krueger’s fault , then again what do I know .
Well, that sounded like a load of doubletalk that you get at business symposium where speakers get paid a nice fee, everyone pretends it was very informative, but really think it was a lot nothing. I was surprised not to find the words "paradigm" and "synergy" used!
Check Ralphie's wikepedia page and you will find he had a best selling book "Teamlife - Beyond Setbacks to Success" in Germany so you can see this is exactly what Kat brought him in for.
Keep reading and you will find that his hockey success is limited to small leagues,not the NHL so you can't really say he's the next Scotty Bowman!
He actually admits that Saints are now a feeder club, How he was happy to help Mane achieve his career goals: "We allowed that pathway and we were an important part of that and we should be proud of that....". The interviewer however, doesn't follow up with the obvious question: "When Mane left, why did you not have another speedy striker brought in, don't you have players you are watching as replacements for ones that leave?"
Nic you can go on and on about our defense (and the fans not cheering loud enough), however it wasn't too bad: 8 clean sheets and 14 games allowing only one goal.
Lack of being able to score just one more goal (some times the only goal!) is what hurt us. According to my dodgy mathematics, if we scored one more goal in each game, it would of resulted in 44 more points-I know, that would be 38 goals which is not very realistic, but if you average that out, that means if we could have scored just one goal in say 1/4 of the games, we would be in the top 10.
So we escape relegation by the skin of our teeth having won only seven games all season.Now the thrust of the chairman's view appears to be that of nothing much needs changing "it was just one of those things". Good luck attempting to sell season tickets for 2018/19 on that basis.
I freely admit I thought we were going down as I thought we'd sacked MP far too late. But we didn't which is terrific. But... Here's the $64/- question, where do we end up next season? If we assume that 2017/18 was a freak - as none of the promoted teams went down - so at least one promoted one in 2017/18 will go down next May, how likely is it that we will be in the mix to join them? Or put another way, who is going to play worse than us next season? On the basis of the last few months, I struggle to see beyond Huddersfield and maybe managerless West Ham. What I am trying to say is that, for us to stay in the league, we really do have to play one helluva lot better throughout the season and how likely is that? So forget who is to blame for 2017/18, the question to ask is do we have the tools in our locker to survive next season? Christ I hope so, but I ain't counting my cluckers just yet...