Wesley Hoedt has been confirmed as having joined Celta Vigo on loan for the rest of the season, was he as bad as some would make out or is he just the latest scapegoat and has been hounded out.
Wesley Hoedt perhaps didn't justify his fee during his 15 month spell in our first team, but during that time he was a virtual ever present up to the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl and in some games showed that he was a class performer.
One thing he wasn't though was a poor performer in a good defence, those around him where no better and In my opinion for most of the time a lot worse.
But Wesley Hoedt is no means the first player to get abuse from a section of the Saints crowd and if he goes on subsequently to enjoy a successful career at the highest level then he won't be the first Saints player either present of past to prove what we would call back in the 1970's "The Boo Boys" wrong.
In the past there would usually be only one who would bear the brunt of the crowd's displeasure, in the past few years it has been many at once.
People look at Ronald Koeman's two seasons as a Golden Period in Saints recent history and the truth is it was but memories are short Pelle was abused in only his second game for the club, his first appearance at St Mary's with the crowd deciding after only 15 minutes that he was rubbish and ironically cheering everytime he won a header.
Likewise Sadio Mane up to his last two months at the club a section of the crowd were on his back and proclaiming him the worst signing the club had ever made, then came the Liverpool game!
The summer of 2016 saw both leave for big fees and soon they were heralded as martyrs, being sold by a selling club virtually against their will.
Since then the scapegoats have come thick and fast, in Claude Puel's season Pierre Emile Hojbjerg was dismissed as an expensive waste of money, as was Nathan Redmond who became scapegoat number 1 to the boo boys despite scoring 7 Premier League goals thus making him top scorer and also the vital goal in the first leg of the semi final against Liverpool, Shane Long was also vilified, Dusan Tadic as well.
Last season all four were joined by James Ward Prowse and Fraser Forster, hounded so much by some that rumours still abound he suffered a nervous breakdown, possibly a Premier league record for scapegoats when you add Sofiane Boufal, Wesley Hoedt Guido Carrillo & Cedric Soares, we were only one short of a full starting XI of scapegoats and that is both shocking and sad, mainly sad. Add Mo Elyounoussi this year and we have a full side and Stuart Armstrong was not exactly flavour of the month to start with so a sub as well all in the past two years. Oh and I forgot Jannik Vestergaard and Matt Targett so less of a team of scapegoats and more of a squad.!
Yes we were playing badly, but most of them did not deserve the vitriol they received, "Ive paid my money i'll say what I want" is the stock excuse of a boo boy, that's fine why not go and watch a pantomime plenty of villains to boo at there (no jokes about pantomimes here please lol) Why not support them and you never know they might just come good.
All of these players mentioned have one thing in common though and that is quality, some like Pelle, Tadic & Mane left and have flourished elsewhere, others like Hojbjerg, Redmond, JWP & Armstrong are starting to flourish here and reaching their true potential under Hasenhuttl, indeed Carrillo is doing well in Spain and Boufal in France to a lesser degree
That just leaves Cedric who has only recently become a scapegoat, Forster whose career here looks to be over and indeed whether he can rebuild the confidence he once had is debateable ,Elyounoussi & Hoedt.
So that beggars the question that if Ralph Hasenhuttl can transform some of those mentioned then could he still do the same for Elyounoussi & Vestergaard and could he have done it for Hoedt.
What we do know is that if Redmond, Hojbjerg & JWP had buckled to the abuse and left for another club after all all three had offers, then Saints would not be anywhere near the side that they are starting to become under Hasenhuttl.
So perhaps its time to lay off the boos and like our new manager concentrate on supporting and building the confidence of those who are at the club, Hasenhuttl believes players thrive on confidence, the crowds support is vital in building that.
I think there is more to the departure of Hoedt than meets the eye his sudden omission from the team came barely a month since a man of the match performance at Bournemouth.
In his 13 league games Saints conceded 24 goals a ratio of 1.84 a game, in the 10 games since his omission we have conceded 16 a ratio of 1.6 per game not much better, but in truth after Hoedt's dropping in the first 7 games after we conceded 14, we actually got worse without him than we were with him, it has only been the last three were we have conceded only 2 goals in 3 games that have improved the stats, that tells you something .
Sadly for whatever reason we won't see the best of Wesley Hoedt, but we can learn a lesson from the way he has left the club, we can learn a lesson from the way that Hojbjerg, Redmond & James Ward Prowse are coming good and if we learn that lesson then perhaps there are those at this club now who will fulfil their potential at St Mary's and not be scared to play.
I for one are sad to see him go, I don't know why he didn't get a chance under Hasenhuttl I can only imagine it to be something not related to his ability given that he didn't get a chance to play a game, I think we may regret his departure and what he might have been at this club. In a good well organised side he might well have reached his full potential.
Nick, I notice you did not mention Maya Yoshida in this article, or was that criticism confined to one person........ Also Ralph did say from the outset that those who didn’t want to conform/play for the club would be left out. Maybe WH came into that category and didn’t like the new work style.
I'm not one for openly abusing our players but, I cannot agree over Hoedt. Every time he got the ball my heart was in my mouth. That wasn't something that happened overnight. My eyes told me that he was a liability and he's not the only defensive one - Stephens is just as much prone to bad decisions, although he's harder to dispossess than Hoedt when carrying the ball forward. As for Vestergaard, the jury is out. He has made some progress recently. He now actually jumps for the ball and looks fitter and leaner under RH. But, Wesley - no, he and Jack made/make too many wrong decisions - poor short passes, trying to show off skill when the safer skill would be to put the ball in row Z and overhit over the top passes particularly when we are up against it, consequently giving the ball to the opposition only for them to launch an attack. I'm not sorry to see Hoedt go and I wish him well at Celta Vigo.
Scared to play thats a crock of sh1te yeah like any club some have a moan at a misplaced pass, header, shit or clearance. You have been very critical on Stephens and Yoshida yet attack other fans for having a different view on Hoedt a view shared by our new manager....are you saying he is wrong and you know better? How about you stop attacking the supporters and do what you called for unity???
Some of you miss the point, I criticise players on here and when i do I point out where I am actually pointing the finger, that is not what I am talking about everyone is entitled to their opinion, the players all listed in this article and ironically Yoshida and Stephens are not included have all come if for very vocal abuse from the crowd at games.
Thermos you have missed the point completely at no point have i said I knew better than the manager nor have i attacked fans for having a different view than mine, in fact i always try on here to encourage people to tell me their own views and prove me wrong.
All this article has done is point out that Hoedt is the latest in a long line of players who have received abuse from the crowd at games, yes of course fans have a moan, but there is no one in 13 players mentioned who you can say hasn't come in for stick, I have tried to make people perhaps look at this and look at players like Redmond who has received dogs abuse and is now coming good, we would all be accusing Saints of being a selling club wouldnt we if we had sold him for £10 million and he was now in the England squad and flourishing
Have I had the odd moan at players at games, yes of course i have, have i given them abuse ? no I dont rate Yoshida or Stephens but when they play I cheer them on, I want to be proved wrong whereas it seems that some want to be proved right and that a player is sh*t .
Do you think it is healthy that so many have been abused ? and we all know they have been some more than others and some still getting it.
Everyone has their opinion ....and so here's mine. Hoedt definitely looked the part (of a CB) but (to me) his body language didn't say "I'm one of the team". Rightly ..or ..I think he felt he deserved a start regardless of form, but even he would have to admit that 2 O.G.s .and a number of other glaring errors (when he lost the ball in crucial situations ) led to the opposition scoring and Saints losing games.
YES Ralph said he didn't always lay blame for "individual errors" and cited (Vestergaard at Cardiff) but on overall performance, although clearly Hoedt wasn't able to convince Ralph that he would go along with new methods, whereas many of the squad have improved almost beyond belief.
Whether it's down to ...Culture, Climate or " poor bonding" , clearly Hoedt didn't fit in and if the goal difference hasn't significantly improved ...at least the back 3 .. does look a bit more stable under Ralph's regime. We still have Yoshida in the mix and whether Nick likes him (or not) I think he does give us more options when he is back in the fold.
As far as previous comments about players being booed...I dislike booing,( unless it's an feisty opponent), but the team only follow the manager's plan and it would seem that Messers Puel, Pellegrino and Hughes didn't see - what Hasenhuttl did in the squad.
I don't think Hoedt is a bad player, but clearly he now has a chance to prove himself elsewhere and maybe kickstart his career.
This post must be intentionally provocative, Hoedt was rubbish but for some mysterious reason was regularly picked from the start of this season. I always cheered him, but he was vulnerable and so weak on the pitch! Along with so many other fans I could not see any improvement in his thinking speed or positional play, he was clearly unsuited to PL pace and physicality and the only surprise was how long it took for him to be removed from the first 11.
Hope he plays better for CV and we get a decent offer to buy.
Good riddance nothing more than a pub player, total rubbish watched him and like someone said when he got the ball my heart was in my mouth. Omg how can anybody defend him I would have mayo all day long better player by miles
i see a young 21 year old aspiring centre back from the championship has agreed a move to a premier team for the price we sold Gabbi for, no-one needs a CB more than us so what were we doing? all this rubbish about taking our time get the right players, if that was true then hats off to the board but this signing was a missed opportunity as he ticks all the boxes this board and manager have been banging on about. who's going next? Because there will be others, I'd like to believe you Nick when you say it free's up funds for a big overhaul in the summer, unfortunately I don't believe for one minute,
Unusually I very largely agree with Nick this time and I am one of the few on this site who thought Hoedt, for quite a young player, was a pretty decent CB with a good left foot and untapped potential, largely due to the misfortune of playing under two rather unimpressive managers (to say the least)
I would have held on to him and would have trusted in Ralf to get him fired up, but perhaps there was a not so obvious character problem, not so evident to the crowd, aside from those who had decided to get on his back for everything, just to bolster their own self appointed football expertise.
I also remain disappointed that we have banished, presumably for the rest of this season at least, Boufal (greatest potential of any of our players to moments of sublime skill, but hugely wayward at times) and Carillo dropped into a struggling team, poorly managed, and clearly (like Boufal) not someone MH had any time for yet a player who did appear to be a good player with his back to goal, able to lay a ball off very effectively and with no liittle skill with the ball at his feet.
I would dearly like to see how these two exiles would operate under Ralf's guidance and would ideally like them brought back but assume that is not part of the deal; but strongly think they should return to us for RH to assess further before they are sold off at a loss next summer. Boufal, in particular, I think would benefit from Ralf's close attention, with one arm around his shoulder and a constant flow of encouragement and constructive criticism when deserved.
If a player like Matt Le Tissier can justify his place in Saints supporters hearts because of his loyalty and immense talent, despite not being a hard graft player at all times on the pitch, I don't see why Boufal shouldn't be half the player that MLT was for us, given a little respect and guidance and Ralf's the man for that job...and that would make our squad so much stronger
I know we are in minority but I thought Hoedt was a good player and really thought our first choice back four was going to be Cedric, Vest, Hoedt and Bert and the issue with Pelligrino and Hughes was down to team set up and pace/intensity. He did get found out with his little step over trick and due to the frequency with which our back line was under pressure it’s no surprise there were some errors, but as has been pointed out the benefit of better tactics plus Romeu back in the team has meant they all look better.
Can only assume it’s a wages disparity and/or a squad harmony/team spirit issue. Presumably Ralph watched loads of saints games in preparation for the post and since he was appointed so was able to form a view.
Looks like Cedric also on the list, wonder if Bert was fit if he’d also be on the block and Lemina the same. All three have been linked to “bigger” clubs (places where could earn more money) in the past.
Think the most balanced part of the article is when you suggest that there may be more than meets the eye with this one.. I don’t agree fully with your opinion on Stephens as I think he will have great games for saints, comfortable and calm in possession. Charlie Nicholas has actually given Jack high praise the last 2 games, he has never had a long run in the side and always with different partners. Bednarek is quality, clear for a while now, so with Maya being a loyal and versatile man with top spirit, that leaves us with the 2 recent CB signings. I thought Hoedt was ok but needed improving and the Vest looked clumsy. Now he looks leaner and fitter and is coming across as one with a bit of fight, he has improved hugely under Ralph. So I wish Wesley the best but Nick, rather than be upset, trust in our new manager! He knows what he is doing and look at the change in us! As for the boos.. some of it is warranted and some a bit harsh, that’s football. P.s. Agree with the guy who mentioned Boufal. If attitude wasn’t his issue, then get him back and see if Ralph can take him to the next level he clearly has locked away..
I don't know where you sit, Nick, but i don't hear any of this abuse where I am which is the standing area of the Kingsland, an area where you might expect to hear some more colourful language. Yes, there's the odd groan when somebody makes a bad pass or gives the ball away but nothing I would term abuse. Have you thought about moving to a different area of the ground to get a better matchday experience?!
I remember seeing MLT booed at Spurs after a bad pass led to a goal. It happens everywhere and to every player at one time or another. A small section of the support spends its time very, very angry and there will always be abuse - it is not right, or good to hear, but you don't belong in football if you can't take it. Maybe I am deaf but I certainly haven't heard anything sustained or particularly unusual against any of Nick's whipping boys. Pelle is often used an example but he just got on with it and became a favourite.
Hoedt hasn't been 'hounded out' by anyone - Yoshi and Stephens are essentially reserves and Bednarek was bought as a promising youngster, Hoedt was bought to be the number one real deal and has not been able to do that. Ralph clearly rates him below the others and it makes sense for him to go. In the unlikely even he turns into a genius CB at another club then good for him - it never looked like happening here and it is not our fault that he flopped.
"A small section of the support spends its time very, very angry and there will always be abuse - it is not right, or good to hear, but you don't belong in football if you can't take it."
Indeed SanMarco, just take a walk along to your local park on a Sunday and witness a game if you want to see irrational "fan" behaviour. It is only the formality of a large stadium and innate sense of being controlled by the very great majority of decent fans that stops this angering some people becoming full scale violence.
Nick, you must be deluded. Tell me how Wesley Hoedt played against Liverpool and City.... We were playing damage limitation after 10 minutes because of his mistakes and OG's. Always poor in the big games, remembering Chelsea at home last season!! The Jury is still out on Vestigard but have seen a lot of improvement of late.