Ralph Krueger Departure ! The Reaction ! Friday, 12th Apr 2019 11:30
The news that Ralph Krueger has left Southampton Football Club after 5 years has come as a shock, here we take a look at the ramifications of his departure.
The first thing that is strange is the timing of the announcement, whilst all appears to be amicable with all parties including Krueger saying nice things, the day before a big game and with our season still far from over in terms of avoiding relegation, it does not make sense to rock the boat at at this time, surely better to wait a week or two when our safety is secured.
It tends to suggest the departure that although abrupt is amicable, there has been speculation of late that Krueger is about to be offered a big job back in Ice Hockey and that could have played a part, perhaps there has been a mutual agreement in place that he could go ahead of his contract ending if that came up.
It should be noted and some could not quite grasp this, that Kreuger was a figurehead CHairman, he was there in a part time capacity to oversee and counsel, not to make everyday decisions, this could have played some part in Gao' s thinking perhaps he wants someone who can be there more often and be more hands on.
Some Saints fans have been quick to jump on Krueger at any opportunity and have asked what is an Ice Hockey coach doing at a football club, the simple answer was that in many respects Krueger was one of the most qualified Chairmen in the Premier League he was not at the club for footballing decisions, but to oversee a sporting business and he had a lot of experience in doing that.
From this point Krueger's term at St Mary's will be seen as one of success, but surely it would have been better to wait till relegation has been avoided to let him leave without the opportunity for some to question him, but there can be no denial, Krueger has outperformed most of his peers in the Premier League in terms of what is a realistic expectation of what Saints can achieve going forward, his biggest problem has always been the ghost of Nicola Cortese forever in the background and the boasting of Champions League football.
Too many fans took these words as a rod to use on Krueger, when you look at his time here most of it has been positive, targets need to be stretching and achievable, Champions League football was very stretching when we returned to the Premier League 7 years ago, the increased dominance of the Big Six financially has made it even more impossible, yet some have chosen to ignore that and think that finishing 4th in the Premier League is an easy task and all it needs is the ambition to do it, idle boasting has never been ambition although some seems to think it was.
Therefore Krueger has always been struggling to put a sense of realism back into the supporter base, recently the tlk behind the scenes has been more about refocusing the future planning and putting in place realistic levels of expectation, that was more about finishing 7th and chasing Europe and a cup final than Champions League, this is stretching in that we have rarely actually done that in our history and achievable in that we have done it more often in the last 5 years that at any time other than the late 70's/ early 80's under Lawrie McMenemy.
One thing it does show though is that Gao is not as remote from the club as many Saints fans have been claiming on social media, ill informed comments have been the order of the day on the internet since Gao arrived, those close to the club know that the owner has been far from passive, he has had his people involved and observing just how the club is run since day one.
It seems now he is flexing his muscles and ready to move the club forward the way he wants to, whether that is a good or bad thing is a different story, certainly Krueger was a voice of reason to him and a good counsel, just who replaces him will be crucial.
For some Saints supporters there will be celebration at this news, they have been sniping at Krueger for five years they have never been quite able to accept the job he has done and where it sits in the history of the club.
Krueger has built some solid foundations from what was basically sand back in 2014, hopefully Gao can now take us forward, perhaps he has the man in mind already to take overfrom Krueger and it will be an appointment that will excite the fans.
But if we look at the teams outside of the top six that have succeeded, money has not been the deciding factor, it has been good management and careful use of that money, that is why we finished 8th and got to a cup final whilst Everton spent money and didn't, why Watford are at Wembley and Wolves aren't.
I have said in every crisis at Saints in the past decade " It is not about what has just happened, it is about what you do next", that is very much the case here, this is perhaps a crucial moment in Saints history as we are trying to make a big change and it is a leap in to the unknown, it is not the devil you know going forward.
Some will welcome this, others will be a little hesitant, we now know Gao intends to be involved in this club a lot more than just as a passive owner, he might not be at every game, but his people are and have been since he took over, hopefully he will look to progress the club through evolution rather than revolution, someone taking over from Krueger who understands how sports clubs work and how sports fans think and you will notice that is using the words sports and not football, we need someone who understands how to run a big business not just a football club.
In recent months Saints have been working hard behind the scenes to change things within the club, some are more visible than others like the departure of Les Reed, the club had been making big strides forward, hopefully that can continue.
No replacement was brought in for Les Reed yet we seem to have improved enormously since he was sacked and recruited our best manager for a long time. Perhaps Krueger's departure will bring another boost to the club's fortunes.
As was the case with Reed, you don't notice how little someone was doing until after they're gone. Similarly, the country would probably be run a lot better if Theresa May left and wasn't replaced by anyone.
Given how close we were from disappearing from the football league I’m a little surprised how comfortable so many fans are with the Gao administration. It smacks of money laundering and the recent press stories and history with the owner do little to alleviate those concerns. I’d be happy to eat my hat if we suddenly took off during the summer, but I’m more worried we’ll lose the manager and this administration will send us back to the dark ages.
The sad collapse of PFC is too recent a memory to make any of us feel comfortable now. I cannot believe that I am saying his but we may have to hope that Kat Leibherr sticks around a bit longer to keep an eye of what the Gao's are up to.
I'm not sure how you are measuring Ralph Kruegers success is it based on the success of the Saints overall? If you listen to all those that speak within the saints hierarchy they will quickly retort how the club is run by one big family with every pulling in the same direction and singing from the same hymn sheet so I would love to see what individual success Ralph can claim as his own. For me he has made far too many high profile Ratner style speeches belittling the very product he is promoting to be a fans favourite and I personally would like to see a change of some sort obviously for the good of the club. It goes without saying that spending such a large sum of money on the Saints as Gao has he would need to bring in his own people so we can only wish he has nothing but good aspirations in mind like the appointment Hassenhuttle, maybe we will get the investment in the first squad that we all crave and the chance to queue for our season tickets with the hope we can win some games and compete that's all we ask coyr
Football has a culture of its own and it's clear Ralph K . was " a square peg" from Day 1. Some people interpreted his "confidence-building, visonary statements " as just so much b*ll sh*t , whereas the depth of his belief and determination never faltered. In hindsight a move from the hockey world to English football was a move too far for him.
What Ralph did /didn't achieve was more visible to fans than Nicola Cortese's regime run from the Chairman's office with little / no reference to the fan base, and his sacking of staff "Trump style". Whatever success Cortese had with his admin. / financial acumen was lost on me, with his ridiculous approval of costly foreign deals for the likes of Mayuka Ramirez and Osvaldo - all on borrowed money that nearly bankrupted us a second time, together with his "childish stadium bans" on Le Tissier and Benali which only showed his inability to respond to adult criticism, or understand the loyalty of the Saints fan base.
The next Chairman should be someone who appreciates the real nature of English football and who knows the difference between- " a dressing room and a locker room". I'm sure that RK will return to the sport he loves most, whilst our his lasting memory of his input as Saints Chairman surely came in an early interview with Ralph Haselhuttl, who when asked why he chose to come to Saints said..." as soon as Ralph Kreuger started talking to me in German... I was half sold on the idea". On that day alone we saw Ralph K's. most- valuable contribution to SFC which will (hopefully) be a long lasting one, namely - in getting Ralph H. into the building.
During Krueger's tenure.... we have gone from 'cash rich' (VVD) to 'cash poor' and you could say the same about the quality of many of the players. Mistakes, mainly in recruitment, have dumped us in a deep financial hole which will be difficult to escape.... Is that why Reed and Krueger have thought it prudent to escape?
(which I have posted a couple of times previously and Nic apparently doesn't read!)
He coached Edmonton for half a season when they sacked their coach. They failed to make the playoffs and Ralph was let go. To be fair, you can't judge his coaching ability based on half a season with a team with poor talent. Why was he let go? Because Edmonton brought in a new General Manager (The person who actually Does run the franchise), and he cleaned house to bring in his own people.
Note that Buffalo had contact with him 2 years ago (I guest tampering rules don't apply when different sports are involved.)
So maybe they and/or the Oilers have contacted him (or he has contacted them), and Gao & Kat got wind of it, and showed him the door. (Possibly the was using the hockey teams as a bargain chip to renew his contract?)
As to the Rangers I am what was know as a "Long Suffering Fan" up until 1994. (Crap! that was 25 years ago!! So I am still am, I guess!). I kind of doubt Ralph winds up with them after Glen Sather's recent retirement. (Don't get me started on the Rangers owner-that is a whole other long rant!). But their recent "25 Year Plan" has been to sign old, past-their-prime players that teams are trying to off-load along with their high salaries-which then ruins the salary cap, so the Rangers then let talented up-and-coming young players leave and go on to star for other teams..........so......... maybe him and Les will wind up at Madison Square Garden!