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Ralph Krueger Takes Coaching Job
Wednesday, 15th May 2019 08:00

Ralph Krueger was maligned by some as an "Ice Hockey coach" and he has now gone back to his roots and accepted a job back in the sport.

Ralph Krueger has been appointed head coach of America's NHL team Buffalo Sabres, with reports stating that the "once proud franchise are hoping he can end an eight year play off drought"

Krueger has been hired only in a coaching capacity where he is reported as being known for being an innovator in hockey strategies as well as developing young talent.

Krueger was much maligned by some Saints supporters for being an Ice Hockey Coach, but this was very short sighted, Krueger was not at St Mary's in a coaching capacity but for his business abilities in sport.

Although some preferred to use this as a term of abuse, it actually possibly made Krueger one of the most qualified Premier League Chairmen in that as well as business acumen he had a sporting background so understood all aspects of running a professional sports team unlike most club Chairman who are recruited out of industry and have little understanding of the way that football and it's fans operate.

Krueger's five years at the club were at times challenging and you can only really judge a man when he has ended his time in a job, for Krueger he oversaw a difficult time but in his tenure he saw the team achieve four straight top 8 finishes, a major cup final and two European qualifications and although his last two seasons were ones of struggle he played a big part in starting the latest overhaul under new owner Gao Jisheng.

That saw him make several big decisions, the first being to relieve Les Reed of his duties and the second being instrumental in the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl, a masterstroke in saving Saints from relegation and perhaps a catalyst for the revival of the club's fortunes on the pitch.

Ironically comparisons with the way Krueger was viewed by Saints fans could be drawn with the appointment of Clive Woodward almost 15 years ago, back then some supporters could not draw distinctions between what Woodward's job actually was and seperate it from his previous appointments.

At the time Woodward was probably one of the most successful team coaches in England if not the World having won the World Cup for the England Rugby team, but he was not brought in to coach players but to oversee the building of Staplewood as a top quality training facility as well as to introduce the sports science methods he had introduced to Rugby.

These methods were derided by then manager Harry Redknapp who intimated a bacon sandwich around a table in a cafe next to Upton Park didn't do Bobby Moore any harm and all these new fangled ways weren't up to much.

Some Saints supporters agreed, however within a few years of Woodward's departure all of the methods he was brought in to introduce were now seen as standard in all sporting teams not just football, however Saints had to waste a few years of potential progress until the arrival of Les Reed who effectively took on the mantle of Woodward's foundations and revamped the training ground and introduced sports science methods etc.

So good luck to Ralph Krueger, some might not agree, but he did a good job and left the club as he found it in the Premier League so did us no wrong.

Photo: Action Images

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A1079 added 08:25 - May 15
Fans by and large, measure the success or performance of the club, by the quality of the players on the pitch, the performances of the team and ultimately the results. If all of that is going well, then they take little notice of what is happening behind the scenes. But, when it is not going well, or it is perceived that there is a downward trajectory, then invariably they look further for reasons and to some extent scapecoats!

Having said, unlike the past, chairman's, Chief Execs etc have themselves created a higher profile. There was a time when very few knew who made up the board or run the club, but now they are often as well known as the manager, coach and players, in some cases, they even dictate who is playing. They have a greater say on who will sign or leave than they used to. So, build yourself up, put yourself out there and in the eyes of the fans you do not deliver in the way they expect, then you are putting yourself up to be shot at. Any sympathy is limited. Most are very well paid and get good pay offs whether they are successful or not.

As far as I can tell, with the limited knowledge I have, I suspect Kreuger did some good things and I am sure his intentions were for the best that he could achieve. I did not go for his verbal stuff much and that time he stood on the pitch going on about the Southampton Way was cringeworthy to say the least, but I suspect he worked hard behind the scenes and for the club even if it did not all work out. But, then at the end of the day - he would have been paid well. He has moved on now and to be honest, what he does now or in the future is of little or no interest to me. I am more interested in what this current board does now, right now, now that the season has ended, as they should have been primed and ready for the close season and yet, in key areas, there are still vacancies!

highfield49 added 09:56 - May 15
I'll always associate Ralph Krueger with his "small club" comment. Despite everything that he may have achieved that remains his legacy in my blinkered view.

I_would added 12:28 - May 15
The picture of the 'infamous duo' make me feel ill. Their scrurillous actions, especially Reed's 'special relationships' with agents, will be very difficult for saints to put right and could take a decade or more.

Jesus_02 added 14:13 - May 15
Not entirely sure what he did to be honest. We had so many board members that it was difficult to apportion successes and failures. Simply being at the helm when we achieved what we did doesn't mean that he did a "good job".

There was an awful lot of talk about improving matchday experience and to be honest apart from some experiments with hog roast etc I cant see a massive difference.

The agreement with Virgin was very positive but I cant help but think this would not be possible without success which was built previous to his appointment and either way didn't we have a different board member tasked with financials.

Overall he and Les have left because the current CEO does not see their value. On pitch success is a fickle measure to mark them by and I cant help but think that the continued success was far more to do with Koeman than anyone above him. The fact that he left when those above him started selling the team he built speaks louder to me than most things you have mentioned.

I can see a situation where Ralf is not replaced unless we lose further board members. Its like our team . Bloated with average individuals, in need of a trim and then investment.

amsterdamsaint added 15:31 - May 15
I think Krueger. Was great for the Saints, his sporting knowledge was second to none.

amsterdamsaint added 15:36 - May 15
Fun fact ! Krueger took a sabattical for a few weeks 2 years ago to manage a “ best of the rest “ ice hockey team, the players that could’t make their own country’s squad, the cast offs. His side won the World tournament

BoondockSaint added 18:05 - May 15
To be fair, I never knew if his "corporate-speak" was him or him having to face the public on behalf of Les and the owners and under orders to say absolutely nothing.

It was highly unlikely that he was going to get general manager job in the NHL as his experience was coaching, not drafting, trading or signing free agents. He has a reputation for developing young players so this should suit him well as the Sabres haven't made the playoffs in 8 years ( you know how bad you have to be to miss out? 18 of the 31 teams get in the playoffs!), and should be stocked with young players from the draft. But again, the drafting is done by the general manager, so as in football, you can be a great coach, but if the general manager/director of football doesn't provide you with good players, you're sunk.

Anyway, hope things work out. People of Buffalo looking to win their 1st Stanley Cup (did have a fantastic team in the 70s)


underweststand added 19:48 - May 18
Krueger's "corporate-speak" is ideal for ambitious people want succeess - and it works, but for those who think any type of "pep-talk" (No - not Guardiola) is just so much B.S. then it won't ever "go home" to them. Certainly RK's vocabulary was more suited to the other side of the Atlantic AND in another sport, and it's quite understandable if the average football fan didn't buy into it.

I've been a Saints fan for 60 years ...but even I would admit that .,..compared to "the Top Six" billionaire clubs - we are "a small club", both economically, and for the size of our fan-base . I wasn't offended by his comment which was both realistic and logical.

Was his appointment a good one ? hindsight - perhaps not, but having finally got rid of Nicola Cortese ...Katarina Liebherr looked for someone who had a good international reputation for leadership. We should also remember that Kreuger was also involved in recruiting Ronald Koeman in as manager ...but his parting shot was surely having that German-language conversation with Hasenhuttl, and getting him to sign and for that we have to say - it was worth the effort - even if he clearly wasn't ... a "football man".

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