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Ralph Hasenhuttl On Aston Villa And Norwich Radar But Why Would He Go To Either !
Tuesday, 9th Nov 2021 10:29

According to the latest media reports Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is in big demand being on the short list of both Aston Villa & Norwich City for their managerial vacancies, but why would the Austrian want to go to either.

As Ralph Hasenhuttl approaches the 3rd anniversary of his appointment as Saints manager, his stock has never been higher, seemingly both Aston Villa and Norwich City are considering approaching him to be their manager.

I would firstly say that none of these rumours have come directly from the club's themselves, only from "sources close" to them, that is not to say that they aren't interested in Ralph, but it is quite common to use media rumour to deflect from real targets as well as try to make out that the club in question has a lot of applicants.

Newcastle did just this, they allowed Eddie Howe to be named as the front runner for their job, but as everyone looked at Howe they were trying to poach Unai Emery from Villareal, when the Spaniard turned them down, they had to backtrack a little and appoint Howe.

A little over a month ago the usual trolls on social media were demanding the sacking of Ralph Hasenhuttl, not satisfied with the job he had done they vented their fury and asked how could a man who had suffered two big defeats in the past two years still be at the club.

They took little notice of what he had been doing behind the scenes and the fact that he had now assembled a larger squad and one with a little more quality than before escaped their notice, luckily those dissatisfied with Ralph were in the minority and at the actual matches themselves there was no dissent from the crowd against the manager.

But it seems that there were people taking notice of what Hasenhuttl was achieving at St Mary's, firstly the Saints board themselves who were firmly behind their manager, in echoes of the Saints board of the 1970's who backed Ted Bates despite an 8-0 defeat at Everton and the infamous 7-0 at Leeds United both in 1971/72.

Likewise after Lawrie McMenemy took over from Bates in 1973, he endured a torrid time, no social media back then, but the Geordie had to endure the walk along the Dell touchline to the bench and he got a lot of abuse.

But the board held strong on both occasions and saw what was trying to be achieved at the club, if they had listened to the fickle element of the fans then we would not have won the FA Cup in 1976, McMenemy started that season as perhaps the most hated man in Southampton and ended it as a hero.

Now Martin Semmens and his men kept their nerve not only during the second half of last season where they saw that the problem was the lack of depth in the squad that meant we couldn't cope with unprecedented multiple injuries, something that they and the manager worked hard at fixing in the summer.

Sadly for us a lot of other people are taking notice and it seems that two of them are Aston Villa and Norwich City, but why would Ralph want to jump ship from St Mary's ?

Well one reason might be if he reads social media, I wouldn't want to stay somewhere where a sizeable minority online are constantly calling me all the names under the sun and demanding my sacking, managers have to be thick skinned, lets hope Ralph Hasenhuttl is.

But I find it hard to see other than that why he would want to leave Saints for either club, Aston Villa are a poisoned chalice, their record in the past 10 years has been mediocre, in the last 10 years they have spent 3 years in the Championship and in the 7 years in the Premier League, last seasons 11th was the only time they finished above 15th.

In that time Dean Smith was their 8th manager and he had brought them some stability, he had lost his best player and signed one of the top English strikers in the Premier League and he had started the season ok, but 5 defeats in a row was not good enough for the Villa board who have a short term outlook on everything it seems.

They took no notice that Smith had injury and suspension issues himself, that before Saints he had played Spurs who despite a poor season were still in the top 10, a resurgent Wolves and Arsenal and then in his penultimate game the team of the moment West Ham.

The Villa hierarchy went into panic mode and sacked a man who had led them out of the wilderness of the Championship, secured their survival in their first season back in the top flight and then last season achieved their highest league position since 2011.

Our board are far from perfect, but they are working under tight financial restrictions and don't make knee jerk decisions and for that we should be grateful.

So why would Ralph want to go to Aston Villa a club who demand instant success and when they don't get it sack the manager, the list of Villa bosses in the last 10 years makes interesting reading.

Norwich City in for Ralph Hasenhuttl is a shock, in many respects Norwich are like Saints and in the past have enjoyed relative success, they plough a similar path to us in having to wash their own face financially, but although in many respects they are a similar club, with due respect to them they do not have our foundations, stability or resources, indeed they do not have our catchment area or potential to grow, neither us will ever be Manchester United or Liverpool or for that matter Chelsea, but Saints have a better chance of becoming Leicester.

So why would Ralph want to go there ? It would be a backward step and their chances of escaping the drop this season are not great.

So the reason why Ralph would turn down either is different, but ultimately should add up to the same and that is carry on at Saints and slowly but surely build the club up to be a stable Premier League club, let us not have any illusions, each year the clubs at the top get richer, it is now a Big Four, Spurs and Arsenal have been dropped off their tails, but there are over clubs who covet the top six but in reality if you can't match the Big Four then don't talk about the Champions League, but if you are not in that they Big Four will pull away from you even further.

The emergence of potentially Newcastle and West Ham will make a top 10 spot even harder.

What Saints need is the stability and long term building that Ralph Hasenhuttl has brought to the club, we will have good seasons, that ultimately will see top players leave, but we are building in replacements before they go, I would not swap Saints for either Villa or Norwich.

Some will say I'm doing great PR for the club, not at all I just give my opinion about the job Ralph Hasenhuttl has done over the past 3 years and he has taken us from a club who were in the bottom 4 up the League and into a period of stability rarely enjoyed in the top flight since 1989/90, he is the longest serving manager for a reason and that is he is doing the job well.

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landsdownsaint added 11:27 - Nov 9
What we have got in our favour regards keeping hold of ralph for the time being is he appears to have total control of football side of things something I’d doubt he’d get at villa , I do get the impression he likes that

pwithers123 added 12:02 - Nov 9
Good article. We need to keep Hassenhutl. He has done an incredible job with minimal resources - and the team is good to watch and try hard to play passing football - although nerve wracking. He deserves full support. So different from the long list of prior guys. Ralph is the best we had since Pochettino.

He would be mad to leave for those two clubs and we will regret his departure. However, big money talks. Aston Villa have some folks with large pockets as Ings attests

wrathoftazz added 12:04 - Nov 9
Lmao... this post was hilarious. The pandering and bending over is just so cute.

andywelsh added 12:30 - Nov 9
The other reason I think Hassenhuttl will stay is that he has an immense respect and gratitude to the club that they stuck by him after those heavy defeats and backed him, rather than do the easy thing and sack him and not hold the players to account. He now has a team of players that he has been involved with bringing in and has rewritten and restructured the coaching practice at the club. Those who criticise him were having a field day a few weeks ago when all three teams were struggling badly, but the fortunes of the first team have been mirrored by the U23s and the U18s. I cannot think of any manager in our price range that I would prefer to have and it is interesting that those who would like him sacked are just as vociferous in their condemnation of potential replacements when they are mentioned.

underweststand added 12:34 - Nov 9
When you use the word... "media" (NIck) we ought to try and distinguish between the reputable mainstream sources and the "troublemakers " who create a storyline and then print it as fact, when it is really " Fake News", and it goes along with those people who try to match players with clubs where there is no interest at all.

If there is any genuine truth in this I... I would be VERY surprised, or should we expect to wait for the Norwich match (21st Nov.) and see Ralph sitting in the home dugout at Carrow Road , or Villa Park?.

wrathoftazz added 12:47 - Nov 9
The point is (besides the so called author calling all those who disagree with the Ralph love "trolls") Saints have only WON 7 games since December. A run of a couple of wins, DOES NOT imply a turnaround.

Fans who want/wanted him sacked are not trolls or maybe not the minority (again, unlike the author, I haven't conducted a survey or how would he know a minority, unless, umm, shock horror, it doesn't fit his agenda) they are supporters who see the form, stats and horror stories and feel a change is needed. 3 years and no progress (regardless of how much people say he's don't a great job) he hasn't won anything, he is not getting us up higher etc etc. So what exactly has he done?

The subs, teams sheets and various other choices are questioned by pundits, former managers and fans alike (you know pundits, the professionals without agendas) and when we lose because of dodgy decisions, the role is bound to be questioned.

All those that love him but want Gao out... hypocrisy at its best.

WestSussexSaint added 12:58 - Nov 9
The only reason to leave will be the expectation that the catering at Norwich will probably better!

PaleRider added 13:13 - Nov 9
Tazz - why are people who want to keep Ralph but not Gao hypocrites?

Colburn added 13:42 - Nov 9
Yawn yawn yawn. Another pile of rubbish in the 'media' giving Nick an opportunity to attack fans who don't agree with him. Typically spineless to accuse people of abuse and being trolls after a run of 4 wins in 28 has deeply concerned many, probably the majority from all of the people I talk about Ralph. Again, you are unable to back up your phrase of a knee jerk reaction with facts.. If you really believe that 4 wins in 28 constitutes a knee jerk reaction then again, show me a club who would have stuck with a dropping team with a manager who had been there for 3 years.. Utterly pathetic. As is the assumption that we have turned a corner when all we have done is scraped three 1-0 wins against very poor teams and we still nearly managed to mess them up.
If all this is a knee jerk reaction then how about your constant attacks on Jack Stephens which has recently been poorly veiled and now in my opinion constitutes as abuse because of the volume and frequency of the articles you write about him..
Quite simply, because that's how you need to hear it, you are seriously lacking in intelligence, balance and the ability to give accurate detail (like naming people correctly) to consider this site as journalism or even a fanzine. You can't even be bothered to use a spell check. This is merely your own output to try to influence the opinion of others with lame content and little to back up your claims and accusations..
You are hypocritical and come across as a pretty sad individual, attacking Stephens all the time and accusing others of abuse, short sightedness and knee jerk reactions.
In my opinion, there should be another person and another site linked to the fans forum sites, you have just become a joke hiding behind the tiny bit of power you have. I'm sure we will beat Norwich as they are terrible and I doubt Ralph will make a decision on his future based on comments on sites like this... Seriously?
Jack Stephens rocks, you don't...

Colburn added 13:48 - Nov 9
And stop trolling Jack Stephens please Nick, it's very short sighted and one or two mistakes is not sufficient to see him out.. That's a knee jerk reaction...

WestSussexSaint added 13:57 - Nov 9
Colburn, if you don’t like this site then do everyone a favour and go and do what you suggest and set up your own one. There are plenty of so called forums which resort to petty jibes and personal insults so hopefully you will find what you are looking for. I disagree with plenty of Nicks views as do many of the posts that I read on this site but we can have a healthy debate without personal attacks.

SaintNick added 14:45 - Nov 9
Colburn: I havent attacked fans who dont agree with me, I have attacked a small minority who scream for change after a few defeats and then change their minds after a few wins, show you a club who would have stuck with a dropping manager ? there are plenty, Saints themselves with Lawrie McMenemy back in 1973, with Chris Nicholl , perhaps in the modern game there aren't many, but then again Saints under Hasenhuttl are hardly dropping are they, they were in the bottom 3 when he arrived and finished 16th in his first season, in his second season we finished 11th which was punching above our weight, last season we topped the table for the first time in 32 years and had a lot of injuries but still finished 15th and are 13th as we speak, where would you expect us to be given our resources ?

With regard to Jack Stephens I give an honest opinion of where I see his role in, on one hand you complain about Hasenhuttl taking us downwards, but can't see the correlation between the standards we had back in 2016 under Koeman in the centre of the defence and whom we have had since,

"Tiny bit of power I have" what's that meant to mean, I have no power I just write about my opinions, you want to write about yours i am quite happy to print them on here under your name or any name you care to use, if you want to write about how bad Ralph is or how great Jack Stephens is or whatever you want then here is your chance !

Colburn there is no need to resort to personal attacks, put your point forward and ill listen to it, Jack Stephens indeed does rock and you are right i don't that of course settles the argument

Colburn added 15:16 - Nov 9
Nick, we already knew your opinion on Jack a long time ago and yet persist with the same thing even weeks after he's been out of the side. This article is merely coming across at a dig at those who feel or felt Ralph's time is up. I was one of those and still unsure but I am happy to change my opinion and admit I was wrong if certain repeated past errors disappear from his management. Either way, it isn't balanced to accuse others of knee jerk reactions or short sightedness just because you don't agree. Neither McMenemy nor Nicholl went on a run of 4 wins in 28 to my memory and Lawries nightmare was at the start.. We are now three years in with Ralph and we have been going backwards or dropping this calendar year until the last month, certainly in performances and results. I also appreciate that Ralph has had little to work with at times but has also played players out of form while others sat on the bench champing at the bit.
I think, as I imagine most Saints fans do, that Ralph is a lovely guy, great soul and easy to warm to, however after the run he had I believe it was very fair for fans to want to see a change and my issue is your suggestion of blindness within these opinions, which is insulting and inflammatory. Hence you get full barrels back at you.. If you had stated that you didn't agree, and outlined your reasons why then fine, but you resort to calling people trolls, short sighted, etc etc. This helps no level headed debate, but fuels anger and resentment. So I am not one of those calling for Ralph's head as things are after some recent improvements in results but also feel the need to point out the dialogue you use in describing the thoughts of those you disagree with is not reflective of the truth, facts or stats and creates more disharmony.. Opinions are one thing, start suggesting a lack of sense in others and you'll get it back twofold.. And yes, your public commentary on Stephens has come across as somewhat obsessive, but there we are.. Just how it looks to me. All the best Nick.

Peterx added 16:02 - Nov 9
RH positives in my opinion, enthusiasm, good coaching, does have the ability to realise his mistakes and learn.

Negatives, he wanted a small squad - that did not work - he learned, timing of subs was to late probably because of the small squad - he learned, no plan B - now we seem to have - he learned.

He is not perfect, but then who is.

But being top of the league for a day or so was when of the best days I've had in a while.

saintmark1976 added 16:12 - Nov 9
Nick and Colburn, it strikes me that you both need to be reminded of that old expression “ Come along children, play nicely”.

Ali_Diarea added 20:05 - Nov 9
The irony of course is that, had Gao had the resources to fire Hassenhutl then he would also have had the resources to give him a bigger transfer kitty to invest in the quality of the first team.

People are quick to remind us of the two nine nils, but let’s not forgot that we had our biggest ever away win this season…

ItchenNorth added 20:27 - Nov 9
On limited resources (by Premier League standards), I think Ralph has done a pretty darn good job on the whole.

We have to face facts. If a manager or player(s) punches above our/their weight, be it in league position for Saints (so lands top 8 for a couple of seasons in a row) or play out of their skin for an extended time; they'll be poached or bought in a flash by the bigger clubs.

That might sound defeatious but it's reality. But, it's a far better reality than 90% of all other league clubs in the country could wish for. What we should hope for is stability in the (top) league and a cup win (or two). Then a manager and players can go to the bigger clubs if they see fit. I think the business model at Saints is pretty solid tbh. Yes, we all want a larger transfer budget and wage structure, but players like Livramento (VVD, Mane, Shaw, Bale etc.) are destin for bigger things as they pass through Saints, but as a club we can play a big part in that journey and hope we bag some silverware along the way.

We need stability at the manager position. Ralph has made mistakes along the way, but that doesn't mean the grass is always greener else where in that position. What we have seen is Ralph learning from his mistakes (even if that takes more than some want). When we have the right group of players, we can win a cup and I think Ralph can be that winning manager to go down in the history books for us.

SaintNick added 21:41 - Nov 9
Colburn, Lawrie Mcmenemy's last 29 games in his first season in charge ended with the 3-0 at Everton so his record was 5 out of 29 or up to that last game 4 out of 28. If you include the opening 6 games of the following season he had a record of 5 wins in 35 games.

In 1988/89 Chris Nicholl went 17 games without a win and then won 3 in the last 9 to make it 4 wins in 26.

The following season he led us to 7th after topping the league early in the season, comparisons with Hasenhuttl can be drawn here

So both had similar runs to Hasenhuttl, before I make statements I do check my stats, you seem to have some good opinions again I reiterate my offer to give you a platform to give an alternative view to my own on this website

ElijahK added 23:40 - Nov 9
Why are you being such a downer/plastic fan wrathoftazz? I mean all you’ve done over the last month or so is complain non stop, about a manger who’s managed to get us nearer to Europe than relegation, with minimal resources, has only had one abysmal result this season, yet has had many great results, and has managed to get us from one of the worst defences in the league to one of the best! I mean what does it take to shut up plastic fans like you and all your negativity? As yeah we may not have had the greatest of years, but for the investment we’ve gotten, any9ne who’s realistic would be pretty happy with how well this season has started, yet somehow you still complain!?…

beynali73 added 09:39 - Nov 10
Gents, we're all on the same side - we just have different opinions. Can we respect one another even when our opinions diverge widely. Nick runs the site so any percieved bias (and we all have biases) should be treated as his opinion and debated sensibly - even if you feel frustrated by his view.

This is the best Saints website around which is why we come here and vent/contriubute. The past few years have been difficult with the odd spot of sunshine here and there, so not surprising there are tensions between opinions.

I'm a fan of Ralph on balance (but its close at times) but he is lucky to still be in a job when results alone are averaged out over 3 years. If we had an active owner in place I think he would have been sacked last season. We have been lucky to have some very bad teams below us over the past few months and back in season 19/20 we were free falling and picking up injuries before Covid intervened - that two month break refreshed players and the coaching team made the most of the down time and our players were much fitter than the teams around them. 20/21 followed a simliar pattern as we freefell in the second half of the season and picked up loads of injuries but just did enough to stay up.

Like others I agree that talk of turning a corner is premature and that we have scraped past 3 very average teams and have lost at home to another average one - but we have held our own aginst the so called big clubs. There is a long way to go and there are green shoots of recovery but Ralph still makes me nervous in terms of team selections and sub choices/timings. Lets hope he is genuinely learning the lessons.

I mentioned the Lawrie Mac comparision several months ago too but that was a different era and a lot has changed in the game - including the regrtable role social media plays in the game.

As for Ralph being in demand - come off it - Norwich and Villa are interested. If Ralph was widely seen as the next big thing Man U and Spuds would be sniffing around. That they are not should put Ralph's current reputation in perspective.

Returning to my original point - we are all 'in this together' COYR - together as one as a top man used to say.

SaintNick added 10:12 - Nov 10
Of course there is a long way to go, the odd bad result means nothing along the way, it is about making progress and we are doing that, this time last year we were in the top four and all hailing Ralph, the problems last season werent about poor signings or poor tactics, they were purely about the lack of depth in the squad to cope with an unprecedented injury crisis as well as some poor VAR calls etc.

You sack managers when they are part of the problem, good CEO's look at crisis's when they happen and then look to see where the issue is and how its fixed.

We did that and saw what the problem was an dealt with it in the summer, now we are reaping the benefits.

Some still say we scraped 1-0 results against poor teams, what they failed to notice was the game management in those games, last season we would have poured forward and got caught on the break, this season we have stuck to a game plan, kept clean sheets and took chances when we could, Ralph has learned something about the Premier League in the last year,

Someone said if there was an active owner he would have been sacked, yes thats probably the case, but look at the active owners in the Premier league, the likes of Moshiri at Everton for instance, at Chelsea or at Spurs, they lurch from one managerial appointment to another isn't a good thing.

Active owners are a problem, they make knee jerk decisions based purely on a poor result or two, the good owners are the ones who keep their noses out of something they don't know and let professionals run things for them

SaintPaulVW added 10:48 - Nov 10
Lol Gao in!

underweststand added 08:48 - Nov 11
" There are lies, more lies ....and statistics " quote from Winston Churchill.
Much in football depends ....on form, injuries, bad luck and VAR and last season proved that from our brief " day at the top" in November upto the win over Liverpool everything was going well, then came the slide in form and cases of Covid cases and Danny Ings' injuries, and nothing went well.

Those of you above who are arguing "stats" need to remember that it's players on the pitch and bad refereeing decisions (with or without VAR) that decide most results, not frustrated managers on the sidelines.
Another quote to finish. " If we win, the fans say the team played well.... if we lose It's my fault because I picked the team " Lawrie McMenemy .


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