21 Jan 2019 19:53:28
I really enjoy the transparency and clarity that Ralph employs with the media. A real change from CP and MP2. And I also applaud his pragmatism around potential departures. Shows respect but also effectively says "if you don't feel you fit there's the door" A lesson for Ralph Kruger.

There's a guy who speaks English as a second language who's far clearer than you. So Mr Kruger, please ditch the corporate vague waffle and give a clear message regarding the strategic direction of the club. I have no idea what that is at the moment and I guess I'm not alone.

1.) 22 Jan 2019
22 Jan 2019 07:39:35
I understand the strategic aims of the club. We're a football club, they aren't complicated, and they're the same as they were a few years ago.

Not really sure what your point is here. RK rarely addresses media that I know of, and I wouldn't expect him to do so more often. It seems some people are still looking for people to have a go at even when times are better.

2.) 22 Jan 2019
22 Jan 2019 13:12:03
I appreciate that he can come over a little like a politician/ business manager with his deliberate speech and vocabulary, but in the main I think RK is not only more engaging than previous people who have held his position, but open and honest with the fans as well. He has been clear about the club’s strategy and his views on this were aired once more last Friday in the fan forum. Video’s on the Saints website if you missed it.

I agree with 123 that there does appear to remain a lingering animosity towards the management of the club over the last few seasons. At a low ebb and with the club drifting it is justified, but not now. Also, at each stage of our struggles, the club was not passive. New managers were appointed, new players signed, a new transfer strategy adopted where we refused to sell our best players. When it became clear that changing managers, hanging on to sulking players and the new signings made were not having the desired effect, the board looked deeper beneath the surface and they lost faith in Les Reed’s ability to head up the football operations side. He was relieved of his post.

Last summer, RK admitted the club had lost direction in straying from the Southampton Way and he had faith that a return to that strategy would see the club right. He and the rest of the board should be praised for not only accepting responsibility but finding the most effective way to implement the strategy they believe will turn things around. This objectivity is crucial to progress. We now see that being implemented with the appointment of a head coach who fits perfectly with the strategy of developing players and coaching them to be better, as opposed to the old-fashioned view of trying to buy success. That is why we showed signs of progression and success under Pochettino. Many fans rate Koeman but whilst the team continued to perform for him, I would say that he was the first managerial appointment that started to lean towards more expensive, developed signings for the first team rather than relying on coaching improvements from the players he already had.

RH is working closely with Ross Wilson (RW) acting as head of recruitment to develop a shortlist of players in every position that fit the mould of the team RH is building. Young, hungry, high level of fitness. These are now the key attributes as technical attributes can be developed through the first class coaching that RH delivers. The players are loving being coached for the first time in a long time and it is showing on the pitch already. We are still far from the team RH would be happy with but look at the turnaround we’ve already seen in performance and points. Ignore all the paper talk linking us with the likes of Gary Cahill and any developed players at their peak. Cost aside, its not likely to be the sort of player RH wants. The links to younger players at the likes of Leeds and Brentford are more likely and trust RW and RH will do their homework thoroughly and only sign the players they believe fit the bill. They are looking for players for the future. Long term.

RK was also very honest last Friday when asked whether the club had developed a new 5 year plan. He stated that the focus at the moment is on survival in the Premier League for this season. Once that is achieved, over the summer the board are more likely to sit down and consider the long term position, underlining there is nothing concrete at the moment. But that doesn’t mean there is no strategy. The appointment of RH is a clear indication of what the club sees not only as a way of stabilising but developing and progressing. It’s a statement of long-term strategy and ambition.
The Southampton Way may be considered vague at best, or rhetoric at worst so if it’s the way RK speaks that irks you, I would urge you to look at the club’s actions in response to the adversity we have faced over the last few seasons. Past decision have perhaps been short-sighted and wrong with hindsight, but this new appointment and the restructuring behind the scenes indicates the club are looking forward. Publicly, RK says the club is looking at ‘the now’ and survival this season but the appointment of RH speaks so much more about the club’s desire to return to success, stability and progress that we enjoyed in the past in the long term. It is not a short term appointment but an act of reviving the strategy under Pochettino that worked so well. RK is clearly as excited about the team under RH as we all are, but he’s likely tempering his view to a short term one at the moment, simply because he’s had his fingers burned by a number of past decisions. But they were made without the insight the club has now achieved and will hopefully not forget again.

My issue over the last three seasons with the club was the loss of the Southampton Way as a long-term strategy, evidenced by a series of poor decisions that were ill-judged and seemed only to serve the short-term objective of survival. But I’m now more than satisfied with the club’s revival of its long-term strategy following the appointment of RH and the statement it makes. I’m now more than prepared to give the board the benefit of the doubt that they’ve learned from past mistakes and they won’t be repeated in a hurry.

There’s little point as fans in dwelling on the past and tempering our excitement about having a good manager and an improving team, just in case things fall apart again. The success and failure of teams is cyclical and there will be highs and lows along the way so we should just enjoy the good times while they are here. I for one am more confident now that should the bad times return, the club has learned lessons and will be more equipped to deal with them.

3.) 22 Jan 2019
22 Jan 2019 13:51:48
Agree with much of what you say, but if it takes last season and the start of this season for RK to appreciate the club had lost its way then he really should have gone to an optician.

That sort of insight gets clubs relegated.

4.) 22 Jan 2019
22 Jan 2019 17:30:04
Hi figo,

I have recently posted a post stating very much that our way forward is back to the Southampton way concentrating on youth development and looking at younger players from lower leagues and I appreciate RK is now being more open and looking to survival this season and look more closely at the squad in the summer. I also accept what St Martin is saying and let's face it we missed relegation by the skin of our teeth 2017-2018.I myself was in contact with the club in Oct 2017 criticising MP and saints playing style, too slow and ponderous and too many passes going backwards or sideways. I totally support RH and in such a short time what he has achieved is miraculous but RK has earned a huge salary, squandered tens of millions of £s and he was overseeing Les Reed so he cannot distance himself totally from the blame and let's face it confirms he might know ice hockey but knows Jack about soccer. i just hope we can hold onto RH for a decent time ie 4-5 seasons where we can instigate a long term viable, considered policy rather than knee jerk reactionary buys which have proved to be an abject failure. Anyway onwards and upwards. coyr.

5.) 22 Jan 2019
22 Jan 2019 17:38:57
I also agree with most of what you say Figo. I also agree with Saint Martin re. RK. He should have seen what was happening to us a long time before he actually started to address the situation. We as fans could see the problems long ago. The Southampton way seemed to be put on the back burner for a while but hopefully RK has now realised the error of his ways and can get us back on course. I feel that RH can really take us back to where we were under Poch if the board are brave enough to back him.

6.) 22 Jan 2019
22 Jan 2019 18:44:18
The point is that when a problem arises, its not always clear what the solution is. As fans, our first view is that the players aren’t good enough. Then we blame the manager. Then we blame the board. We expect people to lose their place in their team or their job and then, that everything will miraculously be better. RK knew there was a problem 2 seasons ago which is why he sacked CP, then MP2, then MH. Its disingenuous to say he took to long to see a problem. The club actively tried to right the ship.

Plus, the club acted appropriately in bringing in new players and selling the sulking VVD. They changed managers. They did everything we expected of them to. But ultimately, the wrong people were brought in and this didn’t address the fundamental problem at the club. The board is reliant on the footballing expertise of the person appointed to head up football operations as the board are commonly business people, not football experts. The failure of those appointments rests predominantly with LR and he lost his job in the end too.

You can claim to be some sort of clairvoyant but there were very few people posting on this website who had any genuine understanding of the depth of the problem at the club and how to fix it. Yes we were playing turgid football but last season many people were bemoaning the sacking of Claude Puel, despite him overseeing the start of the slump. Leicester’s record shows you that it wasn’t the players here but the Manager. Just as often, the players are castigated by people posting on this forum as they’re labelled lazy, not good enough, not passionate enough. RH’s appointment has now changed opinion. Also, there were many who posted on here who were delighted with the long term appointment of Mark Hughes over the summer. Now, those same people are jumping on RK’s back and having a go when ultimately they were, at best, just as clueless.

Its so easy with the benefit of hindsight now to say it was obvious that sacking Les Reed, restructuring the recruitment arm and bringing in a top quality COACH was the solution, but be honest and reply to this post in the affirmative if that was the collective solution you were insisting on 2 seasons ago. It was my thought just before MP2 was sacked last season which remained with me over the summer but I didn’t appreciate the depth of the problem before then. If any of you did, you didn’t say so on here. But RK found the problem and solution whether by diligence or luck and he should be praised for it. If he is to receive critical letters from fans in the dark days, perhaps he should receive congratulatory ones when we do well. let's wait and see how the club does for the rest of season. We don’t need to be angry or critical anymore.

7.) 23 Jan 2019
23 Jan 2019 10:16:57
I think it's difficult as football fans because we'll always be on the outside looking in. We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, we don't know how many times the board meets with the manager, we don't know who we're scouting at the moment. We can only make our judgements based on what happens during a period of 90 minutes on a Saturday. And the thought progression of a football fan that you speak of Figo is correct if a player has a bad game then their not good enough, if the team has a string of bad games then it's the managers fault. If players are signed and not good enough and new managers come in and out of the club and we still see bad results then it's the boards.

I think the last 4 appointments seem logical, CP had a brilliant record in France and his CV was probably better than RK's and MP's. Yet he wasn't good enough. I'd pinpoint the downfall of CP down to selling Jose Fonte, as when we sold him, we lost a very good experienced defender and a lead. MP2 had a decent season before signing to the Saints and MH was signed because we needed a short term solution at the time to remain in the PL. Why we gave him a full time contract, we'll never know. Maybe because the board felt his achievements deemed some sort of loyalty to him or whether the board were too lazy to search for a manager.

RH already looks like a top man, and manager. He's very transparent, I feel like we'll always know the situation with the club with him in charge. He is addressing our problems head on, on Saturday I saw a fast flowing attacking football, not sideways passing and because of this we are scoring more goals and creating even better chances. This style of football will get us results and relies less on an indivduals performance. I feel that the Southampton Way had been lost a long time ago. Making the money that we have done from player sales has allowed us to really splash the cash, even though it doesn't seem like it and because of that we've signed inadiquate players, who get the matchday pick ahead of some of our youth players. RH will help reinstall this way as Figo has stated as he wants to bring in young players that will suit his style.

The only long term issue is that is RH builds a quality young squad who are hammered to play his style of football and then switches clubs, we will be left in the same postition as we were 2 seasons ago. Ultimately I think the problem with the previous appointments has been that they do that have a brand of football and have not been clear with what they want from the squad. Whereas RH wants to play the pressing game and that is all that he is focused on achieving.

8.) 23 Jan 2019
23 Jan 2019 18:36:52
If or when RH moves on surely we should be looking for a manager that likes to play a similar style of football or even stipulate during interviews that they will be expected to carry on playing in a similar style. The problem with changing managers as often as we have recently is that each manager comes in with their own way of setting up their team and playing or in the case of MH no idea at all. This obviously makes it difficult for some players as we all saw with JWP who played well under Poch but then didn't fit under the next 3 managers but is now playing really well again.