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Saints Facing Three Week Break
by SanMarco at 23:30:28

Our best performance of the season came three days after 120 mins vs Derby and A1079 rightly points out that long breaks don't seem to help us.

Watford are just the sort of side we should be getting results against - better than us, true, but nothing much to play for. Our record against the three we hope will be relegated is rubbish so we need to win elsewhere.
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by SanMarco at 23:24:47

ah - but is 'next level' a higher level? Doesn't seem so does it? As far as I am concerned the same level as last year - 17th and stay up will do me. We can hardly expect more with our defence. I don't know about Gao but for me Ralph staying for a while and building his own de-Les Reedified squad would be the key objective.

As for Jack Stephens - isn't the main problem that he isn't very good? No amount of mentions or non-mentions in Nick's articles will make a blind bit of difference to that.

I expect the Cortese brigade will eventually read the bit about their man too....
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by bstokesaint at 19:37:08

Spot on Highfield. That is indeed what we were promised. Glad someone remembered the board’s quote at the time. I don’t need reassurance through meaningless statements, but need to see something in the transfer market that represents that “next level” because all we’re witnessing, if anything, is a move backwards whilst other clubs around spend to bolster their squads in an effort to avoid the drop. Actions speak louder than words.
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Saints Facing Three Week Break
by Webbinho at 17:15:37

They can't bring the game forward due to the stupid FIFA rules stating that no PL games can be played when CL games are on unless absolutely necessary. Then they go and spread the CL last 16 over 4 weeks ...
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Saints Facing Three Week Break
by A1079 at 16:50:02

Agree NewburySaint. Being this close to a chance to get to Wembley and with little or no chance of being in the top 7 or 8, Watford will surely want to go for it in the cup now. I would prefer to play them in the mid-week leading upto their weekend quarter final.
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Saints Facing Three Week Break
by NewburySaint at 15:59:12

Saints should do everything to push for this game to be brought forward to the midweek after Spurs home because Watford would surely have 1 eye on their Q/Final which would surely help us-3 weeks with no game at this stage of the season is too long.
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Hoedt Explains Why He Had To Go !
by underweststand at 14:55:33

One wonders why Hoedt left Lazio in the first place. Although a player with his physical form may have looked good in a fair/good side, and Lazio made the best deal they could by selling him. Saints were desperate to buy a commanding figure at the back having lost Fonte and VvD within a year of each other, but he fell badly short of the challenge.

He was typical of foreign imports in failing to adjust to the pace in the Prem. and any good play he did make was outweighed by those often fateful situations that led to key opposition (sometimes match-winning) goals.

As record signing it was difficult to drop him from a backline where everyone else blundered from time to time. My own impression was of someone with "an attitude" and a surplus of confidence in his own ability and who failed to learn from even the most basíc errors he made.

In time, we may see the likes of Boufal and Carrillo getting a "second chance" to try and adjust to "Ralph's strategy", I doubt if Hoedt will be given the same opportunity.

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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by highfield49 at 14:42:38

Despite all of the speculation about Mr Gao the essential aspect that I don't understand is, as I recall anyway, that he was supposed to be taking the club to the "next level" or something similar. I presumed that the next level was going to be somewhat different to our current experience but I have to accept that the plan was probably ambitious. I suspect that Mr Gao is also a better poker player than me because my nerves are already shredding before the next cards are dealt.
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by Colburn at 14:11:43

BStoke saint.. no I’m not, clearly. Just don’t see why Nick ruins a good article, which I agree with in respect of the echo causing insecurity among the fans, by continuing his recent assault on one particular player when the article has nothing to do with him.. just looks like Nick can’t leave him be.. is that going to help anyone? It’s one thing to be critical of players because of poor effort or attitude and fair to give an opinion that you think a player is not good enough, we all do that, fair enough, but to keep having a go at one player, particularly in 2 recent articles based on off the pitch topics, I.e. players gone and local paper misrepresenting chairman, seems like a cheap shot to me and not helpful to anyone! If we trust in Ralph then why keep questioning his decisions on centre backs. Are these digs at Jack, out of place, going to help him to iron out any mistakes..? You can learn to cut out mistakes especially as a young player and Jack is still young for a CB. He has the skills so he needs to be given time. These defensive mistakes happen at the big teams too but they score more at the other end.. sorry but for me a good article was ruined by a cheap shot..
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by underweststand at 14:06:43

All this talk about "re-assurance" from Mr.Gao" ? .Re-assurance about "what" - exactly?.

Ralph K gave a good presentation (at the fans on-line meeting), but even that doesn't seem to satisfy some. Mr.Gao has the wherewithal to fly from China to regularly watch Saints games - but must he issue a statement every time he visits SMS?... and will fans be re-assured by what is most-likely his.... less than perfect English.

Gao surely satisfied himself of the credibility of those on the Board before he took over the club, and unless he's become disatisfied with the way the club has been run (aside from the results on the pitch) then why should he need to make a new statement every month ..week..and issue out packs of nappies for those people who continually doubt.

Those with short-er memories might recall that during his 5 year reign as Dictator at SMS ...Nicola Cortese made VERY few public statements and passed that honour over to others - even though he was more than capable of giving a meaningful statement.

To me - this is all "Fake News" conjured up by a lazy Press corps. with little else of real consequence to write about and looking to sensationalise meaningless "small talk" and unsettle players and fans alike.

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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by halftimeorange at 13:44:15

Most people I know treat anything the Echo reports with contempt. I do wonder whether Gao has made a shrewd move in divesting himself of some of his holdings before the Chinese economy disintegrates, as is widely forecast. If that happens it will make the Greek financial mess of a couple of years back look like a game of Monopoly. We will then learn whether investing in Saints was merely a way of spreading Mr Gao's risk.
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Saints Facing Three Week Break
by underweststand at 13:42:05

3 week lay-off....good news or bad news?......depends how you see it .

It'll be 3 weeks longer for Danny Ings to get fit and for Bertrand to improve his fitness.
More time to look at tactics, videos and a fully-fit squad raring to get back to playing.
Our opponents on the other hand will have cup games games to play.. and perhaps even more chances of injuries and fatigue playing an important role..

At a time of the season when some teams start to suffer from having played 35-40 games hopefully our mid-season "pre-season " will give us the edge in the remaining games.

Not overly concerned.
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by bstokesaint at 13:22:57

Colburn, what are you talking about? Are you Jack Stephens in disguise?
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by bstokesaint at 13:20:52

The FA recently declared that more needed to be done to investigate some of the foreign owners in the Premiership. They actually used Gao as an example. And you can see why when he’s previously been investigated on fraud charges. All I’ll say is that he certainly lacks the credibility that Markus had and I won’t be leaping his defence until I’ve seen something on the contrary. As a club we’ve been through to much to go back into financial turmoil. We all know from publicly available information that Lander have very little cash to invest, which was an immediate red flag.
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by bstokesaint at 13:20:52

The FA recently declared that more needed to be done to investigate some of the foreign owners in the Premiership. They actually used Gao as an example. And you can see why when he’s previously been investigated on fraud charges. All I’ll say is that he certainly lacks the credibility that Markus had and I won’t be leaping his defence until I’ve seen something on the contrary. As a club we’ve been through to much to go back into financial turmoil. We all know from publicly available information that Lander have very little cash to invest, which was an immediate red flag.
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by Colburn at 13:17:34

Do you have a personal agenda with Jack Stephens? Another article which has nothing to do with the players and yet again you have a dig at one current player, again it’s Jack. This is becoming pathetic Nick. It’s a shame because you call for unity from fans at times we need to stick together, like now, yet you single out a player during two articles this week to hammer when those articles are about something completely different. We all make our comments about players but you clearly feel the need to keep hitting out at Jack in odd places. You’re beginning to look like a coward!
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Saints Facing Three Week Break
by halftimeorange at 13:06:44

To be honest, I think Ralph's post match reaction to the Cardiff result indicated that he now thinks he's taken this group of players as far as they can go. In film parlance Escape To Victory is showing signs of becoming Mission Impossible. The frailties in defence have been well-documented by many subscribers to this site and the weaknesses in attack, partly due to injuries, partly due to lack of height and speed and inexperience are plain for all to see. We bought Charlie on the cheap and, apart from a few flashes, it really hasn't paid off. Is Danny worth a similar risk? Does anyone remember our then record signing, David Hirst? Injuries plagued him, too and finished his career. We now again hear the cry promoting the academy as we did in the Poortvliet/Wotte era. It didn't work then and it might not work now. Using the film analogy, watching Saints is rather like Groundhog Day. I just hope the spare time is spent on improving our awful passing and encouraging the players to shoot when they have an opportunity, rather than look to pass to someone else. We won't score more goals than we concede if we don't test the opposing goalkeeper, something we rarely see from our team.
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Gao Sells Controlling Interest In Lander Sports ! What Does It Mean To Saints !
by Ripleys_revenge at 13:02:14

Nick, a well written article although the continued silence from the owner certainly does not help alleviate supporters concerns. A short statement of intent would be more than sufficient for most fans. As it is, fans are left with more questions than answers as every piece of communication comes through Krueger, a man who can be very hard to make any sense out of - he often directly contradicts himself whenever he speaks publicly, and the corporate waffle simply arouses suspicion in the eyes of supporters who are rightly wary of being taken for a ride.

I'm not too concerned about Gao selling his shares, but I feel everyone would benefit if he put out a 30 second statement to reassure fans. That doesn't take much, and with the club continuing to flirt with relegation and continuing to sell without reinvesting would be very welcome from most supporters.
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Saints Facing Three Week Break
by A1079 at 12:59:59

The last lay off where we did not have a game at a weekend did not help us. We picked up 2 points out of a possible 9. Prior to the lay off we had a bit of momentum. To be honest, I am not sure what would help us. At least they cannot complain about having too many games this year. Our ineptness in various competitions put paid to that, but it has not exactly helped us in the league, so the argument that cup competitions get in the way, does not fit with us.

In reality, we should be fit and ready and able to cope whenever we play, and it comes down to attitude, ability and scoring when we have the opportunities and avoid stupid needless errors and making the right decisions and anticipating what is going on during a game. Get all of that right and we'll be fine! Simples!!!!
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