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Disappointing but not the end of the world.
at 23:07 18 Jan 2020

Today showed what we can do and how good we can be when we are focused and concentrate and get stuck in. On the whole our first half performance was satisfying but I did have that strange feeling that we would need a third goal. Once Wolves scored, I felt we were under threat and just knew in my heart of hearts that they would equalise and the momentum was with them. But before they got their second (which was a penalty in my view) we had chances to make it 3-1 and had we done that, I think we would have gone on and won. Redmond does alot of good work, but his conversion, final ball and finishing really does need to improve.

As good as we have been recently (and pretty solid), the 2nd half exposed our frailties again and that is a lesson to all, as I feared, a few good results does not suddenly mean everything is alright and it concerns me that the noises in the last week seem to suggest that we don't need to look any further. We were very loose at times in midfield and at the back in the 2nd half.

It will be important to get something at Palace, even if it is just a point as the next league game after that is of course, Liverpool away. But, Palace are a difficult side to break down, as even Man City discovered today.

Losing a 2 goal lead and conceding 3 in a 45 minute spell is never good, but as long as we use it to rid any potential complacency then it won't be a disaster. I have feared that as much as the Leicester result at home in October seemed to cajole the manager and team into action I have feared that there has been too much noise since our result away to Leicester leading to people thinking that everything is alright. I prefer us to go quietly about our business and only start shouting when we have achieved our goals.

Not the end of the world today, but still lots of work to do and a message to Ralph and the board - if you know there is someone out there that will help the squad, then don't try and risk getting across the line.

The Unsung Jewels in our team
at 22:56 11 Jan 2020

Quite rightly alot of emphasis is placed on the impact of Ings, but possibly what is more satisfying are the unsung jewels in our team that not so long ago were so devoid of confidence and belief and understandably were being criticised heavily. But, they have stuck with it, worked hard and have not given up. These are:-

Ward-Prowse - endless hard work. He may not be the perfect or greatest midfielder in the world and at one point this season he looked scared to be out on the pitch but he never gives up and plays his heart and soul for the club;
Armstrong - so often in the shadow but bided his time and come in and made such a difference;
Stephens and Bednarek - not so long ago, could not put a foot right and were facing endless criticism. Not saying they are the best in their trade but what they lack in skill they have made up for in pride, endeavour and sheer hard work.

Also, Che Adams - he is making a difference, so please don't loan him out. Playing in this team and in this league will eventually show it's rewards.

Hojberg has struggled this season but he has shown determination to keep going. He knows it is not his best season. I do think Redmond could be better. His final ball and conversion rate remains poor but, he will come out of it.
A very tight PL this year
at 12:43 2 Jan 2020

Putting aside the very top of the league and what now looks like a cast iron outcome for Liverpool, from 6th downwards it is very tight. In respect of ourselves, we are 5 points from 6th and 7th position and 5 points from Bournemouth in 18th. Only 10pts separate 6th to 18th. Obviously goal difference makes some difference.

Quite a few clubs have gone for the new manager bounce recently which may or may not work. I sense West Ham may pull away.

Everyone seems to be capable of picking up points and having good little runs but then equally then go on a bad run. Newcastle, not many weeks ago looked quite good but recent results have now made them look vulnerable again. Perhaps something we need to be mindful, especially with some of our fans seeming to think that we are as good as safe. What we have given ourselves some breathing space but 2 defeats and we could be sucked back in. We are relying heavily on Ings finding the net.

I still think we need a couple of players for January but whether what we need and looking for are out there and at a reasonable price is a moot point. One player I like the look of is Jaden Bowen at Hull City. Nigel Adkins recommended him to us last summer and he is still going strong this year. Quite a few clubs are now interested in him. May be not a primary target for us as he is a forward/midfielder and good performances in the championship are not a given for making it at this level but equally, I cannot see us spending on so called experienced established top players. A replacement for Cedric is obviously a target and a CB as I am not sure I want to rely on Vestergaard on filling any gaps.
Cannot ask for better than that!
at 16:56 26 Dec 2019

Absolutely sublime performance all round today. Cannot recall the last time I have said this, but a disciplined, mature team performance today throughout the team. Also haven't always been able to say it this season, but Ralph got it completely spot on today, We made it difficult and frustrated the opposition and then hurt them.
What a superb goal
at 16:32 26 Dec 2019

Simply sublime. Nothing more to say. Excellent team goal/
Is it good or bad management?
at 13:17 29 Nov 2019

I note that Ralph has made some comments in the media related to Obafemi, which could be interpreted in a number of ways (as they are unclear) and could be positive or negative, but the risk is, that by the player and wider they may be seen as the latter.

He may or may not be justified in his comments and he should know better than us, but as a manager myself of 55 persons, I have always questioned the wisdom of making comments public when related to an individual member of your team, particularly, if it can be seen as criticism. I think some football managers are prone to do this because they feel some obligation to say something and also to give the outward appearance of being "no nonsense" style managers. The risk is, it can backfire badly and not just with the individual in which you are aiming your comments.

It is not the first time Ralph has done this and I have not been sure of the approach in the past, where he has made his feelings of individuals public. Now, if a players has dissed the club or the manager publicly then, it is a different matter and the manager and the club PR may feel necessary to respond.

I am not suggesting that footballers are shrinking violets and should not be criticised and be pulled up for any performance deficiencies, but I do think there is a time to keep counsel and a time to be more open. I am not convinced Ralph has always got that balance right.

Just a personal opinion - I am sure there are many on here that would disagree with my view.
Emotion, passionate, fun, joy, agony
at 13:29 24 Nov 2019

Yesterday, all that was thrown in and reminded me, that is the reason I love football and why, by and large, I support the Saints.

The support by the fans - fantastic throughout. In fact, away from home at least, there is a sense of comaraderie and a coming together in the face of adversity. You sense that the ones that attend away games are the hard core, heart and soul of support. Whether in the PL or several divisions below, we'll be there. Few of us went expecting anything other than a wacking defeat, what we got and what we saw was a team who looked like they had been released from the toxicity, pain and disharmony of St Marys.

The draw felt like a defeat, but, I really could not complain. I saw goals, I saw determination, I saw attack, I saw pressing, I saw grit and yes, we saw the obligatory errors and if we are going down, then at least, lets go down playing like that.

The defence come in for weekly criticism, so for once, I am going to say, that this week we did not win because we only scored one goal from open play when we had 21 shots on goal! Quite why Cedric did not roll that ball along to be tapped in, only he will know (if you saw the Wolves game on MOTD you will see they had a similar situation and they scored from it). How little would that last gasp equaliser would have mattered had we converted more chances, which were gilt edged and had we not time wasted. When Bertrand was taking his time to take a throw when he was in our half and then got a booking, that would have saved a minute. True it is easy to say these things in hindsight, when equally have we have talked about game management and protecting what you have. You just knew though, we all knew, that when Djenepo missed that chance, Arsenal were going to equalise and so the script was written. I doubt, even with a stronger squad, we will have had a better chance to have beaten Arsenal in their own ground.

With that spirit and pressing and attacking sense we should really get something out of our next 2 games. I do fear though, that all that is going on at St Marys is playing on the minds of the players and the manager and when they are away, they feel released from the achilles that is being at home. Go out Saints and play like you did yesterday and try and forget the failings of our board and owner and do it for the fans, and we will respond.

But, and it is a big BUT, I really enjoyed the game, the football, the support and the afternoon and at the end of the day, having travelled down from York, it actually felt like money well spent, and I have not been able to say that too often recently.

Another week passes of.......
at 22:51 14 Nov 2019

inaction by the owners of the club.

Yes, Nick can write articles about the nasty fans and how the owner cannot be blamed for anything. But, following the debacle against Leicester City the luke warm iterations that came out about potential suitors for the DoF position and a shake up at coaching level etc have gone as cold as a bad crime thriller. But, to date, unless I have slept and missed it, we are today the same place we were a week ago and a week before that. I am not sure what rates as urgent in the boardroom of Saints but clearly they do not see the clubs demise as urgent.

The owners/board think we are stupid, that a little time has now passed since that horror of a result and the performance against Everton and that we will have put it aside, moved on, even forgotten about it.

There cannot be any doubt that these delays to fill and recruit for these posts is all part of a method to reduce the salary bill, keep costs down and see if we can get by. I am not close enough to know whether the club is in a serious financial situation, but they are acting as if they are - trying to survive on a shoestring.

The owner of this site often questions the commitment of the fans, but where is the real commitment of the owners to sort out the issues and Ralph may well ask, where is their commitment to help support him? Words are cheap, actions count. The silence from the owners and the board has been deafening and I have to say, the local media has been little better with lame articles and very little substance. We don't know what the owner or board real intentions are, or what they intend to do and even more importantly when, because they say nothing. They hide away, keep low and they seem detached and far removed from the club and out of arms length to facing the music.

[Post edited 14 Nov 2019 23:12]
Alot of work for the board to do in this mini-break
at 20:05 10 Nov 2019

Though I think relegation is all but a formality, the board need to work hard to remedy some of the issues during this mini-break. No more rumours about Saints being interested in this person or that person. The DoF, Ralph's right hand man (assuming Ralph is staying), Raidi's replacement all need to be resolved before our next home game. It may not change the outcome of that game or the season but if the Board don't know now or don't get it now, then they never will - they need to act and act positively and with vigour. No more hesitation, dithering, etc, etc, just get a grip and sort it out and if you aren't, then get out.

No team should be going through the pain of sorting out off field issues, coaching staff etc once a season has started, it should all have been in place before the start of it. I think the lack of action and people leaving in the midst of a season and games has had such a negative impact on our manager and the team.
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