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Southampton V Preston North End The Preview
at 10:36:21

I certainly agree with all of this. In a, I am sure, vain attempt to take the sting out of the JS 'debate' I would say two things. Firstly, it is NOT JS's fault, if he doesn't merit a place in the starting line-up then that is solely down to RM. Secondly, I would say we only have two or three, at most, 'automatic' selections, players who should always be somewhere in the team if fit. No one can argue that JS is such a player, So 'shoe-horning' him in is, to say the least, peculiar. RM is a 'look at me' manager (you only had to cringe at the pointless, ponderous and performative tippy-tappy at Anfield to know that) and he clearly thinks that he can add value by tinkering. I think he is wrong. As Nick says - only 7 to go so play your best team in each one and recognise that as the nerves set in the tippy-tappy at the back becomes even more dangerous and pointless.

For what it is worth I think we will win the next two and then Leicester will be the defining moment of the season.
Injured Southampton Striker Could Play Some Part In Promotion Push
at 18:17:52

The Titanic was down to Branfoot Colburn
Southampton V Watford The Verdict
at 19:28:34

Not sure that people expressing their honest opinion makes the site a laughing stock. I don't rate JS and I think we are a better side without him. Our failure to get automatic promotion and a playing style that a fair few of us don't like is, though, not the fault of JS. Fans love scapegoats though and sadly (and indeed unfairly) JS gets flack for what is the responsibility of the manager. Tippy-tappy only works for elite clubs whose players are very sure and confident on the ball. Our players are good enough at this level and I think could have taken us up - but they are being asked to play in a way that doesn't suit them We will never know but with a different manager we could well have done better. I hope he does go to Brighton - would be a better fit for him and we wouldn't miss him. And that is my opinion - doesn't make me or those that agree and disagree with me laughing stocks. And certainly not this excellent site.

I will be delighted if the winner was hand-ball given what happened at Vicarage Road a few years ago...
Southampton At Ipswich The Verdict
at 15:19:50

I agree with virtually all these comments and heartily agree with those who put the responsibility firmly at RM's door. Whatever our anxieties at the start of the season the reality is that 4th will be an underachievement with the squad we have got. We were going well until he started messing with the defence.

That was a big game last night and most of my most memorable big games have been gritty 1-0 wins where it could be said we didn't even play well eg. Pompey in 84, the match at Swansea that kept us up, the semi win at Liverpool and even our greatest day of all in 76 (alright - we did play well in that one!) My strong feeling about RM is that in a January 84 at Fratton type situation he would ACTUALLY PREFER a match where we were pretty, stylish, scored a couple of good goals and lost 3-2. He could then say better side lost, blame the players, blame the ref etc. A gritty, hard-fought, totally unpretty and even slightly lucky 1-0 win would not be for him. I repeat - it was a big game last night and we LOST.

PS the ref was sh1te, again.
Southampton V Middlesbrough The Verdict
at 11:46:38

I think the question (unanswerable of course) over RM is whether this squad could be doing better with different tactics. By not bothering to defend we leave ourselves open at the back and time and time again even average teams look like scoring against us. Our players aren't technically good enough to maintain the levels needed to play this way. If we have the 4th best squad then RM is doing okay - if we have the 2nd or 3rd best squad then he isn't.

I hate this way of playing. Yes we perhaps should have been out of sight but a team worthy of promotion should be able to play out a 1-0 against a mid-table side. Sometimes you are only 1 up with a minute or two to go however good you are. Instead we sat back and gave the winger plenty of time to cross onto the head of a forward with no defender within five yards. Appalling. The defenders aren't that bad it is the way we are playing that invites trouble.

I rarely agree with Klopp but perhaps if we are to stick with this we need another year to perfect it. I would fear for us in the top division under this manager. It was bad enough on the occasions when Ralph got it wrong...
Southampton V Sunderland The Verdict
at 11:00:44

Good analysis from Nick and the above comments. RM is a 'my way or the highway' man and the long unbeaten run (rightly) means it is not the highway. This I fear makes him not learn from what are fairly obvious tactical/team selection mistakes. The truth if we want to be very harsh is that we really ought to be 3rd or 4th this season. It won't be an enormous achievement to come 4th.

I don't like tippy-tappy and the wibbly-wobbly version of it at Anfield annoyed me. The statistic to look at is chances created vs chances gifted to the opposition. To me we are on the wrong side of that particular equation.

A lot of us felt less positive than you would expect after that win. It is the goals conceded and how they are being conceded that caused that I believe. Having said all that it was a far better home performance than the last two. Now we have a ludicrously long break before 10 games in a month. Well done fixture planners!!
St Mary's To Be Assessed For Smoke Damage Before Sunderland Game
at 08:25:05

They appointed Nathan Jones saintmark...
Southampton At Birmingham City The Verdict
at 23:12:33

Shocking defending that on this occasion was saved by good attacking. Downes' injury and RM's decisions have led us to suddenly looking sh1te at the back again. No room for any more errors if we are to challenge for top two.

That said it was an exciting game though. I'd settle for a quiet 2-0 win on Weds though.
RIP Chris Nicholl A True Southampton Legend
at 23:02:33

Yes - brilliant tribute Nick. Very sad news. I do remember being pleased when he was sacked and Branfoot was my (and our) punishment.

RIP Chris
Southampton V Millwall The Verdict
at 22:56:52

The point with RM is that he is (proudly) a one-trick-pony. Opposing sides are now asking him some questions and he now needs to earn his money by showing us that his one-trick can turn results around.

I find the tippy-tappy tedious. I like football with pace and energy. Those are actually the two things we have been missing lately - along with accurate passing, which, let's face it is essential for the RM style.

It would be absurd to start Martin Out campaigns now. We are still doing pretty well. If we miserably fail in the play-offs he will have some questions to answer but that's all for later.

Like one or two others I do wonder if minds have been on Liverpool...
Southampton V Hull City The Verdict
at 18:19:56

RM's whole strategy is based on accurate passing - if the passing is rubbish then there is no plan B. We have several Hull-like play-off hopefuls to play at home and they will all watch the video of this game and plan accordingly. It is going to be tough but we are bound to get into the play-offs and are still well placed to challenge for second so let's wait a while before despairing - and also maybe practise that passing...

The one thing I notice is that we have suddenly started shipping goals since Downes went off vs Huddersfield - a coincidence??
Southampton Promotion Campaign Will Go To The Wire
at 11:28:43

Leicester will be champions - yes they will drop the odd point but even if they lose to Leeds they are far enough clear and have the strongest squad.

Other than that who knows. There is more than a good chance that the Saints-Leeds contest will go to that last game as one or other would need to pull 4 points clear to prevent it. Ipswich are the joker in the pack - they may benefit from cruising along with the pressure off. again who knows.

We have three massive away games and two or three tricky home ones (starting tomorrow) - all I know is we are doing better than I expected. The best I hoped for was being roughly where WBA are now. To be already assured of the play-offs (yes we are pessimists) is not bad at all !!
Southampton V Watford The FA Cup Replay Preview
at 13:25:31

IanRC - You can listen to the Solent commentary on the BBC website as it is a cup game.

I tend to side with the 'respect the cup' view on this one. It is RM's own stupid fault we have a replay. Loyal supporters are paying to get in and to turn down the chance of a match at Liverpool seems an extraordinary way to think. The FA cup needs scrapping if teams like us think like that.

As for the defence - we have been very foolish to leave it so stretched but that is what it is. If you don't play players because they might get injured then you have to stop them training too - lots of injuries happen there. Playing a strong team tonight will NOT cost us promotion so go for it...if not then play a very weak side and DON'T bring stronger subs on when we are losing.
January Transfer Window Mixed Bag For Southampton
at 18:42:49

We do now look light at the back. Holgate wasn't great but he was an experienced centre-back. Now we are one injury away from problems at the back.

Alcaraz I am less concerned about - he clearly wasn't a favourite of RM so this could be a good deal.
Southampton At Watford The FA Cup Verdict
at 13:23:59

I fully agree with Nick about not blaming individuals. The fault was with the manager. If his aim is to 'rest' players (even though there was no midweek game before or after this one) and if he wishes to give squad players a chance to impress then he should do it in a rational and sensible way. The starting players were not given the chance to play in the first team system because it didn't exist until half of them were taken off. Players do not gain confidence or meaningful experience from playing in a game like that. Far better to make 4 changes because the 4 that come in will have a meaningful experience. You can then use subs depending on how the game is going. There is also of course the need to respect the thousamds of Saints fans who travelled.

By doing what he did RM managed to get the result that he presumably wanted least. If we do go to Anfield then I would respectfully suggest that we put out a stronger team!!
FA Cup 4th Round Memories 28th January 1984 Fratton Park
at 08:14:57

We got tickets in the Poopey area right near where Dennis got hit. I remember the menace. A very large Poopey nutter was slavering at the mouth and trying to get to the Saints end. A Poopey supporter got in his way and said something sensible (yes it does happen!) like 'what's the point' or something - and the bloke punched him in the face - such lovely people!!

Yes - this and May 76 are my two favourite Saints moments. Funny - totally unmemorable game in footballing terms and at the end we were a trifle fortunate not to concede , but that goal - I will remember it for ever!!!!
Southampton V Sheffield Wednesday The Verdict
at 12:07:13

It is all coming together rather well! We will have a downturn at some stage - away from home especially we work on quite small margins, and sooner or later will lose by a goal somewhere, so I think catching Leicester is a very tough task but we are in a three-way fight for the second place. If I were a betting man I wouldn't bet against that match at Leeds being a rather important one!!

As for players- firstly, if no one leaves I don't really see the need to bring anyone in. Obviously like-for-like if any key player does go. For me KWP is the player of the season with Adam Armstrong running him close (that pass for the third goal looked simple but it was real class) and several others not that far behind. Nick is spot-on about the home form - one of the keys to getting an excellent home record is that the visitors are scared of you - helps you win even on off days, not that yesterday was an off day - but like everyone we will have them.

The tippy-tappy stuff right near our goal still often feels unnecessary to me but then I'm old and grey (and occasionally getting greyer due to said tippy-tappy!!!) So RM's trip to Swansea will either break the record or end it...couldn't be better!!
Saints Handed Away Tie At Fellow Championship Club In FA Cup 4th Round
at 09:48:53

Beforehand I said the worst draw would be away at a mid-table second division club and that is exactly what we got. Home against one of the big boys would have been far more interesting.
Danny Ings Doesn't Want To Drop To Championship Claim
at 09:46:49

Very charitable way of looking at it underwest. I think the sad story affecting former heroes in the game is 30 years out of date. May apply lower down but for years Ings has 'earned' more in a week than I ever have in a year (prob. year and a half). If he hasn't saved enough for a luxury retirement it is his own stupid fault.

There does seem to be a mutual antipathy between Saints and Ings that makes the return unlikely and that is probably a GOOD thing.
Southampton At Norwich City The Verdict
at 14:31:17

We are going to have games like this under Martin. We haven't led by two away from home all season!! Narrow margins mean points like this and Watford, Huddersfield will be dropped but also we won't lose many. That said we are on a hugely impressive run. We would all have taken this position at this stage - so bring on 2024!!!
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