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Saints Guaranteed Record Breaking Season
Friday, 19th May 2017 08:30

It is not often I want Tottenham Hotspur to in a game but last night was one of them as they slaughtered Leicester City to guarantee Saints a top ten finish.

Whilst it cannot be denied that this has been a disappointing season for Saints in terms of what could of and should of been achieved, Spurs win at Leicester means that whatever the results on Sunday the lowest Saints can finish is in 10th place.

This being the fourth consecutive season of finishing in the top ten means that is the first time in the club's history that they have managed that feat, so those that are active on social media telling anyone that cares to listen that this is the worst team and the worst season ever needs to get a little perspective on what this club has achieved in the past and what it is looking to achieve now.

Back in August most would have been seen 10th and a major cup final at Wembley as success, but unfortunately they do not due to various issues.

Again whilst I can understand why people are hacked off at the way the team has been playing, it is disappointing that so many see this as a doomsday scenario and can't seem to accept that Saints or any team cannot keep improving on their league position year in year out.

Last season Chelsea had a far worse season that Saints have had this year in the Premier League, but their fans seemed to be able to understand that it was going to be a season of rebuilding, there was not mass cries of anguish on Facebook, neither was there a massive non renewal of season tickets.

Chelsea fans knew that you can't be entertaining every season, sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward, now if Chelsea fans can do that, then so should Saints fans be able to, after all we pride ourselves on being a community based club rather than the fashionable team to support as Chelsea are, their fans are the epitome of the modern Premier League fan we all like to ridicule as fickle, so if they realise the nature of the game why can't we.

This seasons finish makes this the most successful period in our entire history in terms of top flight positions, it is a great position to build on especially as arguably this has been the 4th best season in our history in terms of league position aligned with how near we have come to a trophy.

There have been some shocking performances that cannot be denied, but there have also been some great games and several as memorable as it gets in my Saints supporting history.

But form is temporary and can be rectified next season whether there is a change of manager or what, but too many seem to want to have this rant about the style of play and Peel, they don't want to have perspective or patience, it is almost as if some of them having been proved wrong for mass bedwetting over the last three summers where they have been proved wrong on each occasion, actually want to be proved right for once.

Saints have proved over the past three years that they have the strategy to move on and come back stronger after every set back, player sales is part of that strategy and we are now in control of that more than ever.

There has never been a better time to be a Saints fan in terms of the position the club is in not just on the field but off it as well, it should be a time to enjoy it, not continually complain.

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squeezebox added 09:02 - May 19

squeezebox added 09:03 - May 19
Well said. Balanced article that all fans should read.

SaintPaulVW added 09:12 - May 19
What impressed me most was just how much most of the
men around me hated, really hated, being there. As
far as I could tell, nobody seemed to enjoy, in the
way that I understood the word, anything that
happened during the entire afternoon. Within
minutes of the kick-off there was real anger ('You're
a DISGRACE, Gould. He's a DISGRACE!' 'A hundred
quid a week? A HUNDRED QUID A WEEK!
They should give that to me for watching you.'); as
the game went on, the anger turned into outrage,
and then seemed to curdle into sullen, silent
discontent. Yes, yes, I know all the jokes. What else
could I have expected at Highbury? But I went to
Chelsea and to Tottenham and to Rangers, and
saw the same thing: that the natural state of the
football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what
the score.

Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch , or a lot of Saints Fans on Social media. Only you can decide.

I agree with you Nick. Too many people are acting like this season's been a total disaster. I can accept it didn't go as well as it could have in all our hopes but lets not airbrush out the overall progress of the club from the 'struggling' Southampton beloved by the media for as long as I can remember. A bit of perspective please.

SaintBrock added 09:42 - May 19
Selective facts as usual Nick. You forgot this one, this will be our lowest points total since we returned to the PL.

Comparing our season with Chelsea's last season is ridiculous as you well know. Anyway that ended up with Mourinho getting the boot!

" is disappointing that so many see this as a doomsday scenario and can't seem to accept that Saints or any team cannot keep improving on their league position year in year out"

Answer "Why Not?"

That's why so many are fed up this season and want a new approach next. Puel should step aside.

allsaint54 added 09:49 - May 19
Chelsea sacked Moaner to improve. We must do the same & get rid of CP. Can't bear the thought of another season watching dull, boring football to grind out 0-0 results.

SonicBoom added 09:49 - May 19
Maybe it proves that we have an excellent structure now and it succeeds even if the manager doesn't !

saintpp added 09:51 - May 19
Good balanced report.
.Sorry to say i agree that it does seem the fans that predicted meltdown and that under Puel we would get relegated have dug their heels in wanting him out to be proved right in some way.
Refusing even to discuss stats like we have the 7th best away record yet blaming Puel for our home record.if he gets the blame for one he must get credit for the other.
There was an article posted from the mail on a site which seemed to suggest he might be out and one poster was right on with the gleefull 'i told you all so at the start of the season' .
And such comments on the DE saying 'i dont care if he wins all the last few games convincingly i want him out' .
So it does appear to be the case of some wanting to be right more than saints succeeding.The lynch mob mentality of some of our fans has been very dissapointing and in some cases shamefull.
The comments about how boring and awfull we were against man utd show some just see what they want to see and they have worked themselves into such an anti Puel frenzy they forget to support the club.
Could partly explain our home form with fans like that going.
The De has a lot to answer for with its repeated articles about Puel being under pressure yet no article such as yours about our record breaking top 4th successive top ten finish.
.Anyway 4th successive year in the top 10 and probably 8th place well done Puel if that makes me a happy clapper so be it.

saintpp added 09:59 - May 19
Allsaint54 I have asked this question many times to fans like you.
Why do you not allow for one minute the thought that Puel will improve the football next season now he had a season under his belt instead of ranting on to get rid of him.
Boufal will get better too and im hopefull maybe we will keep VVD for at least half a season.
Its a very narrow minded perspective of the manager.who has a tough debut season yet there we are 8th best team in the PL.

legod7 added 10:20 - May 19
Certainly is a record breaking season. I read somewhere that this is the first season in over 100 years that Saints have failed to score in 4 consecutive home games.

highfield49 added 10:21 - May 19
I couldn't agree more saintpp the "lynch mob mentality" is rapidly gaining hold in an intolerant society and social media actually helps it to thrive. Reasoned debate and opinion, hopefully sustained by some relevant fact, is in danger of being overwhelmed by fake news and bullies who wont accept the concept of anything beyond their blinkered stance. I've long since given up on the DE as the source of debate amongst supporters because they encourage rage to fuel their own needs and that is simply to gain revenue through click bait. Back in the day when readers took their time to collect their thoughts and put together a cohesive written response rather than spew out illiterate abuse the world seemed to be a happier place. Sadly, these same individuals take their rants straight from social media to the football ground and then wish to impose their opinions on everyone else regardless of our desire to listen. SaintPaulVW's quote from Nick Hornby sums up so many of life's disappointments and the fact that the media exploit our frustrations to whip up social vigilantes is one of the saddest aspects of trash journalism. In many ways I hope Puel keeps his job and some individuals learn that mob rule is not democracy.

pete_boggs added 10:28 - May 19
I've been going wrong by watching every game this season instead of staring at the live premiership table on the internet. Thanks.

SanMarco added 10:44 - May 19
SaintBrock: "this will be our lowest points total since we returned to the PL" - No - you've forgotten the first season back (41 or 42 pts I believe).

I would agree with much of the above - it is certainly true as highfield says that modern media encourages over-the-top and plain ridiculous nonsense. The big question for the sensible 95% of us is whether the relative success of this season has been because of or in spite of Puel. Certainly the apoplectic minority loathe him for all the bad and ignore the more positive stuff mentioned in this article. What will happen next season if he stays? The question about his relationship with key star players is the vital one for me. If it true that he has 'lost the dressing room' then (whether this is fair or not) he will have to go. My brain says he deserves another season - my gut says that things will be worse next year if he stays. I don't listen to highfield's mob I just watch the football and I have to say that my gut is winning at the moment....

petedoors1 added 11:00 - May 19
You can say what you want but the football played by Saints this season has been the most boring seen for many years. We got two new records though the first time in 100 years that we have failed to score at home in four consecutive games and the lowest points total in four years. Is this what you call improvement. Puels type of football will will drive the fans away.

michaeljoycetf added 11:03 - May 19
At the start of the season having lost crucial players and with a new manager in place I would have taken a top ten place in a heartbeat, If I had known that we would witness the loss of one the most successful centre back pairings in the league and still enjoy a record breaking season I would be congratulating the manager not berating him. My only disappointment this season is with the whinging section of our supporters who by being vocal are giving the impression that they are a majority voice. Saints are in a good place right now. Keep the manager until he fails us until then lets be positive about our future.

Hamnottingham added 11:15 - May 19
Let's put Saints in the Premiership in perspective. In the 5 seasons Saints have been back in the top division, Man U, Man C, Liverhampton, Arse, Chelski, Everton and Spurs have been the top 7 every year except for the previous two seasons when Saints broke into the top 7 twice and (obviously) Leicester once.

The only clubs that have remained with Saints from that 2012/13 season apart from the mega rich 7 are West Brom, Swansea, West Ham and Stoke. In other words just staying in the Premiership is a fantastic achievement in itself - the turnover in non-mega rich clubs is enormous.

Hamnottingham added 11:16 - May 19
Not sure that Everton are mega rich but they do get into the top 7 regularly.....

NeilF added 12:41 - May 19
I would feel better talking about Saints winning more and/or putting in better performances where teams who were there for the taking were swept aside rather than other poor teams losing and having a worse season than us thus elevating our league position. Securing and fighting for eighth within reach of Everton would be better and more satisfying than being bumped up to this position. Sam Allardyce had the gall to big up his team and say they could finish 11th after the game against Hull; this is the game that could have put them back in a relegation fight. If Crystal Palace win their last game and we lose, they finish only two points behind. Reality check!!!

SaintBrock added 13:15 - May 19
Puel may feel his position here is untenable after all the press rumours and the hostility of many fans. Even if he is offered another season by Reed, he'll know he is living on borrowed time and could be out by Christmas if things on the pitch did not improve.

It will also be very difficult to turn around fanbase opinions, for example not once this season has he enjoyed the accolade of "Their's only one Claude Puel" whereas the "Koeman" chant has rung out more than a few times. He must be feeling he has few friends here at St Mary's on match-days or because of the constant snipping on social media.

The man has pride and behaves with great dignity despite all these cards being well and truly stacked against him. Frankly, (IIWH) I'd call time on this place, after all he is hardly short of of a bob or two and no doubt job offers in far nicer places than England.

Apart from that it is just possible that Les Reed is a fan who is just as disappointed as many of us with team performances this year. He 'though is in the enviable position of being able to do something about it. The last thing he wants is a season of open hostility from the fans directed at him, he's heard the booing and he knows the old saying "you ain't heard nothing yet".

Right now Puel is taking the flak but that will quickly turn on Les if he keeps Puel on and nothing changes. So, big risk for him. For these reasons Puel will be leaving this week.


BoondockSaint added 13:44 - May 19
I thought this headline was about our penalty record!

I think Hornby's point was that football (as in all sports) only one team can be champion and all the rest losers, so it is the lot of the supporter to pay money to have his heart broken, and as he points out later in the passage: they willing come back week after week and go through it again and again! If anything or anyone frustrated us like that, we would change them out for something better, or more reliable, but not us. Such is the curse of the sports fan.

Nick, there were a lot of Chelski fans outraged by what was going on: Costa and his henchmen downing tools because they didn't like Jose. The fans you speak about knew things would get sorted one way or another: Pay off Jose and spend big money to get a manager that Costa approved of, or ship out the malcontents and spend big money to get replacements. The fans knew the solution was money, and they have an owner who has tons of it. So they were not really worried.

Saints fans anger is that we lost to a lot of teams we should have beat easily and finished much higher. But, I must admit, the old sports axiom rings true: "You are what your record says you are."

JGH added 13:56 - May 19
Completely agree bar the Chelsea factor. You clearly don't know many Chelsea fans...

Sanguin added 15:25 - May 19
A very well balanced article, thank you!

While I agree that some recent games have been dire to watch, I don’t think that Puel’s style is definitely more defensive and boring. I do not remember people complaining about boring football at the start of the season. I think the problems in central defence have led to more defensive football in the final half of the season. Hopefully getting VvD back and a new CB in will allow the rest of the team to be more expansive. Despite the doom mongering, I’m still really excited about what this squad can do next season.

pintsizedsaint added 16:18 - May 19
I haven't posted for a while, largely due to the polemical nature of debate here and elsewhere. Social Media and blogs etc. allow everybody to Have their say. Clearly there is difference of opinion.

For me, the overall performance has been good: possible 8th place finish and a cup f inal is not to be sniffed at. Yet I have to agree with those who point to the fact that the football has been less easy on the eye this year. Fans have the right to be entertained, that is what they pay their money for overall. In this league not many teams get the glory so knowing your team entertained and gave all is fine by me. I'm not questioning the commitment, but rather the end product.

Is Puel the right fit? I'm still unsure. The rotation policy throughout the year has been sometimes understandable, sometimes baffling. Dropping players who have just hit form (and who haven't played loads of games) is just plain odd.

I'm happy to see Puel have another go next season: but the football needs to come back. Perhaps Puel was too conservative - anxious not to get dragged into relegation. It's understandable, and it is his first season in the EPL.

Yet if Puel went I wouldn't be outraged. Largely because of the style of football and the sense he has not used players to their full potential.

So it's an odd end to the season. What I am interested in is seeing whether Saints actually do live up to the annual "we will not sell" mantra. I am utterly sickened by some of the articles mocking Saints as a selling or feeder club - saying it's inevitable we will once again flog our best players. One article even called Kruger "deluded" for saying we don't need to sell. As I've said before, Saints need to have a summer telling the bigger clubs to do one - otherwise this crap will just never end and players/agents will continue to play the field end. If Saints don't need to sell, then don't sell - even if somebody makes a stupid offer.

ThereIn76 added 16:29 - May 19
If Everton can make Koeman the 6th highest paid manager in the WORLD then yes they are mega-rich.

Suppose we ditch Puel. What if the next appointee is someone who's had a few good seasons but then been struggling at the foot of the table and been sacked? Because that's what happened with Pochettino.

Or a manager who took over a fairly high-ranking club in his homeland and was sacked after losing 7 of his first 16 matches? Step forward Ronald Koeman.

Or how about someone who'd previously taken a club down from League One to League Two? Let me introduce Lawrie McMenemy.

Then again we might get lucky and persuade a manager who enjoyed a record-breaking start to a championship-winning season with 13 successive wins! I give you Ian Branfoot.

Or maybe some of the Puel Out brigade fancy taking the job on themselves.

Give the man a break. If a team does better away from home than at home, perhaps the home crowd should consider what part they are playing.

garethhartwell added 16:36 - May 19
OK, I take the point that maybe it wasn't that bad.

But we still have many fewer points than on many previous seasons when we had poorer resources to work with. (And I'm sorry but the suggestion that this is arguably our 4th best season in history is ludicrous - under Lawrie McMenemy and Chris Nichol there were several that were clearly better and even under Gordon Strachan there was at least one).


SaintStu7 added 18:20 - May 19
When you look at things with an intelligent head you will realise it's been a really good season that could have been disastrous with the injuries we have had. Yes the style of play has been less exciting and we have lost some points to poor sides but 8th and a cup final is actually better than last season. I think the reason for much of the negativity is down to ignorance but a lot is to do with the cup final. I think after the game many were fairly happy as we were not expecting to win and played so well but over time it's actually really got under the skin. If we had of won there would have been none of this constant moaning just a feeling of satisfaction and job well done. That cup final result was actually unfair and a massive opportunity lost that we might not have again for along time. I feel that is part of the weird atmosphere at current games and fans trying to blame someone. Let's just support our team and realise we are in the best place we have been for years.

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