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Saints Survey Ill Timed And Innapropriate
Friday, 12th Oct 2018 09:56

Whilst I generally applaud the club for trying to look forwards and introduce something a little different, the latest survey sent to fans makes me think that no one at the club actually understands football fans !

Saints fans recently found a survey from Saints drop into their e mail accounts, but most of the questions were somewhat bewildering and some seemed to indicate to fans that the club were testing the water to see if fans would stomach a season ticket rise.

I usually stick up for the club when they try to connect with the supporter base, but I found the whole tone of the survey strange to say the least and my feeling that whoever had compiled it had never been a football fan and was totally out of touch with what the majority of football supporters actually want as was illustrated recently when the Dell supporters bar was converted into an overpriced upmarket burger bar.

Phil Gatrell is a season ticket holder and lifelong fan spoke to the Daily Echo to say that the survey was ill-timed given the poor start to the season.

Gatrell said:

“It felt a bit like a cold sales pitch which was devoid of any football related questions to balance it out.

“On face value, it appears there is a great deal happening to boost what our hospitality currently offers, instead of improving what is happening on the pitch.

"It would have gone down a lot better if they said they would use the extra money from the proposed changes to do something like building a dedicated train station outside the ground.”

This was the general feeling amongst the supporters that I spoke to and again although they seem to have had good intentions the Club has shot itself in the foot due to a complete lack of understanding about how football supporters and Saints fans in particular feel about things at the moment.

The fans need a feelgood factor at the moment, indeed the club should be looking at ways to reduce season ticket prices at present and rewarding those who have stuck by the club through thick and thin.

All it needs is someone within the club that truly understands the football fan culture, at present it seems that those in the marketing department and indeed in the boardroom are looking purely at balance sheets and not the reality, which is that without the fans the club is nothing.

Saints did backtrack and issue the following statement to the Daily Echo.

"A number of fans who have attended events at St Mary’s were approached to provide their views on a range of ideas for consideration, in order to make sure any new products introduced in the future are based on input from our supporters.

"Our sole aim is to continue to understand the views and expectations of our supporters and identify which potential changes to the St Mary’s experience they would most value and enjoy."

Again this perhaps shows how out of touch the marketing department seems to be, most Saints fans do not attend "events" at the club, the core support of the club are people who can barely afford the overpriced cost of watching Premier League football let alone attend "events"

By question those who have attended said events, the club is not getting a broad spectrum of views, it is getting a small percentage of the fan base given that many who attend non footballing events are probably not Saints supporters or even football fans for that matter.

Saints are making progress in creating the Saints Voice and hopefully that will develop into something that can give the fans a voice, but it's early days yet for this group and to be fair most Saints fans are unaware of it's existence and that has to change.

Southampton Football Club should be aware that it is in a very precarious position with regard to it's relationship with it's supporters, I would say that it is at an all time low, even worse than the Branfoot days or even the Rupert Lowe era, the difference then was that the gripe was only with the club, now many are becoming disillusioned with football in general, Saints doing badly is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Premier League is all about greed, the greed of the TV companies, the greed of the players and the greed of the football clubs, those that start to take their fan bases for granted might just get a short sharp shock.

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saintmark1976 added 10:42 - Oct 12
At last Nick your beginning to see the light and starting to understand the current ill feeling there is from life long fans toward the club's owners and management.

I received the survey by Email my immediate thought was good.I'll give it a go and perhaps have a chance to express my opinion as to where things have gone wrong particularly in regard to the cost of attending matches and the way the club communicates.

Frankly the survey was an over complicated time wasting disaster and I binned it after two or three screens.

Your comment that the club doesn't understand its fans is entirely correct but I'm not surprised given that S F C currently has a management team which is simply not fit for purpose anymore.


FredAndWhite added 10:47 - Oct 12
Perhaps the only good thing out of the survey was safe standing now seems to be a serious consideration

dirk_doone added 10:55 - Oct 12
Excellent article, Nick. I have seen such surveys before in the business world. The basic idea is to find out how much money you can squeeze out of the customers.

Our football club doesn't seem like a football club any more. It's owned and run by a bunch of greedy, complacent business people who aren't even very good at their jobs. And no, not every Premier League club is like that. You just have to look along the coast at Bournemouth and Brighton to see that.

warrens76 added 11:51 - Oct 12
I have not had a jot of faith in this board from the moment Ralph took over, I am a sales person through and through, I don't mean to sound arrogant but I knew what the customer was thinking, going to say before they opened their mouths..from day 1 Ralph was completely and utterly out of his depth, I am astounded that you Nick have only taken 4.5 years to reach that conclusion.

'The product', 'matchday experience', 'Katherina has not intention of selling', 'none of the players are for sale' 'we aim to be Champions league' this bunch of bare faced lies was in the first few weeks!!!

Ralph is an absolute charlatan and massively over promoted, he has allowed Reed to rule the footballing side with no oversight, it's not new, it was always coming....still heaven loves nothing more than a sinner who repents, so well done for waking up.

bstokesaint added 12:51 - Oct 12
Well said Nick. I’m still a little reluctant to place all the blame at Ralph’s feet. I think there are a number of boardroom culprits guilty of losing touch with the fanbase. I couldn’t honestly tell you if today we are primarily a football club or a business. I know what we were under Markus/Cortese. As you say Nick the fans need a lift. TV companies and sponsors are creating a larger gulf than ever between the players and the fans. Nobody should be paid £100k a week to play football. To get paid that a year would suit most of us! So, it’s little surprise that any attempt to squeeze a little more from the fans is not going to get a great response. I’ve always felt that Southampton FC with its primarily local fanbase has been more in touch and had the family feel that a big club loses by extending their reach nationally and globally. However we’re all at sea at the moment. I don’t know any fans which are content with things currently.

bstokesaint added 13:16 - Oct 12
I just wish that I had the contact details for Nicola Cortese. I’d send him a letter begging him to try and convince one of his billionaire clients to come back to St Mary’s and show the board how these things should be done. He might have put some noses out of joint but at least he knew how to run a football club from top to bottom.

SaintNick added 13:30 - Oct 12
Dirk if we are honest most football clubs ceased to be football clubs as we knew them two decades ago and back then even when it was the local businessmen running it they cared nothing about supporters,

Warrens 76, I think you miss a few points, Krueger has overseen the complete transformation of the club as a business, his only real crime is perhaps not to deal with reed in the past year, Interesting that you use "Champions League" as a stick to berate him with when that was more Cortese, Krueger has always been more realistic and people complained about that, when he was honest and said we are small compared to others, he was again lambasted.

As I said above I woke up 30 years ago, what I know now is that we are far from the worst run club in the Premier League and we could have a lot worse, but the problem is who would we get to replace Krueger or Gao

BoondockSaint added 13:31 - Oct 12
"Our sole aim is to continue to understand the views and expectations of our supporters and identify which potential changes to the St Mary’s experience they would most value and enjoy."

They could have saved time and money by just reading the comments on this site.

As far as the "..changes to the St. Mary's experience.." we would most enjoy? Watching the Saints win a football game would be a good start!

SAINTSNIL added 14:11 - Oct 12
That is exactly what I put on the survey-where they asked for suggestions to improve the experience!!

highfield49 added 14:33 - Oct 12
There is a real communication problem here, the club wants us to be proud of it's global marketing achievements, expanding the business, and the supporters basically don't give a toss about that when the players don't deliver on the pitch. Of course it's essential to grow the business if we want to have even a remote chance of competing in top quality player recruitment and retention but that is a long term and probably impossible quest. In the meantime the management seems to be intent on providing an expensively packed box covered in ribbons and glitter with nothing inside when it's opened. By all means continue the club's commercial expansion but please give us a product to enjoy whilst you do so.

mattthelegend added 18:45 - Oct 12
Great post Nick, I for one are still trying to understand, despite several emails to the club, how my 10 year old son pays £150.00 for a season ticket yet my 12 year old son pays £295.00. I have asked what the justification is, all I get told is that I can move to another part of the ground???

warrens76 added 18:50 - Oct 12
the clubs income grew from 10 million to 125 million under Cortese, since 2014 the income has grown another 50 million predominantly SKY money...this overhaul is were exactly, Cortese had Honda lined up as our sponsor and would not sign a two penny shirt deal until we were taken seriously as a go places club...
I am in business and would not have Ralph anywhere near it..lying to the customers repeatedly, false promises, describing my business to the world as 'small' absolute joke, that statement alone has devastating consequences and is not true of itself but 'made' true by the owners approach, it's a self fulfilling prophesy because if you do not invest at the pro rata rate to your competition (and we haven't) this is what happens.
Little Bmuff don't think of themselves as small, Palace and Wolves see expansion as vital, so do LCFC, when you and I went to games in the 70's, 80's they were all smaller than us..attitude, Ralph is not the man because he is not involved with anything other than a milking operation instead of a growth one, however if Gao spent 200 million he would still not be the right person because he is not leadership material indeed considering the 'black hole' he said Cortese left why is Reeds horrific last 2.5 years not been addressed, sauce for the Cortese goose should have been MULTIPLE sauce for his and Reed's gander, double standards at play or was the black hole an 'excuse'.

SanMarco added 10:37 - Oct 13
The death of Markus was the end of Cortese. I understand why he is seen as the 'king over the water' but his achievements should be seen in context. The rapid rise through the leagues that he helped secure was the main reason for increased turnover. When Markus died Cortese needed to find us a new sugar daddy. We will never know how such things might have panned out.

The change to Kruger was labelled 'realism' because after Markus the 'ambition' was toned down to say the least. I think it is important to say that you don't need a Cortese to do better than we are doing now, people a lot better than Kruger and Reed is the starting point. If a saviour on a white charger arrives with a billionaire in his pocket then great - but for now...

warrens76 added 11:30 - Oct 13
SaintMarco...there is no argument that it would be hard to find people less qualified, indeed what are Ralph's was a right hand man to Markus and was versed in sports investments and advancements, Reed fitted in as Academy director with ideas that were good 10 years ago, now he is a pensioner, on the ropes, panic buying and wasting monies far in excess of the amounts Cortese was castigated for.

I do not expect us to regularly challenge the top 2 in the cartel LFC, UTD, the rest and I include CFC and Citeh because they are NOT big clubs just BIG monied owners, if SFC had the success of those two we could have built the support of those two...

However we have not the success and our owners have completely and utterly trashed our reputation and respect, I cannot imaging any connected owner wanting to embrace 'that'.

SanMarco added 12:05 - Oct 13
I totally agree warrens76. The 'ambition' vs 'realism debate has often been passionately fought out on here. Once Kat took over things were always going to be different. My two gripes with her are that she waited all that time to sell and then chose a dodgy reverse takeover Chinaman and that Kruger and Reed are not up to the job - they were appointed on her watch. Whether things could have been different well who knows?. My personal view is that Cortese left at the right time for his own reputation. Others feel differently - it is a bit like those Hitler winning the war counter-factual books and films - good fun, but it didn't happen so ultimately irrelevant...

SaintBrock added 14:14 - Oct 13
Agree with you Nick. I completed their survey very honestly. It is better the Club know how we feel than be under any illusion that we are all mugs and that the wool can be pulled over our eyes very easily.

Binning these things let's them of the hook

djtsaints123 added 21:57 - Oct 13
What i found staggering about survey has any member of marketing ever tried the pre/half time product and services. I believe they must have system designed not only to have the cheapest products to ensure greatest markup but also they must be inedible or undrinkable but since you cant go elsewhere like it or lump it oh and to add insult we will make you wait as long as possible by ensuring staff are untrained unmotivated (no bonus system) and poorly paid. At half time unless you leave game 10 mins before end of first half cannot get served until second half starts and its been like that for 5+ years all of which until last 2 years not a problem as we were watching good football now we have football at same standard as service(and dont blame staff) ie crap.
In any good management system senior management visit the shop floor talk to people at sharp end ours obviously don't presume this applies to training ground since it appears performance on pitch has no bearing on selection, cedric, hoed and redmond despite glaring errors and poor performance start every week. Long bless him works hard but cant score but we pick him as a lone striker or bring him on when losing and need a goal.
i believe our only chance is to be relegated and maybe our owner may realise how poor his management is, three poor managers( i include hughes - based on stats), Stoke had worst goals againts when he was sacked and look at us now )a scouting team responsible for huge outlay( by our standards) half of which are on loan and some people still believe there is no crisis how bad does it have to get!
apologise for lengh of rant

underweststand added 09:38 - Oct 14
Whilst Ralph Kreuger is getting his share of criticism because (like Rupert Lowe) he isn't FOOTBALL), I am astounded by those posts "worshipping " Nicola Cortese asa possioble solution ...(another man who wasn't " FOOTBALL")

Despite his career as consultant in the Sports World, he should have limited his involvement to the quite excellent job he made of retructuring the clubs administration and kept his nose out of football issues.
He relied on his Euro.contacts to buy in overpriced foreign players whilst restricting expenditure on British players to an absolute minimum. The total cost of British players in the Saints squad that won promotion to the Prem. was outweighed by the expenditure on just one or two of these catastrophic deals.
He even tried to persuede Alan Pardew against spending £1 million on a 27 year old centre forward (Rickie Lambert) ...quoted on SSN interview - whilst forking out enormous sums on later signings of Mayuka, Ramirez and Osvaldo. The total outlay (fee + salary) on either of the Ramirez or Osvaldo deals was enough to bankrupt the club once again.

There maybe problems that don't have short term solution in the club, but to suggest the return of Cortese as Chairman would be utter madness.


1970 added 21:06 - Oct 14
The problem is the numpties behind the scenes are in it for the business only which is all about using the academy and scouting network to maximise profits in the name of the 'Southampton Way' they have no inkling or ambition to have a successful football club it is solely a brand that is part of another bigger brand which is the premier league, Ralphie is there to be seen as a sports person with a warm and friendly personality and an excellent ambassador for whichever sporting subject you want him to talk about,
Now the fans have seen how Kat has stripped the assets season after season and have now passed the mantle to Gao who in turn will do the same but he's been up against it before he has had the chance,
so the business approach now is to get the fans back on side but again it has back fired because they wont change what they are trying to do,
At the end of the day these people such as the dark lord, Gao, and Kat assume that it doesn't matter what they do to the club we will always get a 28 thou + fans every week
where else would that happen,
we desperately need some quality coaching at all levels and more importantly some quality players for the first team asap but these are ambitions which the club have no interest in,
'underweststand' I thought the emphasis for pardew was to buy the league 1 team of the year which included Lambert and thus get us promoted if he had got us promoted he wouldn't of got fired he managed to get within 3 points of the play offs but ultimately finish 13 points from the play offs which obviously wasn't good enough.
we as fans have been told that selling players is part of us making improvements every season well the likes of Burnley and palace or west ham don't sell there crown jewels they strive to find more even Bournemouth refuse to allow any paper talk of there players leaving but saints well you know the rest and its all b**lsh*t.

LoisDeem added 10:14 - Oct 15
Shame that the this latest quorum of caretakers have failed to realise that if they fail as a football club they fail as a business. This lot are hanging on by dint of a bloated media existence and PL survival. I do know that real football people can come in once we've arrived back in the real football world (Championship), FFS, must we have another groundhog day?
We've totally missed our opportunity where we were the guys in the white hats up against the baddies. This fan getting very sick of observing this gross and self serving mis- management.

LoisDeem added 10:26 - Oct 15
Whilst the questionnaire is a loaded propagandist tick sheet, it is still best to answer as Brock suggests. There are opportunities to air your true opinions within it, and you never know we may get the correct number of A's B's and C's to get proper progress.
There is even mention of ground expansion within the weasel words, and it need only take 20 minutes of your time -which is about the same as it takes to send the average missive through the clunky UI system.
Alternatively, communicate directly with the club, and publicly air any or no replies.
I would be interested to see what feedback my fellow fans are getting too.

simmo400 added 11:39 - Oct 16
Blah Blah. Only assets fans are interested in are on the pitch. A team who give 100 %. A team fans can get behind. Fans don't care about burger bars they want skill, attacking football. They want to chat after about the highlights and mistakes. All there really getting the last few years is dull boring games with no goals and no wins and NO entertainment. Cant help but feel that championship football is where we belong where we would be competitive in stead of trying to hang in there year after year.

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