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Watford Could Be Hughes Last Stand
Tuesday, 6th Nov 2018 09:08

Saints take on Watford and if you believe rumours in the media this could be the last game in charge for Mark Hughes should Saints fail to win.

The media is rife this morning with stories of how if Mark Hughes fails to win what is now a desperate game for Saints against Watford on Saturday, then he will be heading out of the door at St Mary's for good.

Hughes win ratio as a Saints manager is poor, in all competitions Hughes has now had 23 games in charge, he has won only 5 of them giving him a win ratio of only 21.8 %, this is as bad as it gets and is worse than Jan Poortvliet with 25%, Mark Wotte with 22.22% and even Mauricio Pellegrino with 23.53%.

It should also be noted that 1 of those wins was actually a draw, the Everton Carabao cup game being won by a penalty shootout.

It gets worse when you take into account Premier League games only, Hughes has been in charge of 19 of them so far for Saints, exactly half a season, he has won 3 times, his win ratio in those games is a paltry 15.7% with only 15 points gained, that is relegation form in anybody's book.

So the bookies and the media have Hughes as cast iron favourite to be the next man to be sacked in the Premier League and are speculating it could be as soon as this weekend should Saints once again fail to win a game.

From a Saints perspective they will hope that Hughes wins, as I have been saying in other stories, the situation should be taken in isolation, some scream for the board to be sacked, but in modern football with clubs being big companies, sacking the entire board for the mistakes of one or two men is not the answer nor is it practical, you cannot just replace executives overnight and to do so wholesale would destabilise the club and would worsen things without a doubt.

Ralph Krueger's name is always mentioned, but he is responsible for the whole club, not just the football side, in truth it is only really now he has to make a decision.

The man responsible for recommending the appointment of a manager is Les Reed, some would say that he has got Hughes two predecessors wrong, but in reality Claude Puel was not a disaster for the club, his record stands up against most other Saints managers, Puel had a 37.78 win ratio in 45 games ( Not including Europa League) ironically it was very similar to Mauricio Pochettino's 38.33%, better than Gordon Strachan's 35.45%, Alan Ball's 32.84% & even Chris Nicholl's 34.13.

On reflection in a sport that is all about results, Puel can hold his head up against most of his peers, especially in what were circumstances not of his own making with injuries to key players.

But Reed did get it wrong with Pellegrino although he himself had mitigating circumstances similar to Puel, he cannot afford to get it wrong for a second time in barely a year.

He went for the safe option with Hughes and deviated from the club's usual route of foreign coaches in the previous four appointments and once you start bowing to public opinion instead of sticking to your own guns it is worrying.

Last season Krueger backed Reed in giving Pellegrino longer than he should have done, this season if Reed dithers then the Chairman has to take action and step in.

Reed knows this hence he will be keen for Hughes to win on Saturday and perhaps save his skin as well as Hughes's own.

The press are speculating on replacements, the usual suspects are being touted, Sam Allardyce for his usual fire fighting job, David Moyes is also in the frame.

Leonardo Jardim, the former Monaco coach, had been high on the Southampton board’s wish list, however it looks like he will be heading to China and if that is the case then he will be chasing money and Saints will not be able to match the Chinese in that respect.

However the Super League in China draws to a close in the next week or so with only 2 matches remaining, so perhaps Jardim will not want to do nothing for the next 4 months and would prefer a European team as his next destination.

One name mentioned by the Saints fans is Nigel Pearson, Pearson is remembered fondly for his short spell at the club, but ironically his time at the club mirrors Mark Hughes, Pearson took charge for 14 games at the end of the 2007/08 season and kept Saints up, however like Hughes he actually had a poor record and relied on a win on the last day of the season.

He won only 3 of the 14 matches he was in charge for, his win ratio of 21.43 actually being worse than the so called cheap options that followed him Poortvliet & Wotte, like Hughes the euphoria of staying up blurred the vision, unlike Hughes he did not get the chance to blot his copybook the next season, he is currently managing OH Leuven a second division club in Belgium owned by Leicester City's owners King Power who installed him as manager in September 2017.

So Saturday is going to be a crunch day in this season, it may decide the destiny of the club for the rest of the season, but as much as I have little confidence in Mark Hughes at this present moment, I want Saints to stay up and from that perspective this is a vital three points and we need to back the team to get them.

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straight_pass added 09:22 - Nov 6
Have the media also got our next saviour lined-up?
It will need a very talented coach/manager to sort out this mess!
1

Braveheart added 09:35 - Nov 6
The solution is simple with 2 choices - Derek McInnes (Aberdeen Manager) or Gordon Strachan (Unemployed)
-4

SanMarco added 09:39 - Nov 6
Yes "I hope we lose so he is sacked" is not the sentiment of a real fan in my view. The Puel sacking does look like hubris in hindsight but MP and MH were both poor appointments. MP might have worked in a team that was on the up but he was hapless, helpless and hopeless in our declining situation. Whatever skills MH has they don't seem to be what we need now. Our biggest problem, however, is the quality of the squad. It will take a very good manager to get this lot producing. So I say, yes, by all means sack MH but have a good replacement lined up.

Remember that last time we were relegated from the top division we panicked and sacked a manager early season and didn't appoint a new one for weeks (can't remember the name of the guy who was the fill in). So basically the replacement must be ready to go (and at least there is an international break). Also if we have got a good one lined up then SACK EVEN AFTER A WIN (remember Everton 4-1 last season - the turning point that wasn't).
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SaintNick added 09:50 - Nov 6
San Marco the three managers in 2004/05 were seamless in suceeeding each other, Paul Sturrock was sacked early August to be immediately replaced by Steve Wigley as permanent manager (he had been temporary the previous season) the day Wigley was sacked in December he was replaced by Redknapp
1

BaselSaint added 10:22 - Nov 6
oh god, Again.
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SanMarco added 10:29 - Nov 6
Thanks Nick, Wigley - that's it. Sorry, forgot that he became 'permanent' (in hindsight he feels like a 'fill in'!!) - and of course no guarantee that Rednapp straight after Sturrock would have made any difference. If we do sack MH I don't want any faffing around 'looking at our options'. I want a suitable replacement ready to go. Palace did it with Hodgson last season and if it has to be Sam it has to be Sam - but straightaway please.
0

dirk_doone added 10:40 - Nov 6
The problem is that each manager Les and Ross finds us is worse than the previous one.

Koeman>Puel>Pellegrino>Hughes>?

If the bookies' short list is anything to go by, there are still even worse, unemployed managers out there, like Pardew, for Les to bring in.

The people who need replacing first are Les Reed and Ross Wilson. We should get our 'black box' Paul Mitchell back to replace both of them and find us the next Pochettino.
8

geezershoong1 added 10:44 - Nov 6
Last time MH took Stoke to City - 7-2 to City. I was fully expecting a whopping.

He's old school - hasn't moved with the times. He has to go - how could you be worse than last season's joker..?
2

dirk_doone added 11:21 - Nov 6
We all knew what we were getting with Hughes: a proven Premier League failure. The trouble is we are now being linked with other proven Premier League failures. What you are pretty much guaranteed with them is more failure.

What we really need is an up and coming manager with recent success, which means recruiting from other leagues, which is how we got Pochettino and Koeman.
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oldeastterrace added 11:25 - Nov 6
It will take more than replacing Mark Hughes to sort this out, if we still have the same dullards in the background making poor decisions on recruitment. We have lost our way, the current playing squad is NOT as good as some think, some serious surgery is required to put this right. So employing another manager is like putting a cherry on a turd. You can't blame the Cherry for what's underneath can you? Until you get the right people in the right places making the right decisions then the new appointment would still face the same problems as Hughes does.
10

arthurfane added 11:36 - Nov 6
I remember Jack Cork saying that playing under Pochettino required "two hearts" such were the demands of his pressing game. It was so refreshing to see us full of energy and intensity - something we haven't seen in quite some time.

Hughes has to go - it's as simple as that. Yes there are issues with the squad on a deeper level, but Southampton will go down this season with Hughes in charge.

In terms of replacing him - any manager who promotes high-energy, attacking football has my vote. A front three of Ings (proven goalscorer in this division), Redmond (looks on top form this season) and Elyounoussi (proven Champions League performer) should be capable of scoring goals.

My top choice (albeit maybe unrealistic): Ralph Hasenhuttl.
4

Sanguin added 11:39 - Nov 6
To be fair, Hughes has worked wonders with Redmond, or maybe the fans are just giving him a break this season.

As with the end of Puel’s reign and all of Pellegrino’s, our problem is still that we’re not scoring. If a couple of draws had been wins this season then we wouldn’t contemplate changing the manager. I don’t think a change of manager will fix our scoring problems, since a change of manager hasn’t helped twice before.

However, given all of the media speculation, I’m not sure Hughes’ position is tenable. It can’t be good for morale.

I would like us to go back to the ruthless streak that saw us sack managers like Pardew and Adkins. While I actually felt grief at Adkins’ sacking, it showed that Les Reed and the Board are on top of the situation. This means that if Hughes is to be dropped then we need to have his replacement already lined up.
5

saintmark1976 added 11:43 - Nov 6
Right, let's sack yet another manager whilst the proven incompetents above him remain in place.As I said yesterday it's simply akin to putting a sticky plaster on a man who is having a heart attack.
8

SanMarco added 12:13 - Nov 6
saintmark1976: For the second time in 24 hours I agree with your point but I suppose if sticking plasters gain you one more point or a 1 better goal-diff it can still be enough. GD essentially saved us last season - it wont with too many 6-1s.
1

highfield49 added 12:41 - Nov 6
Braveheart almost certainly knows more about Derek McInnes than I do but am I mistaken in my belief that he is under pressure from Aberdeen supporters because of his style of play failure to win matches and inability of players brought in to score goals? That isn't written with any attempt of pretending to know the full story so I'm more than happy to be corrected. However, it may also indicate just how difficult it's going to be to find a manager capable of lifting the squad to a greater level of performance. Both Allardyce and Moyes have had proven success but also failed to gel with supporters who actually wanted to enjoy watching their team play football. Hughes has to go before further damage is inflicted on morale but I have no idea who to appoint, if pushed to come up with a name it would have to be Brendan Rodgers who looks as though he's had enough of managing in the Scottish environment and needs a new challenge.
1

bstokesaint added 12:42 - Nov 6
Whatever we do we need to it soon. December’s fixtures look horrible and it would be nice to get a bit of a momentum at least going into them instead of a new guy starting off with a few blanks. I’ll cry if we look at any of the PL failures that do the rounds. We need to brave and we need to spend some money and do it properly. The job in hand is huge. Taking a very average squad to something around mid table would be a start. I’m not sure any of our players have the heart for the fight. We hear stats being bandied about like being a young squad, but it’s not like when you put your own academy into the first team and they feel they have everything to prove for the folks that have got them there and the home fans. Our lot don’t seem to care.

Whatever we do this is short-termism and will not fix the larger problems. I can’t see those issues going away any time soon. We’ve lost our direction and recruitment is joke. Bring back whoever it takes to get things back to how they were.
3

SonicBoom added 13:16 - Nov 6
Who the hell mentioned Nigel Pearson?
1

SaintBrock added 14:06 - Nov 6
Promises, promises! Nothing will change whatever the outcome this weekend.

How can they sack Hughes and his sidekicks when they don't have any money to pay them off; these days we are likely to have to pay a golden "hello" bonus as well juts to get somebody half decent to come in.

2

BoondockSaint added 15:08 - Nov 6
Reading some of the posts I fell like I'm in a pub with a drunk friend who's pining over past girlfriends and I'm shouting "Don't you remember?? They treated you like crap! You couldn't wait to get rid of them!!"

Both Puel and Pellegrino were cut from the same cloth: Get a goal up? Take off the attackers (no matter what stage of the game). Need a goal late in the game? Sub defenders in for forwards. It was a nightmare . Especially since the "Southampton Way" under Koeman/Pochettino/Adkins had been high press attacking football all game long.

Yes we can sack Hughes (I am not arguing against that), but who is going to want to take over this mess? His clone, David Moyes? At the moment, the Saints job is not one that looks like it will help your career. A new manager will be stuck with these players for 10 games. Any manager with any brains will wait until closer to the transfer window and demand money available.

Which brings us to the real problem(s): Ralph and Les.They are now will have to pay out Hughes contract in addition to Puel's and Pellegrino's. All that wasted money (not to mention the transfers of the players those two brought in) would have attracted a proper manager when Koeman left. But they had to go the cheap route as they do with players.

You get what you pay for.
6

EasyTiger added 18:03 - Nov 6
I'm not saying anything more than anyone else - but Reed has to take responsibility for the last 3 years of poor player recruitment & retention and decisions on managers. I'm not one to call for Krueger to go - but my fear is that he is led so much by Reed on footballing matters that he hasn't got the wherewithal to sack him and replace him with the right person.
We should start the recruitment with a new Director of Football (or whatever Reed is called) - someone who has a relationship with a Coach that can come in with a chance of getting us out of this sh1te. I somehow expect we'll get Reed appointing Allardyce where we might get a few half decent results in the short term, but ultimately ending up struggling with a style of play even further away from the days of Pocch & Koeman (and the spirit under Adkins) which we all crave.
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underweststand added 11:40 - Nov 7
Dirk Doone wasn't the first person to mention the name of Alan Pardew.

What ever the "unpublished reasons" for his sudden sacking (2010) he did a real job for Saints in his short time with us. Aside from his chosen signings; Lambert, Harding, Hammond, Jaidi, Fonte, Barnard and Puncheon (not a bad line-up for a side in L1) ...
we got to Wembley and won a Cup, and only missed a play-off spot by a whisker.

Whatever he did right on the football pitch, he did have the knack of making it work.
1


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