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New Twist To Saints Coach Sacking
Monday, 12th Nov 2018 09:28

The media have revealed that there is a new twist to the sacking of Saints Academy director Martin Hunter who departed St Mary's along with Les Reed last week.

The Daily Mail has revealed that Hunter is now under an FA Investigation for alleged racial abuse against former Saints U18 coach Paul Williams.

Hunter arrived at St Mary's in July 2010 shortly after Les Reed arrived at the club, Williams had rejoined the club in late 2009 along with Jason Dodd whom he had just spent a couple of months working with at Aldershot Town.

After Hunters arrival he was promoted in the academy set up and was also assistant to Dodd with the U18 side, this was a productive time for both Williams and Dodd as they had in the academy the likes of Luke Shaw, Callum Chambers and James Ward Prowse to name but a few and they played a role in developing them from schoolboys to fully fledged first team members.

But both were suddenly sacked from their positions in May 2014 in what seemed unusual circumstances, especially as Dodd could be described as a club legend.

It was suggested that they had lost their jobs amid accusations that they did not spend enough time with the Under 16s and that their relationship with Hunter was not cordial.

Now it has been revealed that although Hunter has been sacked by Saints for performance related issues at St Mary's that he is under investigation for alleged racial abuse after a complaint by Paul Williams last year.

It is said that even after the sacking Williams was unwilling to file the complaint for some reason, but now he has done that a and it should be notedhere that they are only that and he is innocent until proven guilty.

He lodged his complaint initially with Saints with Les Reed and the matter was investigated at St Mary’s. The complaint was rejected, with Saints then as part of the process referring the case to the FA.

It is understood Hunter, who worked at the FA for 13 years and had a stint as England Under 19s coach, has now been interviewed by the FA.

It would have been during his time at the FA that he would have come into contact with Les Reed and we can only assume that Hunter's arrival at St Mary's was at Reed's recommendation.

Since leaving Saints for the first time when a player in the summer of 2003 Paul Williams has been a footballing nomad, he courted controversy immediately by agreeing to join Walsall and then reneging on the deal to join Stoke, in his two years with the Potters he played 19 games in his first season and then spent the following season injured before being released and retiring from English football.

Since then he has time at a host of different clubs usually as an assistant manager or coach, many of these spells have been of a relatively short nature usually ending in the sacking of the manager he is assistant to and Williams being dispensed with as part of that, or Williams himself leaving for another job.

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dirk_doone added 11:23 - Nov 12
It makes you wonder how much more will come out about what went on inside the club during the Reed era. It is noticeable that none of the current or ex-players, managers and staff have come out and said they'll miss him.

I remember this headline at the time Reed sacked Dodd and Williams:

"Luke Shaw dismayed as Southampton sack academy coaches Jason Dodd and Paul Williams

Left-back expresses his disappointment at surprise decision to dismiss highly regarded members of St Mary's staff."

The Academy has never been the same since they went. It would be great if we could get them back again now.

underweststand added 11:30 - Nov 12 issue where people skate on very thin ice, and we hope it isn't the tip of an iceberg.
There are certain to be differing comments and explanations on the matter, although it
would seem that only a few people are privy to the whole truth and one hopes that an impartial FA investigation will get to the bottom of it.

A wider issue of concern will be that the club's name may be bandied about in the media (as was the historical incidents involving Mr.Higgins). Whatever the outcome - such alleged behaviour has no place in a club with many players from different countries and cultures, and it is important that everyone is seen to be treated with proper respect. Nuff said !


SanMarco added 12:38 - Nov 12
Well said underweststand

SaintBrock added 14:43 - Nov 12
Nick please be a little more circumspect in even remotely suggesting any possible link between the dismissal of Mr Hunter by SFC and any new investigation of alleged impropriety made against him by a former staff member.


LoisDeem added 15:12 - Nov 12
Some of what you say may be true, but careful you don't run away with the mob rhetoric.
The hanging judge mentality and gauge has not served this club well, and it is apparent that a lot of the players are not impressed with the sacking of Les Reed -especially now that Krueger has signalled his intention to stumble (sorry -march) on regardless!
This may yet prove to be a very costly saving measure?

halftimeorange added 15:34 - Nov 12
I heard Maya Yoshida on Radio Solent saying that the players were disappointed by the removal of Les Reed. Quite frankly, we do not know enough about what's gone on behind the scenes and open speculation is misleading. The relative failure of the academy is concerning but the board must know that. Now they are suggesting that Mark Hughes is the right man to take us forward. We all think not. Only time will tell if the board does know what they are doing. The next time we play a club outside the top five plus Man UI bet there's less than 28,000 in the ground. That should tell them the fans aren't happy.

SanMarco added 17:27 - Nov 12
Can't see why the players would give a stuff about Reed - perhaps they have been ordered to be nice about him...

KriSaint added 22:07 - Nov 12
Being technical director (what ever that means), wasn´t Hunter supposed to link the U23-squad up with ´first team atmosphere` and build a bridge for the U23´s towards the first team? - a bridge that never really ´materialized` in terms of bringing the youngsters close to first team football = failure... that must undoubtedly have had its influence on and played its role in the turmoil and lack of results at the club.
I think his departure could make good sense. The question is who else´s position is threatened? How well is it working between the first team coaches, Watson/Davies and Eddie N./M. Bowen, I wonder...

underweststand added 18:00 - Nov 13
Having had the time to sleep on it, I awoke up asking myself if it really was such a good idea to consider sacking Mark Hughes - even though we having such a bad run?

YES - I'm just as angry and frustrated as the rest of you, but having parted company with both Reed and Hunter (the precise reasons don't enter this arguement) but we will soon be sacking bosses at a faster rate then Donald Trump (!)....right now we need stability but in footballing issues - who is best qualified in the club to interview / employ a new manager at this moment in time. Maybe Les Reed had a file on his desk with potential names to replace Highes (if were he to go )..but who gives the OK to such a deal?

I am not as "anti-Krueger" as some of you seem to be, and I'd be the first to admit that as Chairman his priorities have been elsewhere since he arrived ...that's why we had Reed Co. who (for better or worse) did at least know /understand English football, which is still somewhat of an unknown area to Ralph K.
Whoever is most likely to impress in a potential interview to the Board may have a much bigger task convincing the dressing room and be able to turn things around PDQ.

To have another new manager brought in at this stage may be jumping out of the pot into the fire and make things even worse. At the moment there doesn't seem to be a long list of good, unemployed manager who could handle a Prem.side any better, a point which many other clubs has noted I have, that no Prem. club has sacked their manager so far this season - that must be some sort of record.

Maybe Mark Hughes doesn't have what it takes?..and maybe he is the victim of a side that creates far more chances than they can convert?... but to try and introduce yet another new manager - who doesn't know the squad and might take a month to learn their names seems an even worse recipe for disaster. It would take a very courageous - or a very stupid man to put his reputation on the line just now.


DPeps added 19:36 - Nov 13
I agree with a lot of what Underweststand says. However, for me, Hughes is part of the problem rather than any sort of solution. He seems incapable of motivating the players, we don't look fit (hence throwing away so many leads), and his team selection and tactics are often wrong.

But, Hughes is one problem among many. Another critical problem is that since we sold Fonte and VVD we have lost any leaders on the pitch. As a result, it's hard to tell if it's Hughes giving rubbish instructions or the fault of the players for not putting these instructions into practice.

To my mind, if we stick with Hughes and this set of players then we're effectively banking on 3 teams being worse. That worked last year, I'm not sure it will this time round. More proactive changes would involve replacing Hughes and/or buying in a true leader on the pitch. But, as Underweststand says, who would want to manage us and who would sign for us?

As far as a manager is concerned, I'm getting to a point where I'd rather have a hungry younger coach who has some football philosophy that our players can buy into. The Bristol City coach Lee Johnson has done good things in the past, although they have been on a poor run lately. At least he knows the championship!

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