Hasenhuttl Feels The Supporters Will Be Vital
Friday, 7th Dec 2018 10:13
New Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is not underestimating the role the fans will need to play if the club is to achieve it's aims.
Speaking on the official site this morning the Austrian has shown that he has perhaps been reading social media as he did his own due diligence on Southampton Football Club before deciding to join.
If his namesake Ralph Krueger and his board have perhaps underestimated the importance of the supporters to a football club in the past couple of years it appears that Hasenhuttl does not.
That would be natural having played and managed in Germany for much of his career, a country where all the clubs are what is known as 50 % +1 fan owned and now has perhaps the most organised and influential supporters groups in Europe.
In his first day of employment you can see why the Austrian has been likened to Jurgen Klopp, he has an enthusiasm for the game and for everything surrounding it, he has a personality and he wears his heart on his sleeve.
Saints fans have been crying out for passion from the club itself, Hasenhuttl certainly has that and has a personality and passion that no Saints manager has ever had before, yes we have had managers with a love for the club, we have had managers who have done a good job, but ultimately few ever engaged with the supporters.
In recent years Ronald Koeman was perhaps the nearest to Hasenhuttl, he had personality, Mauricio Pochettino was respected, but he was hard to either like or dislike as at Saints he refused to speak English at press conferences so never truly engaged with the supporters, Gordon Strachan had that fire in him, but they like most of those that came before or after them always seemed to have that detachment, you never really thought they cared
In the longer past the nearest to Hasenhuttl would have been Alan Ball and this is no bad thing to compare the Austrian with the sadly departed legend not just at Saints but in World football, but I think Hasenhuttl has that little bit more than Ball in that like Klopp although he played professional football, he will first and foremost be known as a manager rather than a player and in modern football that is fast becoming the trend, the best managers are those that never reached the truly big heights as a player, they are thinkers who have to work that much harder to earn respect rather than relying on their status to get by.
I can accept Hasenhuttl being compared to Klopp, many Saints fans don't feel that way, they hate Klopp, but perhaps some of that is because of the fraught relationship between Saints and Liverpool over the past 5 years, the Merseyside club are seen as having pillaged us far too often.
But the fact is the same fans who hate Klopp have been bemoaning the lack of passion, the lack of understanding from Southampton Football Club from top to bottom, speak to Liverpool fans they will tell you they were saying the same things till the arrival of Klopp, they will tell you all is still not right with the owners, but they will also tell you Klopp has united them and they love him for that.
So Hasenhuttl is going to be compared to Klopp, he is going to be called "Klopp Of The Alps" but you just get the feeling that this is not a bad thing.
Speaking about the Saints Supporters on the club's official website he said
"In every club I have been working until now it was the most important thing for me, because I know that it is very important that they help us when it is going tough, when it is a difficult situation,” said the new Southampton manager.
“I think the best example was on Wednesday, at the end of the match, you felt that the supporters never stopped helping them on the pitch.
“I want to take them with us. That's always what I have preferred to do at my former clubs, because the kind of football we want to play is to show them that, even if we don't win, we have done everything to do so.
“When we as a club develop in every situation, and also the fans, I think something can grow here which is remarkable.”
But he also knows it's one step at a time and the first target is to pull clear of relegation.
"There are really two targets at the moment, The first is the near future, and in the near future the only target has to be to stay in this division.
“That’s tough enough, so that's the main goal at the moment – do everything with first decisions to get out of this zone where we are at the moment.
“Nine points after 15 matches is not a really good return. That's too less to make it one year again in this division.
“The first goal is to get out of this zone and raise your performance to a higher level.
“But also there is a mid-term target we have, to develop this club in all directions.”
Ralph Hasenhuttl is a manager who is being touted for bigger things, his six month spell without a club was his choice, he is focused on where his career is going and making the right choices , he sees Saints as a club able to progress his career and he as a person who can progress the club's.
It's time now for the supporters to get behind Ralph Hasenhuttl and the team and all kick in the right direction to help him achieve his first target of keeping Saints in the Premier League.
This doesn't mean that all is OK with Southampton Football Club as a whole, they still need to improve their performance off the field and show that they have a plan and they have a vision, Ralph Hasenhuttle clearly thinks they have but they have told him far more then they have told us the supporters.
It is now a tale of two Ralph's, one has spoken and asked the fans to back him and his team and promised that they will give 100% on the field, if we want him to succeed then we have to do that, stop the bickering, stop the snide comments on social media and find our pride again in Southampton Football Club, you just get the feeling that Ralph Hasenhuttl could be the man to deliver that.
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