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Hasenhuttl Talks Of His Long Term Plans For Saints
Tuesday, 19th Mar 2019 12:27

Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken to the Daily Echo about his long term plans for the club and the important role the academy will play in it.

The first job for Ralph Hasenhuttl is of course to keep Southampton Football Club in the Premier League and so far he has made a good job of doing that and our League position belies the job he has actually done with his points per game ratio since his arrival being one of a mid table even top 10 team.

The problem over the past few years though has been that several of our managers have not thought long term, you cannot blame them for that, a manager arrives at a Premier League club outside of the top six and his aim is survival, he is not interested in the potential of youth only of signing those who can hopefully immediately improve the team and thus keep him in a job.

That has been the case in our last three managers prior to Hasenhuttl and it could also be levelled at Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino, truth is these days Premier League clubs blood very few youngsters who actually make the first team for any significant time, indeed from the 24 man England Under 20 squad back in 2012, only 6 including our own James Ward Prowse are now playing in the Premier League, most are at best n the Championship and some below that.

So it is refreshing to hear Ralph Hasenhuttl talking about looking long term and the academy playing a part of that.

Much has been made of The Southampton Way and certainly over the years we have produced more than most starting with Ted Bates back in the 1950's, it should also be noted that after the emergence of what could be described as our golden period in the late 1980's early 1990's and the likes of Le Tissier, Shearer etc, for well over a decade we produced relatively few home grown stars up to the emergence of Theo Walcott when the conveyor belt burst back into life.

Few people will want to give him credit for this, but we do owe Rupert Lowe a thank you here, for it was he back in 1999 who completely revamped the youth team set up and put focus on it, Lowe might have been far from perfect as a Chairman, but he should be given praise where he has done well and we do owe him for this.

Ralph Hasenhuttl had this to say about his plans for the club.

“I know the Under-23s are doing very well,”

“It’s important for the young players that they know we are looking at them.

“A lot of them are now a part of our training sessions and get the chance to show up and train with the first team professionals.

“I think this part helps because they have more motivation and it makes them work harder.

“They also know that it’s a tough way to come up because it doesn’t mean that if you are part of the first team once that you will stay there.

“You have to show in every training session that you deserve to be there.”

Hasenhuttl also revealed he has regular meetings with Radhi Jaidi the Academy U23 coach.

“Every time we have the chance to speak about young players, we do it. I need this feedback,”

“I need to have a good view in this team with one of my assistant coaches [Craig Fleming] who knows every player in the Under-23s.

“When they are coming up to us, he is the first manager who speaks to them and to take care of them.

“He works on their deficits, so he has a good relationship with them which helps me.

“At the moment, we are concentrating on our team because this situation takes every person of my team to work with the first team.

“But for the future, I have big plans for the academy.

“I want to bring a good philosophy to Southampton Football Club.”

This is harking back to the early years of the Liebherr era when we were able to reap the rewards with the likes of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and James Ward Prowse to name but three breaking through, they had been at the club pre the Liebherr era but the work had been done in the past decade to make sure we signed the best youngsters in our catchment area.

The Austrian manager is keen to keep integrating with the first team, his method is one of encouragement and support and showing them what they could achieve and helpng them to do so.

“At the moment we have [Jake] Vokins and [Kayne] Ramsay.

“We also have Alife Jones, who was on loan but is back now, and Josh Sims.

“We have Yan Valery and Matt Targett, who are also players coming up from the Under-23s.

“There still a few guys we have in our focus.

“There is still the chance for them to show up and if we make the decision then it doesn’t take long for them to get their chance to play.”

The good news for Saints supporters is that Hasenhuttl is talking long term, of course managers will come and go, but it seems that Ralph is keen to stay for a longer period than his predecessors and that when he does leave he leaves behind a club with a strategy and a philosophy that will sustain them going forward, something we have lacked in the past couple of years.

The message out of St Mary's seems to be that the past is the past and the future is the future, that they are clearing the decks of some of the more experienced players to not only give the youngsters the chance, but also to be able to bring in key signings in the summer.

It will be hard to offload all they would like to and it could be some might return and be reintegrated into the squad, but the message is clear, their is now a strategy in place and going forward the future can be very bright.

But before this can all happen we need to make sure we stay up, that needs everyone behind the club, after the win over Fulham and the display at Manchester United you felt that there was a change in mindset not only in the squad but the supporters, the accounts then showing that Gao was not taking money out of the club then silenced a few of the sceptics leading to an atmosphere at St Mary's for the Spurs game not seen for a long time.

At that game the fans were with the team from the start to the finish and raored it home, the difference between now and a year ago is light years, The Southampton Way is slowly but surely returning to it's true path.

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bstokesaint added 12:40 - Mar 19
I’d like to think Ralph has more integrity than Ron and Poch, but you just don’t know these days. I’m glad we’re going back to using the youngsters. I just hope we find a way of keeping them. Liverpool are currently on the cusp of winning things again and I still maintain that could have been us if our youngsters had been a little more patient and not so easily tempted elsewhere. We were really good under Poch and Ron and would only have improved with wise investment.
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A1079 added 12:58 - Mar 19
What price integrity in football bstokesaint?

Like you, I would like to think he sees us as a long term venture, but I don't think he sees us as any more than a stepping stone. He hinted as much when he joined. He wants to do well in the PL, he has not suggested that is with Saints. Of course, it is to his benefit that he has a modicum of success with us (whatever success with Saints is considered to be) so he gets the recognition and interest from elsewhere, but as soon as a "bigger" club with more potential for trophies or European football, he will be off. But, we have to get the best out of him whilst we have him and hope, that for a spell at least, he makes being a Southampton fan an enjoyable experience again - he hasn't done too bad so far.

It would have been interesting to see what his answer would have been had he been asked what would be his plans if he was not successful at keeping us up? Strange that the journalist did not ask this, unless there were restrictions on the questions.

I would like to think he is a long term stay, but I am philisophical (or cynical - thin line between the two) about these things.
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BaselSaint added 14:31 - Mar 19
With no more Les that's one less muppet to p*ss him off. Hopefully we can pay him the going rate, show him we apppreciate his work and retain him for a decent length of time?
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underweststand added 16:37 - Mar 19
Good news and I'm glad you (Nick) named Ted Bates as the first to utilise "young players" in his squad. Anyone of my generation can recall years of enjoyment watching John Sydenham and Terry Paine as teenagers and seeing them progress into the first team. I also agree with - bstoke saint - that despite good results both Poch and Koeman didn't go out of their way to promote youngsters so much as they claimed. Those who followed them tried to bolster up the side with expensive, but often disappointing foreign imports andig nored good younger prospects already on the books.

We've always had "youth players" in the club, and even Alan Shearer admitted he started in a "teenage" YTS project job with Saints before he was old enough to sign as a Pro.
A lot of credit must go to Dave Merrington, who given the job of youth team manager by Lawrie Mac later produced star names who stayed with us for years; MLT, Shearer, the Wallace's, Maddison, Benali, Kenna, Dodd all made sizeable careers in Saints colours.

People always argue "the Academy" - didn't exist in earlier years- "a rose by any name " yet I actually watched a Rupert Lowe interview where he talked about the concept of an "Academy " even though it didn't come to life until several years later. However during this time, we did manage to bring forth a pretty good LB in ...Wayne Bridge .
The relegation to L1 saw the Receiver forcibly selling the likes of former Academy players like Andrew Surman and Nathan Dyer in order to bring in cash, and "whoever" later decided to cut funding for the fledgling Academy (Cortese?) which had produced Walcott and Bale also saw a certain... Tyrone Mings ...going out the door to try and re-kindle his career elsewhere.
If we decide to sign him (rumoured) it will cost more than a few million to get him back.

Too often clubs think signing an experienced manager can cure all evils, yet it seldom happens. If we look back on this period in years to come...it might be the thing that we most remember our Chairman Ralph K. for.... will be his inspired signing of... Ralph H.

I don't expect to see a Prem.side of 11 starters, but the idea of fielding 4 or 5 regulars of "our own" now seems a more likely prospect under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
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landerwal added 17:14 - Mar 19
Hopefully Ralph Hasenhuttl is an honest manger and means what he says. Unfortunately many of us thought Koeman was an honest manger who had the gall to blame his leaving on Southampton football club when he left for the mega bucks. If Ralph sticks by what he said to the Echo,the board give him their full backing and supporters don't expect miracles in the short term he could build with the Academy and a few shrewd signings, have a team that in a few seasons could be one of the best in the Premiership.
Just to add to the players mentioned by underweststand, we also produced Martin Chivers, who we able to sell, because we had Mick Channon coming through the ranks and not forgetting a certain Matt le Tissier, an academy player par excellence.
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Jesus_02 added 17:19 - Mar 19
@underweststand. Lowe invested in an academy but also invested in a radio station. He bought so many average players that statistically he would get one or two right. Morgan Schneiderlin was one although he cost 1m. The problem with Lowes model was that he thought he could train players like horses. As long as they had a sporting background and a decent physique the club could transform them into worlds stars. This he achieved with Kenwyn Jones.. but we had to constantly watch KJ for about 3 seasons when he was utter garbage until he started playing well... then we sold him.

Also just a point of Fact. Cortese invested heavily in the academy and in the training set up, So much so that it has been criticized as excessive. It was the trust in the youth accompanied by the top players at each level that lead to successive promotions. This was what was branded "the Southampton way".

Potch did continue to trust in the younger players but these where sold when Cortese left the club and our ambition changed. The first person to lose faith in the youth was Ronald Koeman. And did he really lose faith or had we just sold the best ones. I would suggest that it was easier to have faith in Luke Shaw than it was to have faith in Matt Target and RK was at the club at a time that we saw Shaw, Lallana, Clyne , Chambers leave along with the senior players that had been successful. The balance was lost. To be honest I think what RK achieved was incredible considering the instability, I know I will be unpopular saying it , but is there any wonder he left.

Maybe now Les has gone , maybe we can start re-building the skill levels that will support our youngsters. We need to stop buying average players, reduce the volume and increase the quality of the senior players and start playing the youth.

I am hopeful this is what RH wants.
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underweststand added 18:14 - Mar 19
MY FOLLOW_UP... add to those 1980's players . Steve Moran. How did I forget him?

to landerwal, ... I failed to mention Martin Chivers by name and who (like Nick Holmes), was actually born in the City (except we were still a " town " at the time). Both gave sterling service during their time with Saints. Holmes stayed . Chivers didn't.

to Jesus 02 ...I didn't say Lowe made a big success of the Academy - he didn't but he did initiate the concept. Many lads who are good at schoolboy level never make it to the higher level. Indeed Schneiderlin was a good signing, but many others have made careers in the League, albeit at a lower level (L1/L2).

I once met Terry Spinner in the late 1970's . A schoolboy CF who scored a hatful of goals in his teens. Travelled with England Schoolboys (U16 at the tíme) to Germany and scored a hatrick watched by 70,000 German fans. ! He continued his goal spree with Saints Youth sides, but ended up as understudy to... Ron Davies. You can guess the rest.

Even Lawrie McMenemy didn't always get it right - rumour has it we had both Dennis Wise and Kevin Phillips as youth players - and he let both them go - as being too small.

I've followed the U18/ U23 sides closely for a few seasons and many never make it past the U18 stage and its even tougher to get into the U23's - and stay, but I'm sure any young lad who doesn't make it( at this level) will look good to some other clubs with "Southampton Academy" on his CV. But we can still miss them first time around.

Danny Ings left aged 10, I already named Mings and even Sam Vokes was on Saints books... as a boy. Quite a few of the present bunch have been with us since they were aged 8, and I think Ward-Prowse came at age 12 ?..or 13 .

The secret is to have confidence in their potential and have the right sort of manager(s) who will encourage them (as Rahdi and Ralph) seem to have been doing of late.


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1970 added 19:55 - Mar 19
in order to sustain a decent academy of even one very good graduate per season we would need at least 6 quality coaches more than we have we would also need a spine of players that have good skills like leaderships, skill and ability so when these young players make the first team they get what the shirt means we have none of those things now so ask yourself are we going to get them?
the media are still clambering over the fact that poch brought through all our youngsters in recent times even JWP so believe what you will but the facts are behind the scenes we are miles off producing quality youngsters that can compete in the prem valery excluded as he is the only one for an ages,
the club need to do the little things confidently as well like start winning cups and league titles at youth level instead of skimming the squads as soon as some talent may emerge get some winning experience which is crucial in their development instead of finishing third or losing semi-finalists as usual,
ralph is a good guy and the reason we are still in the fight for another year in the prem but as mentioned above he will go as soon as we all know that. coyr
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SaintBrock added 14:07 - Mar 20
Needs must I suppose but will he stay long enough? That sadly will always be the question at the back of fan's minds.

There is another interpretation of this public statement, that Saints are actively telling all aspiring young footballers in Europe, come join us and we will guarantee you'll get an early shot at playing PL football in our team.

Almost certainly aimed at the super talented kids who otherwise would queue up to join the academies of the top 6 clubs but end up being loaned out or bench warming and deeply disillusioned. What's wrong with that?
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