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Saints Need Backroom Overhaul
Thursday, 10th Oct 2019 07:50

We recently highlighted the experience lacking in Saints coaching staff, the departure of Ross Wilson is the opportunity to revamp the Saints backroom team.

Just how inexperienced the first team coaching staff at St Mary's had become had slipped through the radar a little of late and our article on Tuesday came as a big shock for some.

The truth is the likes of Kelvin Davis and Dave Watson and Craig Fleming should only be promoted to first team duties as part of an experienced and established coaching set up not as the backbone of it and our coaching staff is now lacking in not only experience and respect, but the know how needed to get the best out of players.

The board now need to recognise this and bring in another coach, one that has that experience lacking in the top leagues and can bring in fresh ideas to a training regime that seems to no longer be getting the best out of players.

He also needs to be a sounding board for Ralph Hasenhuttl, a man who can provide good advice and whom he can bounce ideas off, this does not seem to be the case at present, certainly from the coaches whom have been at the club before his arrival.

Ralph has his own man in, but he was not so much of a direct replacement for Danny Rohl but another who is learning his trade as a coach after coming through the ranks in a different role.

So the board and Ralph need to sit down and bring someone in who can not only implement Ralph's way of doing things but bring in new and innovative ideas.

That does not seem to be happening of late and when you have so many coaches all of whom have been at the club before a manager there is a danger of divisions forming in the back room staff, have the likes of Davis, Watson & Fleming truly got the manager's back or are they more concerned about covering their own backs.

Saints back room set up is based on continuity, when a new manager comes in the core of the coaching staff remains, he brings in an assistant and maybe one other coach.

That is a good way of doing things but has it's drawbacks, the first being as mentioned the in situ coaches can distance themselves from the manager when things aren't going well so they aren't seen as part of the problem and sacked by the club if the manger is ditched.

Secondly they can be too near to the board and director of football etc for comfort and can have undue influence over them.

Thirdly in this case is the balance can be wrong and whilst I am throwing no accusations in the first two instances, in the this third one it is plainly clear that we do not have enough balance in the coaching staff it is all inexperience and no one who can command the respect of the squad.

So the board need to act on this and act on it fast, Ralph Hasenhuttl needs to be backed in what he is doing at the club for the long term and just as importantly the short term, clearly something is wrong as we don't have the drive and intensity that we had ast season.

That doesn't just come from the managers team talk but the training and coaching midweek, it has to be fresh and innovative, it needs to make the players desperate to get out there on Saturday and when they do all know their roles and what they need to do.

All of this is lacking, it is not going to come from our current coaches, they might get what it takes in the future, but not at present.

Urgency on this from the board is required, a new broom needs to sweep clean.

Photo: Action Images

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DorsetIan added 08:07 - Oct 10
This board doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to fixing urgent problems.

New experienced central defender, anyone?

underweststand added 09:41 - Oct 10
There are several issues here...The Board, the players and the coaches.
The coaches surely have some degree of "respect " based on their own pedigree.
Dave Watson (former England coach ). Kelvin Davis..longest serving Saints goalie..and Craig Fleming who has overseen U18/U23 sides and Rahdi Jaidi (ex-player now U23 coach). This sort of continuity is necessary when new faces arrive. They get players fit and pass on experience to our young talents and it's upto the manager to pick the side and define tactics.

Employing people is the Board's job and based on their CV and past results.
Everyone has a career to consider, and my first thought upon Saints appointing Ross Wilson was .. I wonder how long he will stay? ...a Scotsman living on the South Coast is still a Scotsman ... but the idea of working for Celtic or Rangers must be the height of success north of the border.

New players who move from; another league in another country are in for a shock when they go up against the likes of the Liverpool's and the Chelsea's at the top end of Prem. and even the more experienced heads can't always steady the ship.

So it's all down to the manager - and his very young squad - who need to be moulded into a team good enough (1) to survive in the Prem. and (2) improve year on year.
YES- we have made bad buys but those idiotic fees on the likes of Pogba and Coutinho doubled the fees of players for the rest of the "less wealthy clubs" in the Prem. and the problem has become even worse in the last few seasons .
Remember: Fulham spent £100 million before last season - and still got relegated and Aston Villa don't look much better so far this season.

We still have some square pegs who (in time) may find their best role in the side, but the cost of a player is more than just the fee we pay to get him. Long contracts to keep them and the hope that they won't become " too good" and then allow Liverpool to come on another "shopping trip" down to SMS.

It's still early season and the new buys need to adjust and despite the number of defenders at our disposal.. we still haven't found the right formula at the back.
We may see a few more bad results before things get better, but I'm beginning to sense the signs of increased "nappy" sales from some of the contributors on here.


highfield49 added 10:21 - Oct 10
Quite simply Nick I'm not convinced by your argument. RH is his own man and I can't see him warming to the sort of individual you are describing, whoever it might be. The first priority has to be to get a leader on the pitch who inspires and drives the team. PEH is probably well liked within the squad, and to some extent leads by example with his energy in midfield, but he is not an organiser or commander. Where is he when the players are deciding amongst themselves who is going to take a free kick? Not only have we not replaced Fonte as a defender but also as a leader. The team has been without an on field leader for three years, no-one to pick them up and fight as a unit, and no candidates within the squad. Experienced, respected, tough, dominant central defenders apply to St Mary's asap.

1970 added 10:22 - Oct 10
Underweststand you make some valid points but the reason we haven't found the right formula amongst the many defenders we have is because they are not good enough individually or collectively and to suggest we have only to put up with a few more defeats then we can come good is the sort of statement I'd expect from the club in panic
the club have made mistakes and still do even with les reed and Krueger gone so who is it that is making the mistakes
what are the club doing to learn from them the answer is nothing because they wont confess to any wrong doing for at least two years then its just too late,

dirk_doone added 11:32 - Oct 10
Very good article, Nick. Kelvin Davis was promoted from his job as a 'club ambassador' to first team coach on the strength of getting his first coaching badge while Dave Watson's poor record as a goalkeeping coach has led to a decline in the performance of every goalkeeper who has arrived at the club. He is now coaching outfield players on the strength of that.

So, we have two first team coaches with no previous experience of coaching outfield players and even their own experience as goalkeepers seems to have made our goalkeepers worse. This is amateurish and shambolic. There should have been a clear out when Hughes and Reed left.

SonicBoom added 11:41 - Oct 10
There's a lot of assumptions and speculation in that article.
You've looked at the experience in the coaching staff and assumed that is the problem. Is there any proof? Or anecdotal evidence that players are unhappy with the coaches?

wemarch added 13:55 - Oct 10
Proof has been mentioned in the article and so many posts and replies recently if you take 5 mins to go through! Players may feel quite happy with these inexperienced coaches but eventually their performance are that matters, they may have a laugh at training with them but had minimal improvements, that can't be good to anyone, do u agree?

BoondockSaint added 14:30 - Oct 10
It's a formula for failure. New managers/coaches in all sports clear house and bring in "their people". They want to set things up the way they want, with people they have confidence in, people who are on the same page as to training methods, tactics, talent spotting, etc. After all, it's their head on the block if things don't go right.

Managers have enough to do getting the players to buy into their methods, they can't be hampered by having to win over the backroom staff as well. When the backroom staff knows they won't be let go no matter what, they have the attitude "We'll still be here when they sack him." It leads to insubordination and anonymous leaks to the press.

Why would any manager agree to that? Is that why in the past few years when the Saints have been linked to a manager, they immediately say they are not interested because they know they will not be completely in control?

landsdownsaint added 15:09 - Oct 10
Not sure I agree with the article ,I think it’s down to buying players that aren’t PL standard , I spoke to some Brum fans over the weekend & they said they were sad to see Adams leave but there’s no way he’s PL standard , I understand there only fans but they seemed to understand what it takes to be a good PL striker , regards the coaching we need an old school coach the likes of sammy Lee to tell Ralph he’s in the PL & it’s best to have a game plan & to tell him it ain’t like any other league in the world !

Jesus_02 added 15:15 - Oct 10
Ralph needs a good right hand man. I don't think he has that at the moment. Koeman had his brother and Sam. It showed.

halftimeorange added 16:00 - Oct 10
I'm unconvinced by the coaching set-up. We see the same players making the same mistakes week in week out and you can add to that the succession of goalkeepers who have lost their confidence at St Marys. What really summed it up for me was Callum Slattery being subbed in the U-23 promotion final against Newcastle after running the game all the time he was on the pitch. His removal saw young Saints under pressure. How close is he to the first team? From what I've seen he should be blooded as our playmaker. He can't be any worse than JWP so I don't believe they do know what they're doing behind the scenes and Ralph definitely needs help and support.

arfurdent added 17:19 - Oct 10
club cannot afford decent coaches

saintmark1976 added 18:39 - Oct 10
We've got a decent coach already, unfortunately it sits outside the ground on match days.

Seriously though I'm of a different view to the majority of contributors on this subject in that I would suggest we have too many coaches at St Mary's. Football is a simple game and once a player has the basics the rest is down to natural ability and having a footballing brain.Could any coach make Redmond stop passing the ball when he should shoot or stop J W P from passing the ball sideways or backwards continually? Somehow I doubt it given that in both these examples the players are in their mid twenties. To use an old footballing expression " you've either got it or you haven't". Regretfully they haven't and the same applies to many other members of our current squad.

giospag added 00:06 - Oct 11
I've been saying for a while we haven't been the same since Sammy Lee left. I think he was very important to our club. He's been successful most places he's been to as a coach (maybe not as manager when stepping in...). He knows the PL inside out and integral to a lot of Koemans success imo.

davidargyll added 07:12 - Oct 11
Underweststand makes some very good points. Surely the sign of a good coach regardless of where he’s come from is getting a bunch of players of differing skills and ability to play their best AS A TEAM. I do not think by and our players look pissed off like Pogba, they look inept and are not playing to their potential. Whether RH is the man to get them to do this as I have said I am starting to doubt...

davidargyll added 07:45 - Oct 11

LoisDeem added 10:22 - Oct 11
I'd like the club to entertain a more open forum that included caring club legends amongst the knowledgeable fanbase. This kind of talking shop -whilst not denigrating Nick and my fellow fans -would open out this debate and provide some serious pointers (to anyone listening within the club?). Why the local paper -which surely has no conflict of 'interests', unlike the radio and TV -is not seizing upon these pertinent questions being raised by the Ugly and others, I am at a loss.

For example, I'd dearly love Ralph to meet Nigel Adkins or Pearson, they surely have more than passionate management in common, and they may provide a more permanent sounding board or current 'local' knowledge going forward.

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