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Back To The Southampton Way
Tuesday, 15th Oct 2019 14:37

The departure of Head of Recruitment Ross Wilson is seen as a positive turn of events by Saints as they look to get back to the "Southampton Way"

Only time will tell whether the departure of Ross Wilson to Rangers will turn out to be a new beginning or the start of a new era, but for the moment it is seen as a step in the right direction by the club who are keen to put the last couple of years behind them and move forward with fresh impetus.

Wilson's time at St Mary's initially started well with the recruitment of Virgil Van Dijk, however how much he had to do with that signing is questionable given that the club had initially tried to sign the Celtic central defender the previous summer and had been linked with him for well over a year.

Since then it has been a mixed bag of signings, some have been successful some less so, but just who has been responsible for scouting some of the players is blurred as t whether it was Wilson, Les Reed or the incumbent manager at the time.

Certainly this has led to issues that have seen the club fall over the last two years into a relegation battle and they are now keen to avoid this season becoming the third in a row.

There are plenty of rumours going around at the moment, but these are just rumours and so far nothing substantial other than the usual mischief makers trying to turn drama's into crisis's to suit their own agenda.

Now though the club are keen to start afresh and from this perspective the departure of Wilson now leaves no one left at the club for the finger to be pointed at with Reed, Krueger and now this latest news meaning that the broom has now swept completely clean.

Now with Martin Semmens running things according to the Daily Echo:

"there is a desire to get back to the ‘Southampton Way", and to replace Wilson with the right person to drive forward a refreshed vision of the club"

"The Daily Echo understands that Saints are comfortable with the structure they have and the personnel leading the other areas of the club, but feel they need a proven expert in player trading.."

"There is clearly much work to be done to the squad to restore Saints to a team regularly battling for the top ten, starting with shifting on a large amount of deadwood while also trying to bring in enough quality within their budget to improve."

"Saints remain committed to manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and are fully bought into his plans and vision for the squad and are now seeking the right person to deliver for him."

The paper is clearly being briefed on the new plans and further say

"owner Gao Gisheng is understood to be fully behind this new direction for Saints and there is a general acceptance that it will take a number of transfer windows to make the full extent of changes that are needed to have Hasenhuttl’s new look Saints look to the future with renewed optimism following some tricky times at St Mary’s."

Wilson had stepped into Les Reed's shoes after his departure and had been combining both jobs but now there seems to be a clear path to divide these jobs back into two and have one man who will deal only in player recruitment and seemingly bring in a football man to take over the football operations side of things.

This I hope is the case as after the departures there is a clear lack of people with knowledge of running a sporting operation on the board at St Mary's.

Some of the less enlightened critics of the club were swift to disparage Krueger as an ice hockey coach, but the fact was he was also an experienced business man with knowldege of running big sporting franchises in the USA, the fact that his background was ice hockey was irrelevant, the key fact was he knew what made sport and sports fans tick.

Krueger oversaw the most consistent period in the clubs history in terms of top flight finishes, but some could not see past his ice hockey background citing similarities between him and Sir Clive Woodward as evidence, when the reality that the two situations were totally different.

Now though we have cleared the decks for action, what the future holds is uncertain, but that is the case for virtually every football club except those big clubs able to buy their way out of any situation.

This being the case, we the supporters have to back the new regime to do well and more importantly give them the chance to do so, the old guard is gone and we have to stop harping on about the past and give the new one a chance to show what they can do.

As the Daily Echo points out, unless you can buy your way out of things and have unlimited money this is not going to be a quick fix, we need to be patient and give them that chance.

There are very few buyers out there for football clubs who are willing to spend unlimited cash to buy their way to the top and as Everton have found out, cash does not provide any quick fixes as four years after poaching Ronald Koeman they are in a worse position than before.

We have to stop wishing for what we haven't got and have never had, despite the rhetoric supplied by one of our former Chairmen, to survive and prosper we have to do things the Southampton Way and that is not splashing the cash !

Photo: Action Images

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saintlee added 14:54 - Oct 15
Wilson really is no or at the very least, little loss. For the last few years our recruitment has not exactly set the premier league alight. We never replaced Fonte, Van Dijk, Pelle or Mane although after 2 games it seems everyone seems to Djenepo is Mane reincarnated. We will see about that. Hoedt, Carrillo, Elyanousi and Vestergaard for starters, none of which have been a success. Coincidence? I don't think so !!!
Onwards and upwards I say.
Paul Mitchell anyone 😁😁

landsdownsaint added 16:30 - Oct 15
That job would be a great job share for MLT & Franny

A1079 added 17:35 - Oct 15
The Southampton Way, the Solent Way or any other way, the only way I want to see is to get back to winning ways, especially at home, which seems as rare as a drought in Yorkshire.

I don't need organisational or corporate speak or brandings, I just want to enjoy watching Saints play again and unfortunately, for all their messing around in the background over recent years, enjoying Saints play has become and all too infrequent experience.

underweststand added 18:39 - Oct 15
All teams go in phases, but after a generational /or/ managerial change things can start to go wrong and players fall by the wayside and can't find a place in the set-up.
Koeman bought 8 players (or was it 9?) after he arrived and our European adventures soon boosted everyone's confidence. Problem was that everyone thought it was a real level but instead was only a "blip" and as soon as we lost the likes of Mane, Pelle and VvD. we were back to our mediocre selves in a "bottom-end" Prem. struggle.
Convinced that they could do no wrong, Reed and Wilson between them bought in the "square pegs" that everyone names, and for various reasons successive managers tried to change the formula and all neglected the Academy prospects who came and went.

For better or worse, we are stuck with a number of these expensive "misfits" for several years more whilst we still search for a solution which seemingly can only be resolved by buying even more low-end price deals in the hope of finding a new Bednarek , or Cedric.

We should remember that not every Academy starlet makes the grade, I think only one other player from Gareth Bale's generation is still playing football at a good level, and most of the rest have either left football , or continue at a much lower level.

Even Koeman wasn't keen to bring in youngsters, and neither Puel or Pellegrino seemed that interested and Hughes ignored them altogether and only played older heads.

Ralph has shown that he's not afraid to give youngsters a chance, but it takes time to gell and they need experience that can't be afforded at this level. Loan-outs are the answer for a promising talent. The teenage Harry Kane started the first of his 6 loan-outs before making Spurs first team , and the Chelsea lads who ran rings around us last game have all had their spell of loans to lower league sides in an attempt to find better form.
Names like Harrison Reed, Jake Hesketh and Josh Sims need to impress when out on loan if we are to see them return and get a real chance at first team football with Saints.

The Southampton Way is a fine ideal but we cannot expect to replace team members on a regular basis unless we can bring in those with the best chance of success.

BoondockSaint added 19:59 - Oct 15
While they have the broom out, how about the backroom staff discussed in a previous posting??

" will take a number of transfer windows..."
Translation: The owner's not putting any more money in, so just accept the fact that Saints will not be very active in the transfer market for years. Usually teams try to be optimistic for the fans and say " we need a couple of transfer windows to sort it out" Looks like Saints are telling us to prepare for years of mediocrity.

I don't know if this makes me a fully fledged member of the "unenlightened" club, but my criticism of Krueger was not that he had a hockey background (Every fan from every sport knows what makes sport and sports fans tick-WINNING!), it was the fact that he only had a minor league coaching background.

Nick I can't understand why you keep repeating this falsehood that Ralph had "......knowledge of running big sporting franchises in the USA...." This is simply not true. Come on, name just one! What really confuses me is that you have said in the past you have followed the NHL so you can't claim you are confused.

P.S. Krueger is now in his (only ) second coaching job in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres and has them off to a great start, and best of luck to him....but remember they hired him as Coach, he answers to Jason Botterill the General Manager. It's he who oversees the hiring/drafting/trading of players (and coaches).

bstokesaint added 12:20 - Oct 16
Agree with Boondock up to a certain extent. I think this does mean the owners are looking to skimp on signings, if we scrape survival. Personally I liked Ralph. I think he must have done something right given his position and the success we had during that time. Whether the new setup will get us back to successful ways is still a matter of debate. What worries most is “The Southampton Way” is about being a self sustaining venture, a team full of exciting young prospects. Arguably you could also say it’s about flogging the Crown Jewels to line the owner’s pockets! Depends on what side of the fence you sit. What is less debatable though is I’m not sure anyone considered the long term damage and culture change of adapting to a system where first team players see the club as nothing more than a short term stepping stone. And when players don’t get what they want they strike. I’m fed up with big club plastics taunting us about who they’ll poach next.

KohSamuiSaints added 17:20 - Oct 16
Hi again from Koh Samui Thailand ... I have read every saints supporters comments , and agree that now the backroom has been totally spring cleaned a couple of new positions should be available to put in place people of quality and passion that can or knows of new talent to bring to the club ... I managed at non league level and when I first took my managers position I already knew of quality players as friends that would instantly improve the team I was going to manage ... after bringing success to this team I was approached by what was the biggest non league team in the area and asked if I would take over as there manager ... I accepted and when I took over I took 6 of the players I had signed for my last club because I knew them and would make the new team stronger ... we won the top non league and the local cup final in my first season ...
Although I’m giving Ralph my backing why is he not on the mobile asking players that played for Ralph and had a bond with him to Southampton fc ..
yes he transformed younger players to make a proper team in Leipzig ... surely some of those players would walk over hot coals for Ralph and follow him anywhere ... but he hasn’t signed 1 player from Leipzig ... I just don’t understand WHY ....

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