Saints Can Now Breathe After Fulham Defeat Ends Relegation Worries
Monday, 10th May 2021 21:59
This has been one of those seasons were anything can happen and Saints poor run had some fans panicking and predicting freefall right through the Premier League from top spot in November to relegation in May, now that worry has been ended.
If disaster can strike you feel as a Saints fan it will be our club it happens to and even though Saints will probably turn out to have been safe since April when the final league table is published, there was just that nagging feeling that if Fulham could beat Burnley then they could pull off the impossible at our expense.
But now that pressure is off and although we have dropped down to 17th with Burnley's win at Fulham leapfrogging them above us, the 2-0 result means that we are now mathematically safe from the drop.
We can now concentrate on building for next season and indeed with the spectre of relegation now off our backs perhaps we can play without fear and look to win a couple of games out of the final four and look to see if we can move up the table.
From a TV viewpoint it is a disaster with all three relegation places filled with three games to go for the first time since the league began in 1992.
But it can get worse for what SKY had hoped would be their usual super Sunday, there won't be much to play for at the top either, Man City will surely wrap up the Title well before the final day and it is highly likely that the Champions League places will also be filled, meaning that Sky will be forced to try and make some excitement in the race for 5th place.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
|stmichael added 22:03 - May 10|
We did nothing to save ourselves.
1 point from 7 games for Fulham has saved us.
|DorsetIan added 22:13 - May 10|
How is from 1st to 17th not freefall?
|JoeEgg added 22:32 - May 10|
So we have been saved not by our own endeavours but thanks to another shocker from Fulham. Our players and manager owe it to the fans, long before we start preparing for next season, to finish THIS season with performances that at least make an attempt to restore some pride in our football club. Quite frankly this season has been an acuteembarrassment to all. If Ralph cant generate something immeasureably better from the players in the remaining games this season, then why should anyone imagine that he will fare any better next season?
|SanMarco added 22:34 - May 10|
I am just pleased we stayed up. I think 4th from bottom might be a good place for us to finish - perhaps help to fix minds about how difficult next season will be without significant change.
|A1079 added 22:38 - May 10|
Tonight is nothing to celebrate it is no more than a sigh of relief, just thankful, that there were again 3 teams worse than us.
The brief soiree at the top was just that. From virtually therein we have been in freefall and quite simply an awful season the majority will be glad to see the back of.
I can hear the next piece in which we will be told that the time is to put behind us this season and move forward. We will only be able to move forward if the errors and wrongs of this season are corrected from the top downwards and dealt with, with some urgency. Failure to do that and next season will be more of the same.
Yes, I am pleased that we have avoided relegation but it is hardly a moment in which to shout about. I have watched and been a Saints supporter for 43 years and seen good, bad and indifferent but what has disappointed me more is the poor quality of the football, the abject performances in key games, the ease at which we concede goals and the lack of ability and composure to score them.
Hopefully now that the spectre of diving towards the relegation zone has ended that the players will feel free to be able to end on a bit of a high but we will see.
|DorsetIan added 22:51 - May 10|
We have never been in any relegation danger. Never even within striking distance of the bottom three.
I will be amazed if there is any premium at all from the players feeling more relaxed about their safety. I don't think that has factored at all for them.
The sad think is that the desire and commitment has been there. It's poor tactics and lack of ability of footballing ability that has let us down.
In any normal world, the next four games would be about Ralph saving his skin. We have currently lost half of the games we've played and 13 of the 18 we've played in 2021.
|Crispinmumbles added 23:16 - May 10|
I am really worried about where we're going. It's like the bad old day's under Lowe again.
|HythePeer added 00:29 - May 11|
That means that officially Saints are the worst team in the Prem!
|Ripleys_revenge added 01:15 - May 11|
This season has been one of the most depressing I can remember. As they say - it is the hope that kills you!
Will be amazed if we suddenly start playing now that 'the pressure is off'. These players haven't been playing with any pressure since we went 1st in the league. We have gone past the point now where even back to back wins in the next two games will paper over the cracks - we've become an absolute shambles.
Finally, I can't understand why we are so desperate to sign Walcott. All I keep hearing is that he is a 'good lad in the dressing room' and a 'good influence on younger players'. That's great, but I'm not sure what he brings when he's actually on the pitch?
|YosemiteSaint added 01:23 - May 11|
Phew! Now i can tune out the EPL and just watch baseball!
|Foreverred added 07:06 - May 11|
In March I pencilled in a points total of 45, let’s see if we can achieve it. If I am honest this team
Is probably on par for that score. This season has been one that flattered to be deceived , the way the club is structured is one to aim for a mid tabled finish , to play a attractive blend of football on a limited budget ,to keep the fans relatively happy aim for one of the cup, and secure premier league safety. Well I suppose that is what we have achieved, and until we have a squad based on the same lines as Leicester city , then it will be more of the same next season. We need to strengthen the squad next season in areas that is needed, no more wasting money on players that are no better than we already have. The selling of targett to finance djenepo was a poor decision as Matt was a ready made replacement for Bertie and would have been invaluable as a utility player this season.so as money is tight we can only hope that some of the fringe players, like obafeni tella , Smallwood, can push for a starting place with additional signings then next season we can be in a better place when injuries come along.
|davidargyll added 07:39 - May 11|
It would be nice not to finish 17th if only because our early season form doesn’t justify it. (OK maybe our 2021 form does but think where we would be if for example we hadn’t beaten Liverpool at home).
As to the next few months, from the conference call last week, I took Martin Semmens’ comments to be that:
1. There is a buyer for Gao’s holding and that will be resolved soon; I should imagine a final value was subject to our staying up.
2. There is currently a transfer budget of I guess around £15-20m which is separate from the day to day running costs of the club. A new owner might supplement this of course.
3. The value of players throughout the league has gone down, both those we are interested in buying and those we want to get rid of.
4. The scouting teams have been revamped so hopefully we will find one or two decent players from Europe and maybe even from South America. (All this talk though about investing in the squad imply buying and improving. But it simply isn’t as easy as that. You find a player, think he’ll make it in the PL because all the stats and reports are good and then find he’s not up to it. There are so many other factors in play. So let’s hope our picking skills have improved).
A couple of other observations:
Unless Ralph/ the Board is blind he will strike a very hard bargain with Everton over the price of Theo. I hope he doesn’t buy him myself because he has given the impression this season of being a spent force but maybe a permanent deal might improve him.
Of all the clubs around us, we are certainly no worse than Newcastle Palace Burnley and Brighton, in fact if we fire on all cylinders at the back and the front, we can play them all off the park. So why shouldn’t we be able to secure our place in the middle/bottom half of the table next season?
|benalisbroom added 08:08 - May 11|
I think that poor tactics have been a big part of this freefall in 2021. I read a lot on here about the squad not being good enough: I'd say the GK's are alright, CB's OK (and in Salisu we have a star of the future) and FB's and CM OK when they are fit (in fact JWP and Armstrong are, I think, excellent players and underrated).
The difficulty is the commitment to playing a high line at all times - you can only do that if you have really top, top players. Our system has been found out (eg the forwards swapping with wingers during build ups, or the stupid insistence on passing backwards to try to lure the opposition into a transition), and although I still think that Ralph could be a great manager, he is also very stubborn and needs to learn to build a team to reflect the strengths of the players which he does have.
We have several quick players and we could learn a lot from Leicester and others about counter-attacks. Funny how one of our best performances came against Leicester - when due to a sending off we had no alternative than to play a deeper line. Two players who'd really benefit from counter-attacking tactics might be Adams and Tella. If Adams conserved a bit of energy during games he might remember where the goal is.
|IanRC added 08:41 - May 11|
A relief yes but disappointing that we relied on others in the end. Hope RH now gives the likes of Jankewitz a chance in these last few games and Salisu after Eid.
|saintmark1976 added 08:45 - May 11|
If Ralph stays ( personally I believe he should go immediately ) and plays the same ridiculous tactics as he has since the New Year then we will be relegated by this coming Christmas. Our only hope being that somebody takes him aside and explains to him that there is more than one way to play football.It’s then a question of will he bother to listen. I suspect not.
|Sadoldgit added 08:46 - May 11|
We did nothing to save ourselves? We are 10 points above Fulham so at some point in the season have amassed enough points to keep us safe. We have had a very poor second half of the season, but a season is 38 games and we have done enough over the season to stay up.
|underweststand added 09:00 - May 11|
Survived - yet again. Going back to pre-2005 when we had 27 unbroken seasons in the top tier we rarely finished top half in all that time. Naturally, we looked good throughout the L1 / Championship days, despite Cortese squandering millions on bad buys and later under Koeman's management, but without a mega-owner to throw in a hundred million every year, we are never likely to be much better, and the more recent bad investment of funds, under Reed and Wilson made things worse. A team that is under-performing, a lack of consistency ..and OH .. am I allowed to mention Covid ...and the worst injury crisis in decades..that hasn't helped.
Once again we can be thankful that there are 3 clubs worse than we are this time around, but next season will be a proving ground for everyone. Are those who will remaining good enough for this level?.. and are Ralph method's really right for this situation?
A good finish, say another 7-8 points may be the light at the end of the tunnel, otherwise the best we can say of this season is that we have survived....AGAIN !
|Saint4Life247 added 10:12 - May 11|
I completely agree with all the comments made.
It says a lot about the current state of the team, tactics, form and abilities that we have to rely on Fulham losing to Burnley in order to retain our PL status. Luckily that first few months of the season was better than the bottom 3. Had we have started the way we are finishing this season then we would be rock bottom with Sheffield Utd above us!
This season has been a shambles. Granted we had a good few months to start and an unexpected cup run but once teams had worked out how to play against us (didn't take too long) and we had to rely on more than just Ralphs preferred 11 due to injuries the cracks didn't just start appearing they opened right up for all to see. Since the Liverpool win the performances in places have been frankly embarrassing. Another 9-0 loss, unfathomable tactical changes by Ralph during games, players retaining starting positions having played woefully for multiple games, underused youth and enthusiasm, Loaning out players which we needed, no apparent plan B, no change in formation from game to game, lethargic and often lazy performances by a large percentage of players, lack of goals when Ings was injured.... The list goes on and on
We need to do something to stop the rot because if we don't invest in players, a player psychologist, better coaching staff and someone with tactical knowhow then we won't survive next season. I can't see how Ralph will improve so a fresh head maybe the answer tbh
overall i'm fed up
|barry_sanchez added 11:26 - May 11|
We're shite and thats all there is to it, without a clearout and far better quality we're down next season.
|Farlow added 12:40 - May 11|
When Ralph came in he said his objective was to progress and bring youngsters through.
I think for the last four games he should give them a go to find out if any have got what it takes.From what i saw of Jankewitz against England under21,s he looks a contender.I dont
understand how Ralph thought he was good enough to play at Old Trafford and not give him another Sniff.I,m sure he will have learnt from his mistake.
|I_would added 15:38 - May 11|
Perhaps if Ralphy can get a couple of new bargain basement strikers and persuade Walcotty to sign for 2 years at 100k pw we'll end up 16th next season. You never know. Lots to look forward to.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #48 by wessex_exile
“And now the end is near, and so we face the final curtain…regrets, we’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”. Not quite right Paul Anka, probably more than a few, but otherwise a fair assessment of where the U’s are today. It’ll be interesting to see how we perform with the relegation monkey finally off their back – I’m not expecting miracles, particularly with Tranmere needing at least a point to guarantee making the play-offs, but they’ll certainly be more nervous than we will be, so can we make that count? This will be my last blog of the season, and not yet sure what I may or may not do for next season, but suggestions are always welcome.
Letters from Wiltshire #47 by wessex_exile
Here we are, at the penultimate game of the season, and our last game in front of the cardboard U’s faithful at the JobServe. It has been a long, difficult, and definitely strange season, which frankly I’ll be glad to see the back of. That’ll we’ll be here again in August is definitely going to be something to celebrate, but I suspect we’re facing a summer of significant rebuilding both on the pitch, and possibly off it too. I won’t be the only one, but the biggest oddity for me has been being able to watch every single game – not always easy viewing, but something I’ve never done before, and probably never will again. But it doesn’t really make up for not being there in person, the long train journey away-days, meeting fellow U’s and other supporters, and of course sharing a beer or three. Fingers-crossed we can return to the terraces in 2021/22.
Letters from Wiltshire #46 by wessex_exile
That was quite a week for us all then. In the space of four short but remarkably tense days we have gone from having to take shoes and socks off to check how many more points we need to guarantee survival, or whether we would even achieve it, to breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing we’re almost there. But close of play this afternoon, whether by our own actions or the failure of others, I am sure survival will be confirmed. Of course, Tuesday night not only all but guaranteed it, it also virtually condemned local rivals Southend United to non-league football for the foreseeable. Looking at the host of fully professional former football league sides currently battling it out for the two promotion slots out of the National league (including Hartlepool, Torquay, Stockport, Wrexham, Chesterfield and Notts County), it is not going to be a walk in the park for Southend to return any day soon.
Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
Tonight, Colchester United face Southend United in what may not necessarily be the most important game of our respective histories (though it’s certainly very close), but is almost certainly the most important Essex derby ever. However this season pans out, by the end of it there’ll either be only one team in Essex, or worst case scenario, none at all. If the U’s win, then Southend will be 9pts behind with just three games to go, and a minimum of a -12 goal difference to overturn if they want to overtake us. Certainly mathematically possible, but that would rely on a remarkable turnaround in their form, form that they’ve shown precious little sign of achieving so far this season. The stalking horse is Grimsby, with their game in hand, who have rather belatedly shown an improvement in form, so their match against automatic promotion chasing Morecambe tonight is equally important, particularly if we want to avoid the unthinkable, with both Essex clubs dropping out of the league.
Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.