After parting company with vice-chairman, Les Reed and disposing of technical director, Martin Hunter, there looks to be change afoot at the Saints.
It is not just the playing squad either; you could argue that the last three managerial appointments have been a severe failure. Time and time again, bringing in men that have a complete contrasting philosophy, differing from the apparent “Southampton Way” has also had a major impact. In an ever-strengthening Premier League, making the same mistake not once, but three times is simply unacceptable. And ultimately, this is the conclusive reason for why the decision on the future of Les Reed was taken last week.
So now, what happens next? Rather than “Marching on” the Saints have been treading water in the Premier League deep-end for a while now. After admitting in a recent interview, Ralph Krueger accepts that the club needs to “look at a change of philosophy” and re-identify the club’s vision. A vision that was so clear to see when Markus Liebherr took the reigns all those years ago. Therefore, it is crucial for the long-term future of Southampton that the new adjustments upstairs are the correct ones. Whether that’s appointing a director of football or a new vice chairman, out of all the continual decisions the board has got wrong previously, they need to ensure they get this one right first time.
Although the timing of the news came as a shock to most supporters last week, Southampton owner, Jisheng Gao, has now had over a year to evaluate the running of the club. Krueger concedes that the move to sack Reed and Hunter “was requested by the ownership board.” Evidently, over analyzing the last 12 months, Gao has now given Krueger the go-ahead to ring the changes and attempt to halt the decline.
Despite Les Reed always being the fall guy for the Southampton Supporters to shed their blame on, this new, fresh period should be met with a certain sense of caution. Speaking with the Daily Echo, Krueger grants there are “no plans to spend in January” and effectively admitted the owner will not give additional funds to strengthen the playing squad. Is the progression of the club really in the board’s best interests? Do they really harbour any ambition at all? Even though we constantly get told about how well the club is doing in a business aspect, exploring new markets in different continents etc, there is a degree of arrogance to put anything back into the footballing side of the Saints.
Is Southampton FC entering into a new, fresh era? Who knows, but right now, the lack of investment and direction from the board is seemingly going to prove the decisive downfall.