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March 3 2024 6.07am

The Key Questions

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Why Has It Gone Wrong ?
Bad Luck – the biggest factor, without which we would not be in relegation trouble. But we have been desperately unlucky with so many injuries, and long-term absences to several critically important players.
Total Failure of Medical Team – one repeat injury may just be unfortunate, but what we have seen this season looks like staggering incompetence, with a constant stream of players injured again pretty much as soon as they returned.
Poor Recruitment – weird choice of where to place our funds, failure to strengthen where there was obvious need, failure to secure loan signings, overall failure to recruit squad of sufficient depth.
Wrong Managerial Decision – Roy was always only a stop-gap for this season, apparently a safe pair of hands, but whose appointment is very likely a major reason for our failure to attract the right players to the club. Certainly the implicit message was that we were just treading water for a season, whilst playing turgid football.
Poor Management – see the next section.

Should Roy Stay ?
No – though Roy would have kept us up comfortably if we had been able to field our best eleven for 30 games, he is not the man now. Without our best players he is too cautious to do anything but keep deploying the same personnel and tactics, which are way off being good enough to secure any significant points in the PL, and also fail to develop / improve the young players who can still improve. A weak team must at least try to be defensively solid, and excellent at both defensive and attacking set pieces. Under Roy we are conceding goals right at the start in most games, have one of the worst goal differences in the PL, are leaking goals from set pieces, and have failed to score (barely even threaten) from a corner all season. This is simply not good enough on the manager’s part.

Would Relegation Matter Very Much ?
Yes – though I work with lots of Southampton supporters who are enjoying this season in the Championship far more than recent relegation battles in the PL, we must do everything to avoid relegation. If we go down we definitely lose our star players, and the likelihood of a rapid return to the PL is not high, and diminishes each season we are out of it. For my part I would much rather be watching occasional brilliance and having a pop at the big boys than winning a bit more against the likes of Plymouth and Rotherham (especially remembering the 1980’s).

What Should We Do Now
Support the team – the situation is difficult enough without the fans creating a critical or toxic environment. Almost all of the players will be giving everything to try and turn the team’s fortunes around, but confidence is at rock-bottom. Let’s get behind the team and intimidate the opposition instead.
Replace the manager – change is needed now, even if a new manager fails to save us they must bring a new approach, enthusiasm and energy to the team, and develop and play the youngsters. We can’t get much worse than 5-0 and 4-1 defeats, and even if results don’t improve, at least we can give experience to players who will become the mainstay of the team next season, whether in the PL or Championship. If we go down under Roy we will still be putting out a completely green set of players in the Championship next season.

 

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