Saints’ summer of change
Exodus. Meltdown. Unrest. Down here on the South coast we don't like to do things by halves. What a summer it has been for Southampton fans, helplessly watching on as the vultures circled and picked off the cream of our crop - some, it must be said, a little keener than others to jump ship.
August 15th, 2014
But it’s not all been doom and gloom though. In fact looking back on it now I can have a little smile about it all. The bank balance is looking very healthy. We replaced Mauricio Pochettino – a promising young Argentinian manager – with Ronald Koeman, who is dare I say it, an even better qualified, slightly older Dutch version. And we’ve now signed more players than we have sold, which is great news as I can finally phone and cancel our application to join the national 5-a-side league.
There has been a lot of talk amongst fans this summer about Katharina Liebherr and how the new board that she has assembled do not seem to have the same levels of ambition as Southampton’s previous Executive Chairman Nicola Cortese. Which is an unfair assumption, if you ask me.
No one should doubt the ambitions of Southampton Football Club, but at the same time our fans need to appreciate that those ambitions are now accompanied by a greater focus on sustainability. Which is a good thing, of course. During a summer which started off so badly, more players have joined Southampton (7) than have moved on to pastures new (5). On paper, all of those signings look to be solid acquisitions and some quick calculations show we’re still around 30 million pounds better off than before. That’s not a lack of ambition, that’s just good business.
That being said, you can’t change that many players during one transfer window and expect everything to be rosy. I feel for Ronald Koeman because, had none of those 5 players left over the summer, we would all be looking for a repeat of last season’s record points total. As it stands, he has a very big job on his hands to stabilise the team before he can even think about an assault on the top half of the table again.
The season ahead could be very difficult at times, and having so many new faces join this close to the beginning of a new campaign is hardly ideal. They’ll need to gel with their new teammates as quickly as possible and hope that their transition to playing in the Premier League is a swift one.
Whilst I still think Southampton are too good to go down there will be difficult times ahead. I stand by my earlier statement that in Ronald Koeman we have an excellent manager and it’s important that Saints fans are patient with him during the more testing times this season – because in the long run, I know we’ll be all the better for it.