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Football News: Southampton FC need a solid long term strategy 10 May 2018

Southampton FC need a solid long term strategy 10 May 2018
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I think the only logical way to consider the next Southampton FC managerial appointment is to first determine a new long-term strategy for the club. Be it a resurrection of the Southampton Way or establishing a new blueprint, the long term strategy will then inform the type of person required at the helm. Saints do not need a manager whose performance is going to be assessed game to game or even each season because that encourages a short term view and this season and the previous one demonstrates what happens when you leave behind your long-term strategy. How else can you explain managers who have made a reputation on pragmatic football taking over a team with the supposed style of attacking, possession based football?

It isn't just Saints who have suffered by taking their eye off the ball. This season we've seen Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and West Ham United etc who have hired a name rather than having a solid long term strategy in mind. 'He has experience, he used to play so he'll make us better'. But the new man has no foundation. The strategy, if there is any, is rhetoric that isn't backed in the transfer market. The manager is then left with whatever squad he has trying to appease the board, the fans and the players which is never the way it should be. We must learn the lessons of our own managerial failings, as well as from the lessons of others and understand why these appointments did not work.

The common denominator (coaching talent/ playing talent and mentality aside), was the lack of a foundation in the form of a long term strategy. Teams recruit with a view to instant success and if it doesn't come within 10 games, they screw up the plans they had written on the back of a cigar packet and toss it without replacing it. They then go season to season simply hoping to consolidate their position in the league whilst expecting the football to improve year on year by buying expensive players irrespective of whether they fit the team.

Saints haven't gone so far yet. People were unsure about Bednarek at the start of the season but by the end, he has taken his chance in the team and in so few appearances, has played a vital role this season. The condemnation of Carrillo continues but that can only be because he's seen as MP2's man. The one remaining stain on the carpet. But that is unfair as he joined the team at its lowest ebb and everyone seemed to expect him to suddenly turn our fortunes around single-handed.

This is a new league to him and I doubt he has much experience of a relegation scrap, nor a team so incapable of providing the regular service he's used to. His player profile fits the gaping hole left by the likes of Lambert and Pelle, the target men who preceded him, so I think Carrillo deserves the opportunity to show whether he can cut it or not. He's only been at the club 4 months.

Plus, if the strategy is sound, it provides something to sell to the players who are currently here as well as the ones you look to bring in. Players will feel more settled and motivated if they feel part of something, they see direction and can buy into it. This is where unity comes from. Everyone pulling in the same direction for a common goal. How can this be achieved if that goal is not defined?

So this season must serve as a warning, as last season was not taken seriously enough. The club has lost its way but hasn't travelled as far as some. There is still a solid core squad of players. After the final game of the season, the owner must first decide whether he wishes our Head of Football to continue in his role. Thereafter, whoever runs the football side of the club must devise a long term strategy, a 5 year plan or something similar, with a view to making the most of the club's potential and finances in order to avoid another relegation scrap next year.

Written by figodasilva May 10 2018 13:49:11