Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Background to the AGM: R&W Bill’s guide to what is going on at Southampton Football Club

On the pitch

With over the half the season gone Saints have won just once at home and seem destined for relegation. The early hope promised by wins at Derby and Reading has all but evaporated in recent weeks as Jan Poortleviet’s young side has been repeatedly bullied off the pitch. Rupert Lowe’s Dutch experiment looks more misguided every week and Saturday’s loss at home to strugglers Nottingham Forest was something of a nadir. The side passes prettily at times but seems bereft of killer instinct and after falling behind the manager lacks the tactical nous to change things around. Though the 4-1-2-1-2-1 formation has worked well away from home, when physical teams come to St Marys they set up shop and two out and out strikers are required if we are to penetrate. All but Jan Poortleviet and Rupert Lowe seem to concur on that.

Off the pitch

The club’s failure to achieve a quick return to the top flight, coupled with financial mismanagement, has led Saints to their present dire situation. The club is losing money and has had to loan out its highest wage-earners (Stern John, Gregorz Rasiak) in order to cut costs. Following Rupert Lowe’s return as chairman in the summer, Nigel Pearson was laid off because (according to Lowe) his salary was too high and the present Dutch regime seems are being collectively paid half as much. Corners of the ground have been closed off and player sales in January seem likely.

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