Tonight's extraordinary events at St. Marys have taken another twist, with the Daily Echo confirming reports that Mark Wotte has been appointed as Poortvliet's successor on a permanent basis. A typically vague statement by Michael Wilde had failed to clarify matters, but it now seems as if the Dutch Revolution will continue on the South Coast, albeit in a different form.
While this will not be the outcome most Saints fans wanted, at least there has been a change. Under Poortvliet, the season looked doomed to end in relegation. However, there is not so much a mist as a smog of doubt existing as to whether Wotte will be able to turn around the club's fortunes. As number 2 to the failed Poortvliet, his pedigree must be questioned and Saints have a history of disastrous internal appointments. Having said that, pedigree becomes less important when a club is as financially hamstrung as Saints. Wotte is no one's ideal appointment and with 18 games remaining and the same group of players beneath him, he has a mountain to climb.
It will be interesting to see if anything changes tactically. Will Wotte continue with the experimental 4-2-1-2-1 attacking football of Poortvliet or return to a more conventional 4-4-2 style. It would not surprise me if the board has put pressure on him to adopt the latter formation for the rest of the season as much of the fans' resentment has centred on Poortvliet's refusal to change a playing style that is so obviously failing.
Ex-boss Poortvliet, meanwhile, has described his stay at the club as a "beautiful adventure." One must wonder what he has been taking- he is Dutch after all- as most Saints fans would describe his tenure as a nightmare, certainly the worst period of watching Saints in my living memory. However, I do believe he is an honourable man who can walk away having tried his best. With no money, a bunch of kids and Rupert Lowe to contend with, real success was always unlikely- but few expected a failure on this level. Now such failure is the reality and expected to continue. Let us hope Wotte can overturn expectations in the opposite direction and steer Saints to safety. It may be a fool's hope, but we don't have much else at the moment.
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