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Carl Anka - Summer 2017 contender for worst transfer window


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Carl Anka (used to be the saints writer but was poached by United and is sorely missed) has contributed to a piece in the Athletic regarding terrible transfer windows by premier league clubs.

He's put southampton forward for summer 2017 - and in fairness it does highlight some of (because sadly we all know it wasn't just that window) the absolute car crash that was presided over by our previous board, and how they hamstrung us at a time where we had a lot of potential, and instead almost ruined the club.

I know i've made the point previously, and although Ralph and Gao are far from universally popular - at least with them and Semmens, Crocker and Co, the clearing of the deadwood, and the restructuring we've seen over recent windows. I do think we're starting to work our way back to, "the Southampton way", and developing a team with great potential for the future again. At the moment at least, i think we're in a position of relative stability, we have a plan, and the right people seem to be on board for the long haul whilst the owner isn't meddling. Ofc, that can all be upset by poor results, fan sentiment, or a change of ownership etc.

Anyway, i think the piece adds an interesting layer of information and perspective to our most recent business - Of which i would say we've had a pretty reasonable window at the current time.

Apologies if already posted.

(Note - I'll post the relevant section from the article here and let the mods decide whether its okay to be up on the Saintsweb site.)

Southampton in 2017: Ignoring the four Ts

A good transfer window is all about the Ts: a club must recognise good playing Talent at the right Time, who make a good Tactical fit for their team, and then eventually make the deal for a reasonable Transfer fee.

Every club in this feature is in it because they got their Ts mixed up in one too many deals. The truly dishonourable mentions often come from a club squandering a large amount of money after selling a star player. But there is something in Southampton’s summer at the start of the 2017-18 season which makes it stick out as a terrible transfer window as they managed to get the Ts wrong and squander an historic opportunity to solidify their position in the league and, to top it all, then saw their star player leave.

To set the scene: Southampton had finished 2016-17 in eighth position in the Premier League and as unlucky losers to Manchester United in the League Cup final. Manager Claude Puel’s prosaic, yet pragmatic football inspired little love from the fanbase, and Virgil van Dijk had made noises that he saw his future at Liverpool rather than St Mary’s. In came Mauricio Pellegrino to steady the ship (and get confused with Manuel Pellegrini, and predecessor Mauricio Pochettino). He knew Van Dijk was probably going to leave in the near future and that he had to build some sort of spine for the side to compensate for the Dutch defender’s imminent departure.

What he and the club endeavoured to purchase were: Jan Bednarek, Wesley Hoedt, Mario Lemina. That’s one centre-back (Hoedt) who was bought for £17 million, made 45 uninspiring appearances for the club before being shuffled off for a nominal fee this summer after two and a half seasons out on loan; a defensive midfielder (Lemina) who was bought for £15 million and once shared a player compilation video of himself on Twitter in an attempt to leave Southampton (also left for a nominal fee this summer); and one decent centre-back (Bednarek) who only came good in November 2019 under Ralph Hasenhuttl, who was the successor to Pellegrino’s successor.

In the January window of that season — yes I’m cheating a little bit here by going over more than one window, but this story needs to be complete — Van Dijk departed for £75 million. Pellegrino asked Southampton to spend the better part of £20 million on striker Guido Carrillo, adding another slow player to what had become a turgid team.

Southampton finished fourth-bottom in 2017-18, saved in part by a freak accident (a collision between goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and centre-back Jan Bednarek in a six-pointer at Swansea City forced the latter to go off concussed. Manolo Gabbiadini came on for Bednarek and within four minutes had scored the game’s only goal. Five days later, Swansea went down with three points fewer than Southampton.).

Another bad transfer window the summer following saw the club lose their position in the Premier League middleweight positions to become relegation battlers until the arrival of Hasenhuttl in late 2018.

It was a transfer window so bad Southampton now operate with a soft £15 million cap on future signings as they don’t feel they can be trusted with bigger deals.

- Carl Anka, for the Athletic.

Edited by Saint86
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He's bang on, it's very depressing. I'd say the window before that was a start of the downturn as well, given we splurged £16m on Boufal. We just got the big signings all wrong for 3 consecutive years. 

Our scouting needs to be spot on for our model to work. We can't absorb a bad signing in the same way a bigger club can. But we've had to absorb 4 or 5 bad 'big' signings and it's almost killed us. It still might.

I saw an article the other day that had us as one of the biggest spenders in Europe since 2011, ahead of Dortmund. We are also one of the highest in terms of fees received - £448m in 10 years. We got it right in Koemans first season, but I think a lot of that was down to the manager we had. A strong manager was required to attract the right players and have enough about him to put his own views across. I don't think Les really liked that and it always felt a bit tense between Keoman and the 'board' at the time.

We unsurprisingly then went down the road of hiring one of the most passive yes men in history. You wouldn't hear Puel say boo to a goose and he just went along with the carnage that was about to occur. Similar for Pellegrino as well, not strong enough managers.

There are certainly shoots of recovery now that Reed and Wilson are out of the way and Ralph is having a big say....

Edited by S-Clarke
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Definitely all of what he says is true. 

I always think Les started believing his own hype after 2014-2016 with the Blackbox and other soundbites that he got carried away.

We hired the wrong person to take us forward and blew the majority of the kitty away, not to forget the managerial payouts too.

BC797F8F-6886-4E8B-B681-298C97BDDD82.jpeg

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Was interesting that he said Saints limit to under £15m for the most part as they simply don't trust themselves with more expensive signings. 

Suggests maybe it's not about lack of money totally. Can see why they'd be cautious but we have a side crying out for 1 or 2 signings of that level. Would transform it from relegation fighters to potential top half. 

2017 definitely our worst window. 2018 was rubbish too even though we got most our money back for Vestergaard. 2020 looks decent but still a lot of money on two players who weren't really starters most last season. Very risky basically gambling your prem place on players settling and doing well in the long term. Has to be some balance surely. Our long term strategy is fine overall but there's nothing wrong with the occasional older player coming in, like Pelle did, or even like Cahill at Palace, Fonte at Lille and so on. Particularly important at goalkeeper. I mean who cares if you have a keeper for the long term? How often does that actually happen? 2-3 years of decent quality is fine and experience is vital there.

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45 minutes ago, nta786 said:

Definitely all of what he says is true. 

I always think Les started believing his own hype after 2014-2016 with the Blackbox and other soundbites that he got carried away.

We hired the wrong person to take us forward and blew the majority of the kitty away, not to forget the managerial payouts too.

BC797F8F-6886-4E8B-B681-298C97BDDD82.jpeg

Nice breakdown, I'd group them as follows - looking at it from a general blur of value for money perspective / money lost etc perspective.

Good value signings (total = £86m)

PEH (12m), Bednarek (5m), Redmond (10m), McCarthy (5m), Armstrong (7m), Adams (15m), Ings (£20m), KWP (12m).

Reasonable signings (or perhaps too early to tell - total 70.2m)
Gabbi (14.5m), Djenpo (14m), Salisu (11m), Diallo (12.7m), Vestergard (18m - almost put him below as we could have spent this elsewhere with today's recruitment)

Bad signings: (including carillo/hoedt/lemina below = 97.5m)
Boufal (16m), , Ely (16m), Gunn (13.5m),

Absolutely disgraceful signing:
Carillo (19m), Hoedt (15), Lemina (18m)

So of your £253.7, we outright wasted £97.5m in my opinion - thats 38% 🥳

Edited by Saint86
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3 minutes ago, Saint86 said:

Nice breakdown, I'd group them as follows - looking at it from a general blur of value for money perspective / money lost etc perspective.

Good value signings (total = £86m)

PEH (12m), Bednarek (5m), Redmond (10m), McCarthy (5m), Armstrong (7m), Adams (15m), Ings (£20m), KWP (12m).

Reasonable signings (or perhaps too early to tell - total 70.2m)
Gabbi (14.5m), Djenpo (14m), Salisu (11m), Diallo (12.7m), Vestergard (18m - almost put him below as we could have spent this elsewhere with today's recruitment)

Bad signings: (including carillo/hoedt/lemina below = 97.5m)
Boufal (16m), , Ely (16m), Gunn (13.5m),

Absolutely disgraceful signing:
Carillo (19m), Hoedt (15), Lemina (18m)

So of your £253.7, we outright wasted £97.5m in my opinion - thats 38% 🥳

Gabbi's a tricky one.  Clearly had an amazing first couple of months and the Swansea goal, but also cost a bomb and barely did anything else - that said probably safe to consider him reasonable for that Swansea goal and Wembley alone.

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1 hour ago, S-Clarke said:

 

We unsurprisingly then went down the road of hiring one of the most passive yes men in history. You wouldn't hear Puel say boo to a goose and he just went along with the carnage that was about to occur.

Look I know Puel will never be looked upon with any great fondness, but it's a bit much to blame him for what's happened since he departed.

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Bad signings, or were we just unlucky. Hoedt, Lemina and Boufal all had a decent pedigree and exactly the profile of the type of player that can step up and be an asset. Hoedt turned out to be average with a tricky attitude, Boufal has spades of talent but it turns out he had little end product and Lemina could have been alright if he wasn't such a dick.

Gunn and Elyounoussi were long shots, that didn't come off, all clubs take these gambles. Carillo had no real pedigree, so no excuses.

So on paper the big flops seemed decent buys, the fact that they didn't come off nor did the long shots or the desperation buy, and all in such a concentrated period of time is what really screwed us up. A club of our size can't carry that. 

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49 minutes ago, Whitey Grandad said:

Good point about the managerial payouts. If we include those it's almost as though we also had to pay the equivalent of a transfer fee for each new manager. Do we have a figure for these payouts?

it's almost like we are the only club that sacks managers isn't it.

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I guess the expenditure is key, but we've also all witnessed the 08-09 transfer window to experience a truly tragic window. 

Schneiderlin - Didn't have a pot to piss in, but chucked £1m at a French teenager linked to the top clubs. Had a difficult first year, as would any under that team and under those managers, but turned into a superstar.

Now, it gets good...

Forecast - The famous Gareth Bale sell on clause saga. Never played a game for us in five years, but was good at celebrating the promotions. Been without a club for eight years, since he was 26. Last playing for Chelmsford in the Conference South.

Holmes - Good player, plagued by injuries, but the next Arjen Robben, he was not. Ended with 1 league goal in 29 appearances here over four years. Never made it back to the Championship after us.

Wotton - Shit in a shit team, could be carried in the good team. Served a purpose and helped win us the JPT.

Pulis - Haha. Never made an appearance in four years for us. A year after leaving, he was playing in America's amateur league. Hasn't had a club for 7 years after turning 30. 

Pekhart - Striker on loan from Spurs, 1 goal in 9 appearances. Has since played around various countries and is now a current Czech international. Maybe he can go to West Ham now.

Gasmi - Schneiderlin's mate, never made an impact. I'm surprised he made four appearances for us.

Cork - Was good in his first spell here, but we only had him until the January, where he then left for Watford.

All these signings were then rectified of course in the winter window with the signings of such names as Lee Molyneux, Ryan Smith and the moron that is Jordan Robertson.

07-08 was a lot better. Wayne Thomas was our big signing. Youssef Safri, Andrew Davies, Adam Hammill, Gregory Vignal, Lucien Mettomo, Alan Bennett, Christian Dailly, Phil Ifil, Jason Euell and Stern John all joined to help keep us competing for promotion...

 

Edited by HarvSFC
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17 minutes ago, HarvSFC said:

I guess the expenditure is key, but we've also all witnessed the 08-09 transfer window to experience a truly tragic window. 

Schneiderlin - Didn't have a pot to piss in, but chucked £1m at a French teenager linked to the top clubs. Had a difficult first year, as would any under that team and under those managers, but turned into a superstar.

Now, it gets good...

Forecast - The famous Gareth Bale sell on clause saga. Never played a game for us in five years, but was good at celebrating the promotions. Been without a club for eight years, since he was 26. Last playing for Chelmsford in the Conference South.

Holmes - Good player, plagued by injuries, but the next Arjen Robben, he was not. Ended with 1 league goal in 29 appearances here over four years. Never made it back to the Championship after us.

Wotton - Shit in a shit team, could be carried in the good team. Served a purpose and helped win us the JPT.

Pulis - Haha. Never made an appearance in four years for us. A year after leaving, he was playing in America's amateur league. Hasn't had a club for 7 years after turning 30. 

Pekhart - Striker on loan from Spurs, 1 goal in 9 appearances. Has since played around various countries and is now a current Czech international. Maybe he can go to West Ham now.

Gasmi - Schneiderlin's mate, never made an impact. I'm surprised he made four appearances for us.

Cork - Was good in his first spell here, but we only had him until the January, where he then left for Watford.

All these signings were then rectified of course in the winter window with the signings of such names as Lee Molyneux, Ryan Smith and the moron that is Jordan Robertson.

07-08 was a lot better. Wayne Thomas was our big signing. Youssef Safri, Andrew Davies, Adam Hammill, Gregory Vignal, Lucien Mettomo, Alan Bennett, Christian Dailly, Phil Ifil, Jason Euell and Stern John all joined to help keep us competing for promotion...

 

Andrew Davies was terrific for us. (Got player of the year iirc?) Went to Stoke and just vanished

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25 minutes ago, sydney_saint said:

Lots of focus on the obvious failures like Carillo, Hoedt and Lemina, but that Gunn signing doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's a ridiculous amount of money for what was a third choice goalkeeper. 

Gunn was a punt. He was on Man Citys books, an ever present and decent season on loan to Norwich. His star was rising and we didn't want to lose out. It also gave us the opportunity to cash in on a FF and make some wedge.

FFs form dipped and AG rising star spluttered. In a way it serves us right for looking at players for what they can do for the club financially rather than footballistically.

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25 minutes ago, HarvSFC said:

I guess the expenditure is key, but we've also all witnessed the 08-09 transfer window to experience a truly tragic window. 

Schneiderlin - Didn't have a pot to piss in, but chucked £1m at a French teenager linked to the top clubs. Had a difficult first year, as would any under that team and under those managers, but turned into a superstar.

Now, it gets good...

Forecast - The famous Gareth Bale sell on clause saga. Never played a game for us in five years, but was good at celebrating the promotions. Been without a club for eight years, since he was 26. Last playing for Chelmsford in the Conference South.

Holmes - Good player, plagued by injuries, but the next Arjen Robben, he was not. Ended with 1 league goal in 29 appearances here over four years. Never made it back to the Championship after us.

Wotton - Shit in a shit team, could be carried in the good team. Served a purpose and helped win us the JPT.

Pulis - Haha. Never made an appearance in four years for us. A year after leaving, he was playing in America's amateur league. Hasn't had a club for 7 years after turning 30. 

Pekhart - Striker on loan from Spurs, 1 goal in 9 appearances. Has since played around various countries and is now a current Czech international. Maybe he can go to West Ham now.

Gasmi - Schneiderlin's mate, never made an impact. I'm surprised he made four appearances for us.

Cork - Was good in his first spell here, but we only had him until the January, where he then left for Watford.

All these signings were then rectified of course in the winter window with the signings of such names as Lee Molyneux, Ryan Smith and the moron that is Jordan Robertson.

07-08 was a lot better. Wayne Thomas was our big signing. Youssef Safri, Andrew Davies, Adam Hammill, Gregory Vignal, Lucien Mettomo, Alan Bennett, Christian Dailly, Phil Ifil, Jason Euell and Stern John all joined to help keep us competing for promotion...

 

Christ it was depressing reading some of those names, which I'd conveniently blotted out of my mind.

Schneiderlin - was always a strange signing that Rupert could find £1m for him at the time. 

Cork - as I recall we just couldn't afford to keep him.

Wotton - think you're being a bit unfair on him, I always felt he was one of the battlers prepared to throw himself on the line for us in desperate times, but had lost a lot with age. Never doubted his commitment though.

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15 minutes ago, Le Timmier said:

Andrew Davies was terrific for us. (Got player of the year iirc?) Went to Stoke and just vanished

I seem to remember him being injured a lot though

 

33 minutes ago, HarvSFC said:

I guess the expenditure is key, but we've also all witnessed the 08-09 transfer window to experience a truly tragic window. 

Schneiderlin - Didn't have a pot to piss in, but chucked £1m at a French teenager linked to the top clubs. Had a difficult first year, as would any under that team and under those managers, but turned into a superstar.

Now, it gets good...

Forecast - The famous Gareth Bale sell on clause saga. Never played a game for us in five years, but was good at celebrating the promotions. Been without a club for eight years, since he was 26. Last playing for Chelmsford in the Conference South.

Holmes - Good player, plagued by injuries, but the next Arjen Robben, he was not. Ended with 1 league goal in 29 appearances here over four years. Never made it back to the Championship after us.

Wotton - Shit in a shit team, could be carried in the good team. Served a purpose and helped win us the JPT.

Pulis - Haha. Never made an appearance in four years for us. A year after leaving, he was playing in America's amateur league. Hasn't had a club for 7 years after turning 30. 

Pekhart - Striker on loan from Spurs, 1 goal in 9 appearances. Has since played around various countries and is now a current Czech international. Maybe he can go to West Ham now.

Gasmi - Schneiderlin's mate, never made an impact. I'm surprised he made four appearances for us.

Cork - Was good in his first spell here, but we only had him until the January, where he then left for Watford.

All these signings were then rectified of course in the winter window with the signings of such names as Lee Molyneux, Ryan Smith and the moron that is Jordan Robertson.

07-08 was a lot better. Wayne Thomas was our big signing. Youssef Safri, Andrew Davies, Adam Hammill, Gregory Vignal, Lucien Mettomo, Alan Bennett, Christian Dailly, Phil Ifil, Jason Euell and Stern John all joined to help keep us competing for promotion...

 

Jason Euell, what a terrible signing. Awful, remember him being given a standing ovation when he came off, because the manager had finally subbed him. Think he got a  £200k a season loyalty bonus as part of his contract which sounds like peanuts but for a club on it's arse it was a disaster. 

Pretty sure Burnley couldn't believe their luck when we paid nearly £1m for Wayne Thomas. 

Didn't we sign Gasmi with an injury and he barely played a game? Weird signing. Richard Wright in as glovesman, Chris Luketti, we were a dumping ground for players on their way down in their careers.

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3 hours ago, adriansfc said:

Was interesting that he said Saints limit to under £15m for the most part as they simply don't trust themselves with more expensive signings. 

Suggests maybe it's not about lack of money totally. Can see why they'd be cautious but we have a side crying out for 1 or 2 signings of that level. Would transform it from relegation fighters to potential top half. 

2017 definitely our worst window. 2018 was rubbish too even though we got most our money back for Vestergaard. 2020 looks decent but still a lot of money on two players who weren't really starters most last season. Very risky basically gambling your prem place on players settling and doing well in the long term. Has to be some balance surely. Our long term strategy is fine overall but there's nothing wrong with the occasional older player coming in, like Pelle did, or even like Cahill at Palace, Fonte at Lille and so on. Particularly important at goalkeeper. I mean who cares if you have a keeper for the long term? How often does that actually happen? 2-3 years of decent quality is fine and experience is vital there.

What a load of shite that is. £15m is pittance these days by premier league standards. It wont be anything to do with not trusting themselves with that sort of money, it'll come down the the fact that we wont pay more than that because we cant.

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Phil Ifil came with good pedigree, probably a similar rep to that of KWP had when we got him. Nothing happened with him though

Safri wasn't a bad signing on paper, just didn't work out for him here. He was excellent at Norwich. Andrew Davies was just injury prone, good player if he got a run of games but he never managed it. Fairly sure he retired a few years back after landing in the SPL. Enough to make anyone retire.

I saw what we were doing with the likes of Perry, Lucketti, Christan Daily etc - we had a really young core to the side, so we thought we'd throw experience around them. Sadly the only experience we could get were from washed up players who should have retired.

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1 hour ago, Turkish said:

I seem to remember him being injured a lot though

 

Jason Euell, what a terrible signing. Awful, remember him being given a standing ovation when he came off, because the manager had finally subbed him. Think he got a  £200k a season loyalty bonus as part of his contract which sounds like peanuts but for a club on it's arse it was a disaster. 

Pretty sure Burnley couldn't believe their luck when we paid nearly £1m for Wayne Thomas. 

Didn't we sign Gasmi with an injury and he barely played a game? Weird signing. Richard Wright in as glovesman, Chris Luketti, we were a dumping ground for players on their way down in their careers.

Well, lets just be grateful we survived (barely) and hope that shit never happens again 😅

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1 hour ago, Turkish said:

I seem to remember him being injured a lot though

 

Jason Euell, what a terrible signing. Awful, remember him being given a standing ovation when he came off, because the manager had finally subbed him. Think he got a  £200k a season loyalty bonus as part of his contract which sounds like peanuts but for a club on it's arse it was a disaster. 

Pretty sure Burnley couldn't believe their luck when we paid nearly £1m for Wayne Thomas. 

Didn't we sign Gasmi with an injury and he barely played a game? Weird signing. Richard Wright in as glovesman, Chris Luketti, we were a dumping ground for players on their way down in their careers.

Didn't think those two let us down though. Seem to remember many were hoping we'd sign Wright permanently, and concern that Lucketti wouldn't play v Sheffield Utd (his parent club) in the last game decider.

"Glovesman " - wtf ???

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4 minutes ago, Badger said:

Didn't think those two let us down though. Seem to remember many were hoping we'd sign Wright permanently, and concern that Lucketti wouldn't play v Sheffield Utd (his parent club) in the last game decider.

"Glovesman " - wtf ???

To be fair you're right, Richard Wright did okay, it was just a weird signing for a skint club when we already had Kelvin Davis and Biokowski (i think) at the club who were perfectly capable glovesmen. 

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2 hours ago, sydney_saint said:

Lots of focus on the obvious failures like Carillo, Hoedt and Lemina, but that Gunn signing doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's a ridiculous amount of money for what was a third choice goalkeeper. 

Gunn coincided with the moment when keepers started going for serious money (Kepa was over £70m that summer I believe). Club clearly looked at his age, his name and his club pedigree (plus the fact that he could be De Gea's twin), and assumed that £15m + two years in our squad and he'd be a £50m asset.

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13 minutes ago, Turkish said:

To be fair you're right, Richard Wright did okay, it was just a weird signing for a skint club when we already had Kelvin Davis and Biokowski (i think) at the club who were perfectly capable glovesmen. 

Don't think Kelvin was particularly rated amongst the fans at the time, although Bialkowski was regarded as a reasonably promising "custodian" in goal.

If you're allowed "glovesman" I'll raise you a "custodian". 

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All this serves to reinforce the sense that a club lives and dies on its scouting department. They're unsung heroes, rarely made up of household names and others take the glory when they do their job well. You can talk as much as you like about fancy facilities, black box, 443 throughout the club, managerial philosophies, attitudes and playbook, but without the keen eye of the sort of people like Georges Prost or those individuals who warned Les Reed not to sign Guido Carillo, it all falls apart like a pack of cards. Same with the academy - if we are having problems in that area now, then you have to look back a number of years to identify where things went wrong.

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1 minute ago, Ted Bates Statue said:

All this serves to reinforce the sense that a club lives and dies on its scouting department. They're unsung heroes, rarely made up of household names and others take the glory when they do their job well. You can talk as much as you like about fancy facilities, black box, 443 throughout the club, managerial philosophies, attitudes and playbook, but without the keen eye of the sort of people like Georges Prost or those individuals who warned Les Reed not to sign Guido Carillo, it all falls apart like a pack of cards. Same with the academy - if we are having problems in that area now, then you have to look back a number of years to identify where things went wrong.

I always wondered what Terry Cooper did. He was apparently our scout in Spain during the 90s. I dont ever remember us signing a player from Spain that was any good. Almenia? That horrific centre half that got the run around by Henry and never to be seen again, that was about it.

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I just liked the prestige of having a European based scout.

I thought they just put a flat cap and a raincoat on the black box and sent it up to Stoke. But that data analytics book I read, tells me it's all done on steroid enhanced versions of football manager these days.

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Gunn was like one of the most highly rated younger keepers in the country, had just had an excellent season for Norwich in the Championship, played at all youth levels for England and wanted to move for more football. IIRC Man City also wanted to keep him and possibly had a buy back, I don't think anyone expected him to regress as much as he did, the 9-0 pretty much destroyed him. 

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https://www.southamptonfc.com/20-years/developing-talent

I gotta say it's annoying articles like this which show how we really believe our hype. 

"Thanks to the bank of success stories from the last 20 years, Saints now find themselves in a position whereby they need to be convinced the player is right for them, as, more often than not, Southampton tends to be right for the player."

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18 minutes ago, tajjuk said:

Gunn was like one of the most highly rated younger keepers in the country, had just had an excellent season for Norwich in the Championship, played at all youth levels for England and wanted to move for more football. IIRC Man City also wanted to keep him and possibly had a buy back, I don't think anyone expected him to regress as much as he did, the 9-0 pretty much destroyed him. 

That always seems a good sales line trotted out by the player's agent to the media, and the buying club, possibly even the selling club if it has hiked the price. Does wonders for the player's image and ego as it does for the Director of Football who likes to bask in the success of this great signing.

Trouble is the same shit was spouted when we signed Tommy Fourpast.

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4 hours ago, HarvSFC said:

07-08 was a lot better. Wayne Thomas was our big signing. Youssef Safri, Andrew Davies, Adam Hammill, Gregory Vignal, Lucien Mettomo, Alan Bennett, Christian Dailly, Phil Ifil, Jason Euell and Stern John all joined to help keep us competing for promotion...

 

That may have been the intention, alas, didn't work out that way. How to waste the Gareth Bale and Kenwynne Jones money.

At least it was just like watching Brazil at times... http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/7076446.stm

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With regards to the £15M cap if I recall correctly in the book ‘Alphabet of the Saints’ published around 1990/91 reference was made to the £1M we spent on Alan McLoughlin (RIP) and how it would be a while before another Saints manager would be trusted with £1M!! Clearly times changed so I’m sure we’ll burst through the £15M bracket one day!! 
 

Ive done this from memory so please don’t hang me out to dry if I’ve got the year wrong!!

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24 minutes ago, Badger said:

That always seems a good sales line trotted out by the player's agent to the media, and the buying club, possibly even the selling club if it has hiked the price. Does wonders for the player's image and ego as it does for the Director of Football who likes to bask in the success of this great signing.

Trouble is the same shit was spouted when we signed Tommy Fourpast.

The story I heard was that Rupert, who sanctioned his arrival, asked one of the coaches to go and find out about him. The immediate response was "He's cr*p!".

How do you know?" asks Mr Lowe...  "It's my job to know..".

He still arrived with the outcome we all know about.

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23 minutes ago, suewhistle said:

The story I heard was that Rupert, who sanctioned his arrival, asked one of the coaches to go and find out about him. The immediate response was "He's cr*p!".

How do you know?" asks Mr Lowe...  "It's my job to know..".

He still arrived with the outcome we all know about.

You've got such a problem when the chairman is signing players without any recourse to coaches/scouts

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1 hour ago, Turkish said:

I always wondered what Terry Cooper did. He was apparently our scout in Spain during the 90s. I dont ever remember us signing a player from Spain that was any good. Almenia? That horrific centre half that got the run around by Henry and never to be seen again, that was about it.

He saved us from relegation after essentially taking over from the useless, overrated, incompetent Souness who more or less gave up managing us half way through the season.

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6 hours ago, Fan The Flames said:

Bad signings, or were we just unlucky. Hoedt, Lemina and Boufal all had a decent pedigree and exactly the profile of the type of player that can step up and be an asset. Hoedt turned out to be average with a tricky attitude, Boufal has spades of talent but it turns out he had little end product and Lemina could have been alright if he wasn't such a dick.

Gunn and Elyounoussi were long shots, that didn't come off, all clubs take these gambles. Carillo had no real pedigree, so no excuses.

So on paper the big flops seemed decent buys, the fact that they didn't come off nor did the long shots or the desperation buy, and all in such a concentrated period of time is what really screwed us up. A club of our size can't carry that. 

They were bad, not much unlucky in there, and the thinking/strategy or lack of was astonishing. Lemina is the only one where it could have come good and you can see where it might have worked. Under Koeman Mario might have performed better but under the joint worst and most defensive manager in the club’s history no one shone (Pellegrino). Don’t think he had the work ethic for Poch or RH. 

Hoedt - Lazio signed him on free FFS, a squad player, a couple of international caps when the Dutch got injuries, and he’s worth £17m? Give me a break. Les/Ross got their pants pulled down. As for Gunn, was a nice to have but given the unexplainable and huge second extension to Forster who had a poor season under Puel it wasn’t realistic and Kruger should have grown a pair of balls and vetoed it. Rumour was Claude wanted a new keeper. £13m on Gunn was criminal in that context when Fraser had really stunk under Pellegrino and been dropped. Les should have been told to wait to sign Gunn until he’d shipped Fraser out, which with 5 years to go wasn’t happening. 

Elynoussi - may come good now, didnt seem to have game for the PL, and £16m would have bought a decent quality £25m quick winger now. That era was such a shitshow hard for any new player to come good. Carrillo - again Kruger had to grow a pair, veto the signing, sack the manager over Les’s head and sack Les for losing his mind. If you aren’t sure, ask one of the scouts who isn’t a brown noser and knows their players.Mickey Evans was a better player than that on a shoestring.

Good luck Wrexham, hope you still exist in 5 years post Les.

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Just now, Dark Munster said:

He saved us from relegation after essentially taking over from the useless, overrated, incompetent Souness who more or less gave up managing us half way through the season.

Have read this here before. I was going to ask why he wasn't considered to replace Souness, then I remembered it was Lowe who made the appointment. Dave Jones !!!

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6 hours ago, GarrettIvo said:

Look I know Puel will never be looked upon with any great fondness, but it's a bit much to blame him for what's happened since he departed.

I don’t blame Claude but it was a very strange appointment when we were flying and had a good, offensively minded team. IIRC Les had little swipes at Ronald when he was praised at the end of season event, revealing his jealousy eg ‘he’s done alright’ when just finishing PL top 6 FFS and Europa Groups qualifying. If he had gone for another big name with contacts in the game and stayed in the background Les is thought of differently and those horror windows don’t happen.

Granted, Mane was sold and Redmond/Boufal weren’t great signings but it was a regression to 17th place football when there was no need. The tactics in the final Europa League game summed it up. Either side of Wembley it was much better but Claude had a similar phase of trying to appease the fans at Leicester but defaulted back to emasculating their main threats like Vardy and his budget was far bigger than SFC.

He would do OK with the current squad and not a bad manager in Ligue 1 at all but just not the right time. The yes man was Pellegrino, bloke looked a nervous wreck at every game, should have been on gardening leave by November. 

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8 hours ago, GarrettIvo said:

Look I know Puel will never be looked upon with any great fondness, but it's a bit much to blame him for what's happened since he departed.

Personally I think its pretty lazy to label him as a "yes man" based on fuck all really, apart from people just not liking him, him not having a witty or sparkly personality like Koeman or Strachan and turgid football. 

To me he always came across to me as someone that didn't take any shit.

He had a method and he stuck to it. 

Unless people's idea of a "yes man" involves the idea that the club specifically told him to try and score as few goals as possible in the last ten games of the season and he went along with it. 

Edited by CB Fry
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1 hour ago, saint1977 said:

I don’t blame Claude but it was a very strange appointment when we were flying and had a good, offensively minded team. IIRC Les had little swipes at Ronald when he was praised at the end of season event, revealing his jealousy eg ‘he’s done alright’ when just finishing PL top 6 FFS and Europa Groups qualifying. If he had gone for another big name with contacts in the game and stayed in the background Les is thought of differently and those horror windows don’t happen.

Granted, Mane was sold and Redmond/Boufal weren’t great signings but it was a regression to 17th place football when there was no need. The tactics in the final Europa League game summed it up. Either side of Wembley it was much better but Claude had a similar phase of trying to appease the fans at Leicester but defaulted back to emasculating their main threats like Vardy and his budget was far bigger than SFC.

He would do OK with the current squad and not a bad manager in Ligue 1 at all but just not the right time. The yes man was Pellegrino, bloke looked a nervous wreck at every game, should have been on gardening leave by November. 

It wasn’t a strange appointment. He had a good track record in France, had a history of developing young players and was relatively unknown in England in many ways the perfect saints manager choice. 
 

the problem he had was people didn’t like him from the start because he wasn’t the big name they wanted to replace Koeman and did have a few funny one liners in his interviews. He did well after losing his top 2 goals scorers from the previous season and one of the best central defensive partnerships in the league for the second half of the season. 

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1 hour ago, saint1977 said:

They were bad, not much unlucky in there, and the thinking/strategy or lack of was astonishing. Lemina is the only one where it could have come good and you can see where it might have worked. Under Koeman Mario might have performed better but under the joint worst and most defensive manager in the club’s history no one shone (Pellegrino). Don’t think he had the work ethic for Poch or RH. 

Hoedt - Lazio signed him on free FFS, a squad player, a couple of international caps when the Dutch got injuries, and he’s worth £17m? Give me a break. Les/Ross got their pants pulled down. As for Gunn, was a nice to have but given the unexplainable and huge second extension to Forster who had a poor season under Puel it wasn’t realistic and Kruger should have grown a pair of balls and vetoed it. Rumour was Claude wanted a new keeper. £13m on Gunn was criminal in that context when Fraser had really stunk under Pellegrino and been dropped. Les should have been told to wait to sign Gunn until he’d shipped Fraser out, which with 5 years to go wasn’t happening. 

Elynoussi - may come good now, didnt seem to have game for the PL, and £16m would have bought a decent quality £25m quick winger now. That era was such a shitshow hard for any new player to come good. Carrillo - again Kruger had to grow a pair, veto the signing, sack the manager over Les’s head and sack Les for losing his mind. If you aren’t sure, ask one of the scouts who isn’t a brown noser and knows their players.Mickey Evans was a better player than that on a shoestring.

Good luck Wrexham, hope you still exist in 5 years post Les.

Bad players in hindsight only. Hoedt wasn't a squad player, he played most of the prior season for 5th place Lazio, you know higher placed than Southampton. He played in only a couple of losing games and the fee was consistent with other fees paid at the time.

If you think Lemina could have made it then you have to think that Boufal could have, bags more talent.

Gunn was succession planning and FF was put on a long contract to keep the asset value up. The club obviously didn't appreciate his fall in form.

Elynoussi won't come good.

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Not a transfer so wasn't included in the article, but Forster's ridiculous contract was also in the Summer 2017. 2016-18 was an absolute car crash, our hands have been tied to such an extent because of those years that it's a minor miracle we haven't been relegated.

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I still find it absolutely mind blowing that we've gone from a club with zero debt and enough money to invest in infrastructure to one where we're happy to believe that giving our goalie a long contract was almost enough to bankrupt us.

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2 minutes ago, verlaine1979 said:

I still find it absolutely mind blowing that we've gone from a club with zero debt and enough money to invest in infrastructure to one where we're happy to believe that giving our goalie a long contract was almost enough to bankrupt us.

Profit from player trading, lowest agents fees in the league, “money wasted” on signings was generated from sales, 9 years of premier league income only 7 (?) clubs with longer than that and we’ve not got a pot to piss in. 
 

repeat after me

we are a well run club

we are a well run club

we are a well run club 

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47 minutes ago, Turkish said:

It wasn’t a strange appointment. He had a good track record in France, had a history of developing young players and was relatively unknown in England in many ways the perfect saints manager choice. 
 

the problem he had was people didn’t like him from the start because he wasn’t the big name they wanted to replace Koeman and did have a few funny one liners in his interviews. He did well after losing his top 2 goals scorers from the previous season and one of the best central defensive partnerships in the league for the second half of the season. 

I’m not saying he was or is a bad manager, I just think now and expressed at the time that with the squad we had - appreciate Mane and Victor sold - that he could have been more balanced between defence and attack. When Saints did attack either side of the Cup Final we looked a good side. Ronald was a huge personality and profile and it was a bit unfair on Claude in a way to follow straight after. Tactically I thought he was sound and he’d do quite well with the limitations of the current squad. Certainly we’d ship less silly goals although hopefully RH gets it tighter this season and Lyanco is a hidden gem. 

16 point drop from Ronald was a lot though and the football in the last 2 months of that season was dire. 23 points from his final 22 PL games wasn’t it? 

Les shafted him in that January window though with the Fonte debacle and bearing in mind VVD injured, the disorganised fool. Les should have been sacked for that. 

His record in France was generally good but feast (CL places) or famine at Nice and Lyon was decent but a step down from the domination they had. Lille he did well at and since another Cup Final at St Etienne. What was an insult was to sack him for Pellegrino. Actually sacking anyone for Pellegrino bar Ian Branfoot is offensive. 

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6 hours ago, Holmes_and_Watson said:

Looked to the sky on reading Adam Hammill, in case one of his shoot on sight efforts was finally coming out of orbit.

Glovesman could easily be an international goalie/spy franchise.

 

What a shout! I forgot all about Hamill.

I remember Christian Dailly being quality during his short spell, think he was made captain after about 3 games. 

 

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