I applaud the Southampton fans letter but...

The realities of football, that we have suffered through the likes of Carrick, Berbatov, Modric and Bale have hot Southampton hard and one fans open letter to the board indicates that people don't appreciate those realities.

Southampton fans letter


Theory is a wonderful thing, but reality is often somewhat different. I applaud his writing and venting his anger at the mass exodus which he says was unpredictable. As soon as Mauricio Pochettino left I would have to argue that it was entirely predictable, while he was still there most of the players may have possibly stayed, that would depend upon the extent they were driven by money. The letter begins:

“It is with great sadness that I write this letter, but it is the only way I can think of to vent both my frustration and anger at the way my beloved Southampton is being torn apart. 
"It was not too long ago I was looking forward to another season in the Premier League and even quietly optimistic of seeing Saints build on a fantastic 2013/14 season. 
"However, even the most pessimistic fan could not have predicted what was going to happen. 
"Yes, most fans expected to see a couple of faces leave the club, but it is now getting beyond a joke. 
"What is frustrating is that most people could see that with a tiny bit of investment this great club of ours could have been competing for a trophy and even a European place, even if it was the Europa League. After achieving so much last season, the great fans of Southampton should have been looking forward to a bright future, but then Pochettino left and the alarm bells started to ring."

Whether fans like it or not football is about money, nothing else. Money determines where you are in the food chain, the income a club derives from commercial income is everything as it determines the size of your wage bill under Financial Fair Play rules.

Southampton's wage bill is bettered by 16 clubs in the division I believe, Spurs sit 6th in the wages table and that is roughly where we finish.

"Before we could even start looking forward to next season, players started to be linked with this and that club. 
"Foolishly I, like many other Saints fans, believed that Les Reed would soon put a halt to this speculation, but sadly no, the mass exodus started! 
"Shaw, Lambert, Lallana, Lovren, and now Chambers! Okay, we managed to replace Pochettino with Dutch legend Ronald Koeman, but not even his appointment could stop our star players leaving."

Players who are successful are always linked with other clubs, usually by a reporter inventing a story. A club needs a player in a certain position to a reporter throws a name at the story and suddenly everyone reports XYZ has been linked with a move to said club or said club are interested in XYZ. It happens to every club, when Spurs have success our better players are linked with moves to bigger clubs.

A player on a low wage will always look to increase his wage, a Southampton player can move and perhaps treble his wages. The manager who turned players nobody had taken any note of, apart from Luke Shaw, into quality players because of the system he employs is no longer there, he moved for a bigger opportunity.

Ronald Koeman may be a high quality manager but there is no guarantee of anything, we Spurs fans can talk about managers until we are blue in the face, so many messiahs we have had.

A players agent now has a window of opportunity to progress his clients career by moving him to a bigger club on higher wages, it's natural he is going to take it. The length of a players contract is meaningless because all a player has to do is cause dressing room unrest, not put any effort in and a multitude of other little tactics that make him a liability for a club to retain.

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Berbatov refused to play and didn't put any effort in when he did, Modric played the first two league games of a season at 50% making only sideways passes, Bale refused to play or even train. All a contract is is a method for a club to receive a maximum transfer fee, rarely does it tie a player to a club and loyalty is seen as often as the yetti.

There is also an international career to consider and when your national manager tells you you will not be selected regularly if you are not playing European football then that players is going to want to leave, despite how some fans view international football for players it is the pinnacle.

"Koeman was quoted as saying that any player leaving would be replaced with equal to or better players…..we’ve managed to sign just two. 
"Other clubs seem to be linked with a player, and then a couple of days later said player is wearing the shirt. 
"Not Southampton, though, we are linked with a player and that’s where it ends."

He wants to try being a Spurs fan, because we are one step down from the big five in terms of income but a step above the rest we get linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry. We are the next step up the ladder, it seems to us that any decent player who wants to come to the Premier League and isn't obviously Champions League standard gets linked with us.

Agents have a field day with the media, leak an invented story and then use that t negotiate a better deal for their client with whichever club they are dealing with at the time. As it is like Southampton we have made two signings but it's where the club are at the end of the transfer window that counts, not now. Yes it's ideal from a football playing perspective if you sign early but club chairman are interested in doing the best business deals.

They are done late when pressure is on and you can negotiate a cheaper deal. More deals are done in the last week than at any other time and something like 40% of transfer window deals are done on the last day.

A selling club who has already bought is in a weak position because everyone knows they have to offload a player or his is stuck on their wage bill and possibly can't be included in the named Premier League squad. In such a circumstance a buying club will try and get that player for half price or less and in the end the selling club has little choice but to let the player go for peanuts. That scenario has to be avoided.

Southampton now are in the situation where everyone knows they have money to spend so will quote daft prices and no club should simply pay what another club asks, that's bad business. Ever club, Spurs included over value their players, so each club values a potential purchase themselves then start with a lower offer. Hopefully an acceptable figure is then reached by both parties that they can then tell the media was a roaring success for their club.

"I’m starting to worry that it’s the clubs intention to replace the likes of Shaw, Lambert, Chambers Lallana and Lovren with academy players. Yes one, possibly two young players gradually integrated into the team over time will work, but to chuck more than that straight into the first team is asking for trouble, especially in the Premier League. 
"With the risk of sounding cynical, I even wonder if the club’s decision to return to red and white stripes was just an effort to deflect the fans’ attention away from the subject of transfers?"

It's sacrilege Southampton ever changed from red and white stripes, that is the club, that's one of it's badges to other fans, you associate those stripes with Southampton or Sunderland, at least you do from my era.

"Instead of looking forward to next season with optimism, I find my myself worrying about whether or not we will even have a team good enough to stay in the league. Where there is no doubting Koeman’s credentials as a top class manager, he is only as good as the players that he has at his disposal. 
"The reason why Saints did so well last season was that the team was settled, knew each others’ strengths and seemed to be united in their effort to achieve their goals."

The reason Southampton did so well was Mauricio Pochettino and his style of play, the same players weren't producing that under anyone else however familiar they are with each other. Players and their agents know he was the reason and concern for the future just strengthens the desire to not take a risk and therefore move their client to a bigger club on better wages.

It's unfortunate that's the way football is but that's the way it is. If a club wants to retain players they have to increase their commercial income to increase their wage bill to pay the players more.

"I really hope I’m proved wrong and we have another fantastic season, but at this moment in time I doubt that. 
"I was born in Southampton and have been a Saints fan for as long as I can remember, and that will not change irrespective of who plays for the club or which league we are in. It’s just a shame that the we were so close to realising Markus Liebherr’s dream, only for things to quickly turn in to every fan’s worst nightmare. 
"Forever a Saints fan Mark Saunders. Gloucestershire.”

I'm sorry to say that very few were expecting a similar season or better once Pochettino had left and I'm sorry but a manager is no different from a player, he wants to manage at a club with a higher wage bill and therefore a better overall squad and depending upon what he feels he can achieve at that club, then move to a bigger one still.

The Premier League finishing positions are determined by a clubs wage bill, each year a different club with a lower wage bill has a good season as everything comes together for them but then the better players leave and the club returns to where most would have expected it to be in the first place.

Southampton have always been a nice club to myself on the outside and what their fans are seeing now is a fact of footballing life, it's hard to take but unless commercial revenue grows I'm afraid losing their better players is unlikely to change and after a good year, en masse.



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