Whether it be on the field or inside the boardroom, Southampton are currently being crippled by its own indecision. While this has been an issue for the club, the fact that we currently find the name Southampton FC inscribed next to the 17th place symbol on the table magnifies this issue even more.
The issue of indecision has hurt this club in more areas than one. Moving back to the end of the 2016/17 campaign, we find a club and boardroom under fire. Then manager Claude Puel had clearly worn out his welcome at the club and was clearly despised by a loud majority of the supporters.
However, despite the fact that Southampton went through the final five home matches of the season without a single goal being scored as well as the fact that Puel’s winning percentage had cratored in the second half of the campaign, it still took until June 23rd before Saints decided to part ways with the Frenchman.
Moving into this campaign, the club once again find themselves paralized by their own failures once more. Sitting 17th in the table, the club have gone without a win in the Premier League since the middle of November and where also knocked out of the League Cup during their opening match against Championship side Wolves.
Limping to a 1-0 victory at Craven Cottage a couple weeks ago, the Saints just barely marched on to the fourth round of the FA Cup. Throwing in this past Saturday’s controversial loss and we begin to see a pattern. While the side usually starts strong and even takes the lead in some of these matches, a second half of parking the bus has continuously caused it’s undoing.
With many of the club’s supporters now calling for the board to sack current manager Mauricio Pellegrino, the club are once again being put in an unflattering light. While many of the club’s around Southampton in the table have made moves at the manager position, Chairman Ralph Krueger has instead decided to go the opposite route, giving Pellegrino his support during this trying time.
While it has been easy for the club and it’s supporters to place blame on the transfer saga that revolved around Virgil van Dyke, this attempt to take pressure off the manager has almost backfired, causing the growing angry hoard to heap more pressure on the club in fear of relegation back to the Championship.
Speaking of transfer policy, here is another area that the club struggle to make decisions in. While the incoming transfers over the last few years have done enough to block this out, this January transfer window is fully exposing the club. Having just sold Van Dyke to Liverpool for close to $100 million, Southampton have penny pinched themselves out of the transfer market so far.
With reports now stating that top target Theo Walcott is set for a switch to Everton this month, Southampton have once again missed out on not only a needed attacking player but also one that was a former Southampton youth graduate. Add into this the lack of real transfer news coming out of the South Coast and this January looks like it will be a quiet one at St. Mary’s.
Heading into the stretch leg of the campaign, Southampton FC find themselves at a crossroads. Having failed to make a decision within and outside the team as it pertains to avoiding relegation, Saints may be set to face the drop this Summer. Should this occur, I hate to say that this may be only the beginning of another dark stretch for a club that until recently looked set to challenge year in and year out for Europa League qualification.