Communication from the top has not exactly been Saints’ strong point during the last five years.
If Ralph Krueger is true to his word, then that is all about to change.
The club’s new chairman began his first official day in post by inviting members of the media in to meet and quiz him.
After Nicola Cortese’s rather reclusive reign, this was a refreshing change.
It is the sort of open dialogue that Krueger plans more of, and not just with the media.
“The single most important thing we have is the style of communication that is going to happen,” he said.
“To engage with the fans and interconnect with the fans and communicate with them openly.
“It doesn’t always have to be friendly. Let’s always do it if we have a losing streak going. It is not about just going out when the sun is shining.”
Krueger spoke impressively yesterday, which was no surprise given his background.
Renowned motivational and leadership speakers who are also active members of the World Economic Forum tend to have a way with words.
Engaging He chose the Markus Liebherr Lounge as the venue for the gathering, both as a nod to the club’s late owner and also its current custodian, Katharina Liebherr, who Krueger enjoys an incredibly strong bond with.
He was engaging, entertaining, and answered questions at length, while being sure not to divulge too much information on subjects he did not want to.
The fact he was willing to field the questions said a lot, though.
While the extended period of success overseen by Cortese resulted in him earning a strong share of support among the fan base, a sense of frustration always seemed to linger in the background that he was not more communicative – particularly when it came to explaining decisions that did not meet with supporters’ approval.
Other than the very occasional selective interview, little was ever heard from him.
Krueger is intent on taking a different approach.
That is not to say there are not some similarities between him and his predecessor.
Krueger clearly seeks excellence from those around him and possesses a great attention to detail.
One of the first things he did on arriving at the club was to get the human resources department to compile a profile of each of the 200-plus members of staff for him to see.
‘Ruthless empathy’ “We are asking ourselves who is walking in here in the morning trying to make the Saints better,” he said, adding how pleased he is with the talent in place at the club.
He is not afraid of being the bad guy either, talking about having a “ruthless empathy”.
“I am not here to be popular,” he said. “If, when my time ends, people respect what happened here, then I have done my job.
“If popularity is a by-product, nice, but if not, that’s not important.”
Krueger, though, comes across as a completely different character to Cortese.
He does not plan to rule with an iron fist, and is not a micro-manager.
“I don’t believe in hierarchical leadership,” he said.
“My leadership style is about finding the best possible people we can afford at every single position and letting them work.”