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New chief respects Saints' tradition
Saints’ new management have promised to “bring the history back” to the club.
Owner Katharina Liebherr unveiled a fresh board of directors this week, with chairman Ralph Krueger saying he wants tradition to play an important role at St Mary’s.
That was not something which was always felt under the rule of his predecessor, Nicola Cortese.
Krueger, however, acknowledged that his words only mean so much, and that it would be actions that proved the most important thing.
“I have always been one to embrace history,” he said. “It can work for you, especially in sports.
“It is deeply rooted here, and generations of families have been coming to the Saints. “Let’s use that.
“But I am just speaking air right now. Let’s do something about it.”
Krueger, a Canadian-born German, added: “One of the things we, and I, respect tremendously is I’m coming to an organisation that’s only 18 years younger than the country I was born in.
“That’s a pretty amazing thing, being born in Canada and sitting here in front of you today.
“To come into an organisation that’s 18 years younger than Canada, it’s something that I respect tremendously, and that’s going to be a powerful tool for us to use, and we just have to decide how it’s best applied.”
While Krueger would like to see a nod to the past, he wants it coupled with a modern way of thinking – although that does not automatically mean changing the fundamental identity of the club.
He said: “That’s what I’m saying to you, is how do we apply that in the new?
“So it’s not about taking the (Saints) logo and saying ‘let’s make it new’.
“Let’s take this logo, which is so historic, and let’s apply it in the new, in a different way and take different angles.
“We want people to be creative and out of that comes innovation, and out of that comes out-of-the-box (thinking), but always respecting what has happened here and taking that with us, and let that be a foundation that we build on.”
Krueger sees potential similarities between Saints and the Green Bay Packers NFL franchise – an organisation that operates in a small-market city, but which is steeped in tradition and often punches above its perceived weight.
“If we took NFL football, we can be a little bit like the sentimental favourite in the organisation, like the Green Bay Packers,” he said.
“It is a small organisation, doesn't have all the options of the big clubs, but they won the Super Bowl.”
In terms of next season’s kit, where many people would like to see the club revert to stripes, Krueger said it was too early to know how that would evolve.
But he insisted he is keen to listen to what supporters want.
“I see my responsibility as the communication, that is my primary goal, and one of the things is to bring the history back,” he said.
“We will give the fans a forum to communicate with us. The interactive communication with the fans is something you will feel very quickly, but let it be honest.
“We are not coming in to be applauded and for everyone to say ‘super’. Let us know what you are thinking.”
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