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    Churchill Saint wrote:
    For me, a Saints fan of 40 years plus, 18/1/2013 was a pivotal date. It was the day when I fully realised beyond doubt what Cortese’s mission for SFC really was. Fans don’t usually choose their team – its determined by who their local team is, or the first match they saw with their Dad, or maybe some outstanding incident that appealed. I feel lucky than when the dice was rolled for me aged 13 to came up with Saints. The intervening 40 years has had more than its fair share of ups and won but has always been fun and emotional and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. And what I love about supporting Saints is the culture of the club. We don’t win much silverware but that just makes it so much better when we do achieve something, such as double promotion in consecutive seasons. The culture of SFC is epitomised by the loyalty shown by players such as Matt Le Tiss and Kelvin and by the academy that has brought so many excellent players through – as a fan it fills me with pride seeing a player come through the system and gain international honours. I like it that so many people say “I’ve always liked Southampton”, or “Southampton have always been my second team”. Its simply because SFC have always been a likeable club.
    But the culture of any club is set not by history or the fans but by the controller of the club. During the Lowe years it became clear to me that if the controller is not a genuine fan of football and/or of Saints the desires of the average fan will be superceded by the agenda of whoever controls the club. I was delighted when Cortese took over and saved us from liquidisation (yes, I know it is Liebherr money, but NC has always been calling the shots) and without doubt, if you offered me today’s situation then, I would definitely take it. The success of the Cortese reign to date has been nothing short of remarkable and he can take much of the credit for that. Not just for organising the finance but for his decision making and negotiating skills (I love the way he stands up to agents and paparazzi). However, 18/1/2013 was the date I realised just how ruthless and focused the man was (the “Don” nickname is sooo apt). I can understand his motives but I think in footballing terms the timing of NA’s sacking was naïve and very risky. I believe 100% that Cortese believes what he says when he says it’s for the long term good of the club; but “the good of the club” is a subjective phrase – to Cortese he is talking about the Balance Sheet, specifically the row “Net Assets”. Fans like me also have a SFC balance sheet, but on it appear words like Pride, Loyalty, Devotion, Inclusion of Fans. In modern English football, a club can only be is one camp, business oriented or fan oriented, unless the controller also happens to be a genuine fan (e.g. Wigan, Stoke). I now know which camp Saints are in and the culture has changed. I’m a little disappointed in this but I think exciting times lie ahead.
    So you are firmly on the fence then..

    gutted for NA but it is naive to believe the date 18/01/2013 represents a sea change at SFC....

    We became part of the commercial football community the day lifelong shareholders were 'forced' to sell their shares at face value back to the club..back in the 90's..

    It is understood that even our past hero's such as Lawrie Mac had their noses in the perspective please..

    Cortese can only be judged as results and vision far he has called it is happy about the way NA went...but this 3 points margin when we have some difficult games coming up is a stick or twist situation in itself...

    ..never mind that the future SFC needs to be streets ahead of were we are now....

    ..our hoofing tactics and panic needs to be addressed with composure and I for one am not sure NA could change our game that much or that we have the time frame to do it without a new pipeline....

    I will say that I think NC has got it right..long live Nigel."
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Saints fan backs Nicola Cortese's judgement

Nicola Cortese

Nicola Cortese

First published in Saints News

NIGEL Adkins was not the man to take Saints to the next level.

That is the view of Saints fan Grant Goddard who has written to the Daily Echo in the wake of Adkins’ sensational sacking.

Goddard writes: “I do not claim to speak for any other Saints fans but am writing this because I am fed up of current media portrayal of how the club is being run. I am not the only one who feels this way.

Firstly can I say, I was and am still a massive fan of Nigel Adkins, from the moment he was first linked with the job, and saw interviews of how he spoke about our interest, I was sold that he was the man to take us back to the Premiership.

Do I think Nigel should have been sacked? No.

Do I think he was the right man to take us onto the next level? Unfortunately no. As a club we want to attract big names to play for us, and as we don’t have the club history of a Liverpool then we need to rely more heavily on the manager to help attract a better level of player. Nigel, while I think the world of him, at this time is not that man.

The sorts of players we have been linked with at times have been two very different areas. Some have been players who we are battling the likes of top 6 teams for, and others are very good Championship players who we are competing with Norwich or Villa for.

And I mean no disrespect to those teams, but I feel our club is trying to aim high than that. I would have liked Nigel to have stayed with us until the summer when the season could have been assessed and a statement of intent to step up a level could have been made by Nicola Cortese in a more media friendly way. However, this is not how football works.

I believe this is a decision that was made months ago, maybe caused by our lack of ability to sign some of the desired targets in the summer, who knows.

While in many ways it does feel sneaky that things have been going on in the background, is this not the best possible change over? Would weeks of “who will be the new manager?” have helped our campaign?

For the people who question Nicola Cortese sacking a manager after a 4-0 win and now a 2-2 draw at Chelsea, would you rather a chairman who panic sacks a manager after a 6-1 defeat to Arsenal?

Plus when you have decided on your new manager, who is to say he will be available when its “media friendly” convenient to sack your current one?

Rumours of a meeting with NC and the first team in the summer have now come out where he stated many were not good enough for the Premiership. You could argue that we have replaced at least 5 or 6 of the regular starting line of last year with better players (GK, LB,RB, a CB, RW?, CF) and still we are only just above the bottom 3.

Where do we honestly believe we would have been without them? And where are the fans “up in arms” for players like Richardson who was excellent for us for two seasons and now barely gets a sniff? NC has had to make a lot of tough decisions over his time with the club, and I for one have yet to see anything that has played out to be a bad move in time.

As the Echo stated in an article over the last few days, Pochettino “will be judged on results & Cortese could end up being praised for it if it goes right”. The end of this season and next is where this decision should be judged, but I hope NC is proven to have made a correct, bold call.”

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