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Why are some fans losing patience already?
EVEN at Saints, of all clubs, the message doesn’t seem to have got through yet.
With all the managers who have passed through in recent years, surely every person who considers themselves a Saints supporter would appreciate the need for stability to return to St Mary’s.
Obviously that’s not the case.
The first text Radio Solent received from a Saints fan after Saturday’s draw at Charlton said ‘Taxi for Alan Pardew!’ Where to? From the front entrance at The Valley to the away end so hundreds of supporters could shake his hand at winning a point against a team who had won their previous six League One games?
And the Daily Echo message boards have also been visited by people saying Pardew’s brief time in charge should be brought to an end.
Mercifully, those sort of comments seem to be in the small minority.
But the fact some fans are even mentioning ANOTHER change of manager after seven league games is a very sad, damning indictment of the state of English football.
Alan Pardew has had to play catch up on and off the pitch since arriving at St Mary’s in late July.
The protracted takeover certainly wasn’t his fault, and if we’re going to apportion blame for a stuttering start to 2009/10 then perhaps we should mention all those who played their part in that rumbling on and on.
Inheriting a relegated squad minus several of last season’s better performers, at a time when many of his League One rivals had had a full pre-season at least to work with their squad and sign new players, was never going to be an easy task.
Starting the campaign on minus 10 points made it doubly hard for Pardew.
Fans should remember all that. They should also remember that clubs in League One aren’t a bunch of jokers and Saints have no divine right to beat the likes of Brentford and Stockport.
Pardew could have fielded a starting XI at Charlton with seven of his signings – Trotman, Jaidi, Harding, Hammond, Mellis, Lambert and Waigo.
Another one, Murty, would have started but is injured.
With such a phalanx of new players, it’s going to take time to gel all the new faces.
OK, with minus 10, Saints haven’t got too much time.
But, lest we forget, we’ve only had ten and a half hours of league football this season.
Can any manager be judged after that short a period?
Of course not – though it has started to happen at Saints’ fellow strugglers Tranmere where fans have already started to call for John Barnes’ sacking.
There are different expectations at St Mary’s. Better players, better resources.
That creates bigger expectations.
But there is nothing wrong with that.
Pardew has been allowed to bring in the players he’s wanted – eight of them, in all – and his own backroom staff.
The relative patience afforded him so far won’t last forever, and he will know that.
With Saints in League One and on minus points, his honeymoon period was never going to be a long one.
That is why this weekend’s home clash with Yeovil is a crucial one.
It isn’t a must win – there’s no promotion, relegation or play-offs riding on it.
But in order to give the players confidence – and possibly more importantly to an extent, to give the fans confidence in Pardew and his squad – Saints really need to win on Saturday against a side that have drawn three and lost five of their last eight league and cup games.
Saints shouldn’t beat Yeovil because of the two clubs’ vastly differing histories, traditions and fanbases.
They should win because they have got a far bigger and far better squad, full of players who would walk into Championship teams.
THAT is why questions will start to be asked if Saints don’t win this weekend ... … because they don’t really have any excuses not to.
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