WE ARE enduring the most miserable and depressing season of football since the Rupert Lowe days. Never has there been such disquiet amongst the fans.

The guy next to me – a long term season ticket holder – says he no longer looks forward to matches but comes out of a sense of duty and in the forlorn hope that he might suddenly see a bit of brilliance on the pitch or a rare goal.

I am sure our manager is a likeable bloke but among the fans and local pundits he has become a joke. A joker who seems tactically inept, unable to inspire or coherently communicate. What he says never seems to fully relate to what we have witnessed and is delivered void of any passion.

There must be something seriously wrong at the top. What do Les Reed and Ralph Krueger think – are they seeing something the rest of can’t see? If they are then can they please enlighten us? Tell us about the plan that is totally invisible to us paying customers. Where does the buck stop?

The Stoke match was a MUST win match. Looking at our league position, and nine-game run in including six away games and home matches against Chelsea and Man City, hopes of Premier League survival run thin.

We are guilty as a club of over-believing in our own story, a series of top 10 finishes, pundit accolades, model club management and top facilities. But at the same time losing two top managers, selling our best players and, more recently, not replacing them with equal quality. The swagger of success has been overtaken by a self defeating arrogance.

This all rings a bell, the season before the last time we were relegated from the top flight we came a lucky eighth and reached a cup final, followed by no new investment. We went down needing to win against Man Utd in the last game of the season. If I believed in them, the outcome this season could be written in the runes.

We need a change at the top, and not just the manager. Les Reed and probably Ralph Kruger need to step aside – they are past their sell-by date. Complacency, self satisfaction about past success, the feeling they had the Midas touch has led to potentially catastrophic wrong choices about managers and players, and not taking decisive action to change things when needed.

The buzz I hear is about fans not renewing their season tickets next year, lack of entertainment and a club that has lost touch with its fans. We have endured some of the least exciting football in all my years supporting the team with results to match. What has become of the Southampton way?

So far our new owner has been anonymous – we can only hope he has the clout and the money to ultimately step in and sort things out. The current board seem totally incapable, incompetent and strategically incoherent.

We seemed to have such great promise just a couple of seasons ago. There was a real optimism, exciting talk of challenging for a regular top six league position and European football. This has now turned to dust, the football is grim and we are fighting for survival. Great hope has turned completely hopeless.

Peter North