FORMER Saints boss Alan Ball insists that blame has to be shared for Saints' cataclysmic drop into the Championship.

Though Ball is highly critical of chairman Rupert Lowe for his part in the club's fall from grace, he believes that Lowe's fellow board members must also hold their hands up.

Board members such as Brian Hunt and Keith Wiseman were at The Dell during Ball's time in charge and the England World Cup winner said last night: "There are people on the board who have been there a long time - they know how the game is run.

"But they cannot seem to handle Rupert Lowe.

"They have given him too much power.

"Lowe has made a lot of mistakes - which is what happens when you have non-football people dealing with football matters.

"I don't know if the chairman should go, I haven't the foggiest. But what I do know is he is paid a terrific salary and he and the board have under-achieved.

"They have brought a lack of stability to the club, and that's not conducive to building a good club.

"Look at the previous 50 years - first under Ted Bates and then under Lawrie McMenemy. Even when Lawrie went down in his first season the people in charge stuck with him and allowed him to rebuild."

Ball added: "What Southampton FC needs is a structure in place where the chairman appoints a manager, the manager appoints his staff and the manager and staff agree on which players to sign. They then live or die on those players.

"The chairman's job is to back his manager. But from what I'm told I don't believe that's what has happened at the club in the last few years. You have to ask questions as to his appointment of managers and his relationship with them.

"It's not just three managers this season - he cut his teeth with Souness, with Jones, with Gray - there's a long list.

"I admire Steve Wigley but he was put in an impossible situation, and then once he was put in there he was kept there for too long.

"But as I said, that was just one mistake of a lot."

Ball hopes Harry Redknapp will stay on as manager but said if he did then the surgery needed on the top-heavy playing squad this summer is huge.

"I looked at the programme yesterday and saw there was around 40 professionals listed on the back page. Of those, you'd only look to keep five or six. There's a mass of ordinariness in that large squad.

"Different managers have brought in different players and you've ended up with a mish-mash.

"Who would I keep on? I like the keeper but you're then looking at a whole new defence, Quashie and Prutton would be OK in the Championship and so would Ormerod. But after that who else is there? You tell me.

"I would like to see Harry stay on, but you have to ask whether his management style suits the chairman."