LIKE most ex-managers, I’m always upset and sorry for any football boss who is sacked before his contract is up.

It is an amazing fact, even by the standards of the modern-day game but particularly our club, that we have now had four managers in less than 18 months.

Times have changed, even since the relatively recent days of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

The legendary Ted Bates spent 18 years managing the Saints and could have carried on but in those days managers thought they should retire when they got to a certain age.

It was then that I was brought in. I carried on for 12 years and could have stayed on if I’d wanted.

Saints now average a new manager every season.

Mark Hughes was the right appointment at the right time and without him we’d have been relegated.

He had that short period last season and then the summer to work out who his best players would be but unfortunately they did not come up with the results.

We are the only Premier League club to have won just one game this season and I find it hard to believe we’ve only won one game at home in the last calendar year. No other club in the top four divisions has a record that bad.

So obviously someone has to carry the can.

Les Reed was apparently responsible for the signings. In my day his equivalent would have been the club’s head scout, who reported to the manager.

I’m not sure if Mark will ever tell us if there were players brought in who he did not want or players picked who he wouldn’t have selected.

But managers still take the blame and the credit for what happens on a matchday.

While watching a recent Saints match with Mick Channon, we were both shocked at the lack of passion. There wasn’t anyone like him or Kevin Keegan, Alan Ball or Peter Osgood – brilliant senior players shaking a fist at younger players urging them to get stuck in.

It sounds old fashioned but those players had such a big influence on and off the field, which helped the manager.

That passion and attitude will be seen in the opposition at Cardiff today simply because of their manager, Neil Warnock.

He is not everyone’s favourite and hasn’t got an abundance of ability or skill in his team.

But look at his record - he’s taken up more clubs than anyone.

Cardiff are expected to go down but they won’t without a fight and one or two results recently are proving that.

Fourth-from-bottom will be a huge success for Cardiff and will be acceptable for Southampton this season. But we should be a mid-table club hovering on the edge of the top six.

Good luck to the new manager. because we are going through a spell which needs to be rectified quickly.

With due respect to Ralph Hasenhuttl, I only know what I’ve read.

He’s obviously done well but at various smaller clubs and I haven’t met a new Premier League coach/manager who hasn’t found the Premier League a different challenge to where they have come from.

Hasenhuttl will need time to adjust and work out his best team, bearing in mind he probably hasn’t seen the majority of the players he has inherited before.

He needs the sort of faith that was shown in me. My first season wasn’t a huge success but the board stood by me and in the long term they were repaid.

I arrived at the Dell having having won four league titles at different clubs - one as coach and three as manager.

If I’d been given more time at Sunderland, where I left two years into a three-year contract, I like to think I could have made the necessary improvements there as well.

Mark may well be saying the same thing. That he needed more time.

NOT every department of Southampton FC is having problems.

I attended the Saints Foundation’s recent sleepover for the homeless, organised in conjunction with the Big Issue.

Hats off to the 100-plus people who slept under one of the stands at St Mary’s all night long.

I have to admit I was tucked up in my own bed as they were nodding off.

It was done to enable charities to help people who have had many problems in their lives. I was fascinated to talk to some who were repaying the good work that has been done to them.

Apparently over £20,000 was raised with hopefully more to come.

A lot of people, including staff, contributed a minimum of £200 just to take part.

Let’s hope the good work they are doing flows on to the pitch.