Unity is a rare commodity in modern football.

The nature of the Premier League, it’s rolling news agendas, social media impact and worldwide superstar appeal has made it a perfect breeding ground for short-termism and division.

Not only between rival fans, managers and players, but even inside individual clubs.

It seems the world of football supporting has become increasingly black and white. You either need to be one extreme or the other.

If you back what’s going on then the blinkers are on to anything contrary and people who try to present balance are castigated as negative, trying to destabilise the club or simply uncaring.

The opposite is also true. If everything is presented as negative then any reasoned attempt to present some balance, to point out the positives, is seen as being happy clappy, wearing rose tinted glasses or somehow being a puppet.

In football, as in life, the truth most often lives in the overlap between the extremes.

Against this backdrop, to create unity behind a common purpose and common goal is the unicorn of Premier League football.

And while Saints have not quite managed the full house with questions still surrounding the structure, ownership and overall direction of the club, they are partly there.

Having experienced the opposite during several years of instability there is a new purpose, courtesy of Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The fans have been looking for someone to get behind, in whom to invest their hopes and dreams for the future. They have found him.

Hasenhuttl’s ability to bring people together, even from the moment he walked into a fractured situation, has been his most remarkable achievement.

Having taken the team from candidates for relegation to one looking optimistically at next season has been no mean feat. He may want to share the adulation, but it was clear at St Mary’s yesterday that the fans have invested in him in a major way.

The traditional end of season lap of appreciation can be a rather turgid affair at times. Even in brighter years it has a tendency to be a bit of a damp squib.

But the number of fans who stayed behind even after a poor draw with Huddersfield, which capped what has been in truth a bad run at the end of the campaign, was telling.

And who was their adulation reserved for? Normally it’s the star player. The outstanding goalscorer. The amazing goalkeeper. The captain who has led the team.

Not this time. It was for the manager, even to the extent that a large number of the players seemed to be virtually ignored.

Hasenhuttl has done something very special indeed.