RALPH Hasenhuttl’s first signing, Moussa Djenepo, is a player I know nothing about. But I’m delighted for Ralph and the supporters because so far he has done a fantastic job trying to improve players he didn’t sign and probably knew little about.

Arriving at a club in the middle of the season, with games every few days, is not an easy thing for a manager.

We all know now that Ralph was able to get the best out of what he inherited.

Keeping the club up was the most important thing and he achieved that while impressing everyone with the way we played. 

He now has the whole summer to see, first of all, who the club is able to buy. 

There’s always talk about who will be leaving, but players’ contracts are always at least a year long and there may be some not in the manager’s first XI who are on long deals.

You then have to depend on not just other clubs wanting them, but the players wanting to go.

A player with only a year left on his contract may be persuaded, despite realising he is not going to be in the manager’s plans, to stay at the club because at the end of the next season he will be able to walk out of the door on a free transfer.

More clubs would then be interested as they would not have to pay for him – and the player and the agent would make more money.

I’ve said all along that, no matter what happens, a club like Saints will find it very difficult to break into the top six.

But there’s no way we should be a bottom-six team. 

Finishing in the top part of the ‘middle eight’, or the Premier League’s top ten, would constitute a successful season. 

I’m sure our manager has other players in mind who he would like to bring in.

We know we need to score more goals and whilst we have enough goalkeepers of good quality I think a centre-half, ideally in the Virgil van Dijk mould, would certainly help. 

We could also do with more leadership on the pitch.

That’s a big part of a successful football team and the main leader is not necessarily the best player. 

It’s always a great help to a manager when a senior player shows passion on and off the field and can help the younger players by instilling in them the importance of working hard, not just for themselves but for the team in general.

I certainly got the impression towards the end of last season that there was a good team spirit. 

There were certainly individual players who had improved since Ralph came on the scene and I think it shows promise for the new season.

Looking at the fixture list, the tests will come early on with Liverpool being the first visitors to St Mary’s after their success last season. 

Three of last season’s top six visit in the first four home games with Manchester United and Chelsea not far behind the European champions.

Season-ticket numbers have gone up already this year and will hopefully now increase further, with the supporters totally behind our latest manager. 

I like his attitude and the players have reacted as supporters want them to. 

Win, lose or draw, they have shown passion and given 100 per cent so far under Ralph. 

The supporters obviously feel they will continue to get their money’s worth. 

When the pre-season friendlies begin the manager will hopefully have all the signings he wants and we’ll be able to see more of his stamp on the team.

It can’t come quickly enough. I think Ralph has realised that clubs like ours can have just as much passion and will to win on the terraces as the so-called bigger boys in the top six.

* A recent article on blood donation caught my eye in the Daily Echo.

It was an urgent appeal for male blood donors. This week happened to be National Blood Week – and only 44 per cent of the active blood donors at Southampton donor centre are male.

I can recommend donating blood. Many years ago, I became a donor and found out I had a blood group called Rhesus Negative 0. Apparently, it can be mixed with any other blood so I was put on a special list and on more than one occasion was called in to help out.

I would say ’have a go’ to any young men. It usually involves a painless extraction with a needle in your arm but you may well get a cup of tea and a biscuit and it’s all over in half an hour. 

The blood automatically replaces itself and you leave knowing you helped other people.
You never know, one day you might need the same help. 

The Southampton blood donor centre is on Coxford Road and can be contacted on 0300 123 23 23.