One of the ex-Saints who has regularly been in the news is Gareth Bale.

Without a doubt he is a top class footballer who started as a full back, became a good attacking player, is probably first choice with the Welsh international team, was snapped up by Real Madrid some years ago and did so well he was given a contract which is, would you believe, worth £600,000 per week.

Unfortunately for him the latest managerial appointment there, who was a world class player himself, Zinedine Zidane, for some reason doesn’t want him.

Zidane has made it quite clear to not only the player but all and sundry with a ‘come and get him’ message.

Most managers would want Bale but there are very few if any clubs prepared to pay that sort of money.

So what do you do if you are the player?

Do you take one of the offers to go to a new club in the Premier League but take less than half the money you are getting now?

The same apparently applies – I’m sure at a very much lesser rate – to two of our Saints players, Charlie Austin and Mario Lemina, who apparently have been frozen out with the manager not taking them on pre-season tours.

Even the pegs to hang their clothes on are now in the reserve dressing room apparently.

In the old days the first team squad was probably 15 or 16 players, but Southampton when they went off to Austria had about 26 players without the two I’ve mentioned and several others still on their holidays. There probably aren’t enough pegs in the first team dressing room.

But the situation creates a new off the field situation for the manager and his staff.

When senior players know they are not wanted, and because of their age and maybe high salary other clubs don’t come knocking on the door, they could be a problem off the field by stirring things up when the manager and staff are not necessarily with the players.

I’m not saying that will happen at Southampton, I don’t know the players, but generally speaking there are a lot of things that go on away from the pitch that the spectators are not aware of.

Having said that, with due respect to the senior players, our manager has made it quite clear that as we did in our day he is happy to promote youngsters who he has watched giving 100 per cent and that makes experienced stars look over their shoulders and from a fan’s point of view it is good all round.

As I have said before I think we will see the best of the team now that the manager has had a whole summer to sort things out rather than when he came in in December with games every few days.

  • Coming from the north east and having been a youth player at Newcastle United, which was every schoolboy’s dream, I am more than a little interested in the latest managerial appointment.

The supporters are ultra-passionate and why shouldn’t they be bearing in mind their ground holds nearly 60,000.

They can’t believe they are not up there with the big six but the main target for them in recent years has been the owner.

It’s unlike days gone by where the owners were local businessmen. The current owner, Mr Ashely, has made it fairly obvious he has bought it as a business and is not necessarily as passionate about football as the fans are.

Apparently, Steve Bruce is Mr Ashley’s ninth manager in 11 years, which is an obvious reason why there has been no success in that period.

I found it unusual that Steve and two of his staff resigned from their jobs at Sheffield Wednesday. It made it look to me that they were then available for anybody without some sort of fee having to be paid, but apparently legally Mr Ashley will have to cough up £4m.

I assume then that was at least Steve’s salary at Newcastle but I was surprised to read he is only on £2m so the amount to Sheffield must have been the remaining part of his contract.

He has taken the £2m offer with the hope that bonuses will come in with success but it shows how keen he is to go back to the place he was born and the club he supported as a youngster.

Already the supporters are criticising because they remember that many years ago – and bear in mind he is now 58-years-old and managed a few clubs – turned down the chance to go to Newcastle. Also, the hatred between Sunderland and Newcastle is so fierce.

Without a doubt Steve will have to get off to a better start than at Sunderland where he was sacked after winning only two of his first 13 games.