THE way Southampton have bounced back from their own Storm Brendan looks to me like it has been more about old-school management than a change in formation.

Less than three months after the historic 9-0 defeat at home to Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester, Saints showed how much they have not only repaired the damage but become unrecognisable from that team, by winning away to the same opposition last week.

Ralph and the board deserve huge credit for sticking together after that defeat.

As we’ve said before, the backing of the board enabled the management side of Ralph to come out, by shutting the dressing room door and saying this is what we need to do to win everyone back.

Time and again these days we read about different systems and much has been made of Hasenhuttl’s 4-2-2-2/4-4-2.

But whilst I agree that that is important, the words ‘grit’ and ‘determination’ would be more applicable.

Our team has definitely shown those attributes with their recent results, culminating in the 2-1 win at Leicester.

The talk of systems and formations takes me back to when I played with three centre-halves at The Dell.

It enabled two of them to mark tight without having to worry too much about covering each other as they had the spare centre-half to do that.

Also, our full-backs were able to act more like wingers at times. It suited the players I had in a much smaller squad.

Likewise, on another occasion I played 4-2-4 because of the Wallace brothers and George Lawrence, who were excellent playing wide but weren’t as successful down the centre.

But I’m not so sure Southampton’s improvement is down to the formation necessarily, it’s down to the manager getting an attitude from the players which enabled them to win over everyone.

They’ve shown they wanted to get over that embarrassing evening on October 25 by putting us in a situation where we’re looking up instead of down.

So good have the team been over the last two months that on current form our trip to Liverpool on February 1 could be a top-of-the-table clash.

In a dream world we will carry it on but a win at Anfield would be like scaling Everest.

Let’s wait and see and take each game as it comes.

Similarly, Watford’s improvement under Nigel Pearson is not down to a change in the system.

He is already being compared to my old friend and colleague Graham Taylor, who did exactly the same when he first arrived at Watford, before becoming a hero and a legend. Sadly, it is now three years since we lost him.

The other Taylor in the news is Gordon, chief executive of the players union, who is again being criticised.

I don’t know the full details but one member of his committee is saying he should resign because they are not providing enough support for ex-players, particularly those suffering from dementia.

That is a subject that keeps coming up, whether it was to do with heading the ball or not.

It was announced yesterday that Scotland have become the first European country to ban heading for under-12s.

The £100,000 provided by the PFA to look into these things is not enough considering they have, according to members of their committee, £50m in the bank.

I do find it strange, for instance that three ex-centre-halves I know – and I am in contact with their families – all now have dementia and all played in the days of the old leather football. Yet there’s still no proof that heading the ball was the cause.

I think Gordon, who is now 75 and has apparently been earning over £2m a year, may well find it’s time to hang up his boots if his committee are not wholly in support.

But I must say that, from a distance, I know of other ex-players who struggled in different ways but were helped financially over the years by the PFA.

It would be fantastic if some answer to dementia was found whether for an ex-footballer or not.