EVERY day we’re coming across, via the media, more cases of the virus unfortunately and hoping that it won’t go on much longer.

But, as I think I’ve said before, there are other things people have like flu and particularly cancer, which unfortunately are still going on and on.

I was interested to read this week our manager Ralph Hasenhuttl say that eight years ago he caught something called hantavirus, which fortunately, probably because of his football fitness, he pulled through.

But apart from that, the interesting thing to me was at that time he was managing in Germany and had just brought his team Aalen from the third division to the second.

It lets people know that England isn’t the only country with more than one division, but from my point of view it proved to me why Ralph is doing so well and will continue to do so in the Premier League.

Over the years I’ve seen a few who have been top class players who want to go into coaching, but are looking for jobs at the highest level.

I, myself, managed in all four divisions at various clubs and times, and I realised many years ago that the most successful managers have all cut their teeth lower down before they’ve got to the top. Bill Shankly for instance had time at one of my old clubs Grimsby Town and Brian Clough, who had huge success at Nottingham Forest and Derby, also had a spell at Hartlepool United. Myself, I was at Grimsby and Doncaster.

Winning leagues there of course helps, but being relegated in between at Doncaster also taught a lesson. I then, looking back, realised that in a lower division with smaller squads, less money, the boss is 10 per cent a manager and 90 per cent a coach. He has to improve the group he has with him, whereas the higher up you get, more players etc, it is the other way on – 10 per cent coach, especially when you have international quality players around you, 90 per cent management.

When you have a bigger squad, now of course they’re bigger than ever, there will always be some in the dressing room who are not too happy not getting a regular game and sitting on the bench too often. Things like that have got to be watched carefully in case team spirit is upset. You need one or two of your senior players to be the sort that can handle problems in the dressing room, with a manager in particular doing his bit on the training ground and his talks in the dressing room and going back up to his office.

It leaves his staff and senior players to keep an eye on the talk or patter around the rest of his squad. This is Monday to Friday of course, because Saturday in the old days was the only time there was a game, and the main objective of course was always to win.

But over the years I was lucky to have some senior players, particularly Mick Channon and the great Alan Ball, bless him, who like a lot of the others was grateful in a way for being given the sort of chance to play at that level. Even though they were often in their 30s, one of our expressions was ‘their legs have gone’, I didn’t mind if their attitude was positive and their minds hadn’t gone.

To have good people like them with old minds and surrounded by young legs, they could keep an eye on the young types by not letting them get too big-headed when none of the staff were around.

So I’m sure, looking at our manager from a distance, he is of that type. He will have his own staff and there is obviously respect from the dressing room towards him. They have been doing so well and as I’ve said before, I’m delighted he has extended his contract for another four years, but I am sure there will be one or two players who will think they should be on the pitch rather than the bench.

But my advice to them is don’t moan, don’t try and upset the dressing room, have a shower, get ready and then go and knock on the manager’s door and go and sit with him for a few minutes and he will, I’m sure, settle your questions.

Saints Foundation

The Saints Foundation, as I’ve said before, does an enormous amount of good around the community, not always publicised.

Recently they have asked Matt Le Tissier, Franny Benali and myself as ambassadors if we would mind ringing one or two what I would call ‘oldies’, being one myself!

With the change in things they are not able to have get togethers, which they normally have for the age group I’m on about, where they take them out for walks or they get them together to have exercise sessions, even if they’re sitting in chairs. The staff do a terrific job there.

But, of course, none of their age group are able to get out of their houses now and a lot of them are living on their own.

Saints Foundation have been brilliant in so far as they have set up the connection from the club through a radio system and also getting people to go to see them, drop off their prescriptions etc.

So I was quite pleased to be given two gentlemen to call. David, who is 79, who I have been trying to get hold of every day for the last three. So he may be getting out doing his own walks!

But one I did catch up with was Archie, who is 91. I nearly needed a translator, as he has a broad Scottish accent.

But we had a good laugh and I got it out of him that his main club had always been Rangers but he has lived in our area for 30 years or more, sadly on his own for the last 20 or more. But he is a big fan of Saints and he thanks them for all they have done, particularly since he has been unable to get out to go to a game.

My best friend in Scottish football was Jock Stein, who was of course at Archie’s rival club Celtic. But he couldn’t stop telling me how well Rangers are doing at the moment. They are actually 11 points ahead at the top of the league, but he didn’t want to accept Celtic had two games in hand, which even if they won of course would make Rangers well ahead of them.

But we had a good talk and a good laugh, so well done to the Foundation.

Unfortunately, like all of football at the moment, they are suffering, unable to have the financial support they need and have been trying to raise £10,000. I think the fee had got to nearly halfway the last time I heard. You can donate here.

Anyone interested in helping them out, or letting them know of another senior supporter who is not getting out or seeing people, please make contact with the Saints Foundation at info@saintsfoundation.co.uk and you will be delighted with the support they’ll give.