RALPH Hasenhuttl has been relieved of his duties at St Mary’s this morning – ending the reign of Saints’ longest serving manager in the Premier League.

A month shy of reaching four years in charge at Saints, Hasenhuttl was let go as boss after Sunday's 4-1 defeat at home to Newcastle.

It marks Saints’ eighth defeat of the season, leaving the Hampshire outfit languishing in the division’s bottom three, with 12 points from their opening 14 fixtures.


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You would have to go back to the start of the 1990s to find a manager who took charge of more games than Hasenhuttl’s 173 fixtures, with Chris Nicholl leading Saints for 293 matches between July 1985 and May 1991.

Appointed in December 2018 to replace Mark Hughes, Hasenhuttl has steered Saints to safety on three occasions, preserving their Premier League status, but it appears new owners Sport Republic no longer believe he is the man to keep Saints in the top-flight after just four wins in his last 25 games on the South Coast.

Only three Premier League managers have been in situ longer than Hasenhuttl at Saints, with Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, and Brentford’s Thomas Frank enjoying longer spells than Hasenhuttl’s three years and 334 days in charge at St. Mary’s.

Hasenhuttl’s longevity is made even more remarkable when the fact that Frank’s spell at Brentford started in the Championship is considered, whilst Manchester City and Liverpool’s dominance of English football has made Guardiola and Klopp untouchable at their respective clubs.

Brendan Rodgers, who now becomes the division’s fourth-longest serving manager with Leicester City, can also point to success behind his longevity, with the Foxes FA Cup winners and frequent qualifiers for Europa under the Northern Irishman.

Leicester defeated Saints en route to that cup win in 2021, Kelechi Iheanacho grabbing the only goal in a 1-0 win at Wembley in the semi-finals.

In total, the Austrian managed Saints for 173 games, winning 60 games, meaning Hasenhuttl had a winning percentage of 34 per cent during his reign.

151 of those matches came in the Premier League, meaning the 55-year-old has managed Saints in more Premier League games than any other manager.

Any conversation regarding Hasenhuttl’s reign and the numbers behind it will naturally bring up the two 9-0 defeats Saints suffered whilst the Austrian sat in the dugout.

The record-equalling defeat at home to Leicester City in October 2019 asked questions of Hasenhuttl’s future, the heavy defeat dropping Saints into the drop zone by courtesy of a damaged goal difference.

15 months later, Saints were hit for nine again, becoming the first side to lose by that margin twice in the Premier League. Saints had rallied after their first thumping, leading the Premier League for the first time in their history in November 2020.

Daily Echo: Pic: PA ImagesPic: PA Images (Image: PA Images)

A massive slump in form followed, with just one win in eight Premier League matches leading up to the trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.

Prior to this season, Saints had only paid a fee for five permanent players under Hasenhuttl, with Che Adams representing his largest outlay, a reported £15million from Birmingham City.

According to transfermarkt.com, Saints had spent €69million in the past three seasons, before splurging a similar amount of young talents this window.

In total, Hasenhuttl gave 27 players their Premier League debuts, whilst using 75 players across all competitions.

Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse predictably made the most appearances of any player under Hasenhuttl, missing just seven of his 173 games in charge, playing 166 times.

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