A week or two ago some Southampton fans were relishing the fact that Ralph Hasenhuttl was now in pole position to be sacked by Saints, however he has now dropped back in the ratings.
I can understand why some Saints supporters would want to see the back of Ralph Hasenhuttl, what I can’t understand though is the vitriol aimed at him by a minority of the supporter base on social media.
The petty name calling and how some think that they are in line for a National Comedy Award for calling him things like “Hassengotaclue” baffles me, whilst our form has been patchy over the past four years since he arrived, he has done the job on a low budget through no fault of his own and more to the point kept us out of relegation trouble.
At the end of the season individual results count for nothing, it is all about where you are at the end of the season.
However even I don’t think Ralph should be unaccountable, I give him credit where it is due for the job he has done in the past few years, but now the situation has changed with new owners, he is and should be expected to turn us into a team that is less prone to extraordinary scorelines and one that has consistency throughout the season.
He deserves his chance to show the new owners that he is the man for them, but 8 or 9 games in my opinion isn’t the time scale he should be reviewed on, especially since he has had to bed in virtually an entire team in that period.
But the reality of modern football is that it is a result’s given game, 40 years ago teams like Saints looked at stability, now if a manager hasn’t taken a team to a higher league position every year then a section of the fans will demand his sacking.
Hence Ralph Hasenhuttl was odds on favourite for the chop at St Mary’s with the bookies a week or two ago.
Now he has been replaced by Steven Gerrard, a man that has been at Aston Villa for only 11 months, back in November he was a manager with a good reputation forged in Scotland with Rangers, now he is under fire for not taking Villa into the top 10 but starting the season only a place above Saints going into this weekend.
He hasn’t given them instant success and it looks like he could pay the price, his odds for the sack are now shorter than even Ralph’s and he is the new favourite to be sacked with Brendan Rodgers in 4th place and even more bizarrely Jurgen Klopp in 4th.
Perhaps we should all look at Arsenal for inspiration this season, when Mikel Arteta took over in December 2019, they were in 5th place yet Unai Emery was still sacked, Arteta eventually finished 8th and the following season he finished 8th again, for a team like Arsenal that is the equivalent of Saints finishing 17th each season and just escaping relegation.
Last season saw them move up to 5th, but it wasn’t a Champions League spot and more to the point they had been pipped at the post by Spurs, there are some who thought that Arteta had taken the club as far as he could.
But the Arsenal board kept faith with Arteta and now they are reaping the benefits sitting on the top of the Premier League and perhaps from a truly realistic level 9 points above that 5th spot that does not get a Champions League place.
So I am not asking people to change their opinions of Ralph Hasenhuttl, if you feel that his time is up then that is your right to have that opinion, all I ask is that people are respectful for what he has done at this club in a difficult situation, whether he takes us forward or not, he deserves the respect for the job he has done in the 3 1/2 years since his arrival.