Dear Roker Report
A few weeks ago, I wrote in to complain about the lack of atmosphere at the SOL. However, for the last two home games it’s been really good! In a perverse way, Alex Neil’s departure has seemed to galvanise the supporters to rally behind the team and new manager. Long may this improvement continue, especially when Millwall visit on Saturday. The next big step will be getting the majority to stay until after the final whistle!
The main reason for emailing though, is to concur with the more positive and balanced threads you have received about the club. I especially don’t get the vilification of “Mr Speakman”. I am certainly not a “happy clapper”, but some people really do need to get real.
Ask yourself, since KS started his role at the club has the team improved overall? Has the style of play improved? Do we have better players in the first team for the here and now? Do we have better players for the future? Did we get promoted last year? The answer is of course yes, therefore he is fulfilling his brief so far. He is employed to do certain things, not run the whole club! Are things perfect? Of course not; our squad is evolving though, and will take time. It can’t all be done in one transfer window.
Some sections of our support will always be boo-boys and need a scapegoat to focus on, especially a player. It was once Lynden Gooch, then and perhaps still now Luke O’Nien, next it seems it’s going to be Ellis Simms' turn. Getting on a player’s back certainly doesn’t make him play any better. I am sure the more game time he gets, the more accustomed to his teammates he becomes, and if he actually received better service rather than scraps to feed from, then the more he will shine. You can’t shoot if you don’t have the ball! So less of the negativity, please and let’s help rather than hinder our players.
Yes, there is also room for improvement in many areas off the pitch too, many of which Roker Report have highlighted. But imagine if KLD had bought another sort of business to that of a football club that was dysfunctional and underperforming. Would you expect him to fix everything at once? No, of course not – you go for the big wins first and then look at other incremental improvements. There is still lots to do, but it will take time as the off-field functions evolve too.
Consider this - we are a long way off the Premier League yet, but when we do get there which model for our club would supporters like us to be using, that of Southampton or dare I say it, even one day Liverpool, or that of Manchester United? I, for one, certainly know which one I would prefer!
Keep the faith
Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email, Mark. I’ve been critical of Speakman in the past, especially around our handling of the search for a new head coach in February, but you cannot argue that since his appointment we’ve been on an upward trajectory. Yes, there have been ups and downs, but in the main we’ve continued progressing in the right direction.
I’m really happy about the model we have; it’s not rocket science, but it’s different to how the club has been run before, and it’s building for tomorrow, not just for today.
In today’s society, there’s a ‘want it now’ culture, and sometimes that impacts football too, be that in terms of how we’re building our squad, or the game by game performances of individuals.
We’re bringing in a lot of young players and their performances will have ups and downs. It’s essential we back them through the downs, as the potential upside of doing so is huge.
Dear Roker Report,
In reply to yesterday’s letter, I think the best system to use in the absence of Stewart, Ballard and Cirkin is this: Patterson in nets, Alese at left-back with Batth and Wright in the middle, and Hume right back. Evans and Neil centre mid, with a trio of Clarke, Pritchard and Roberts ahead of them, and then Simms up front. Much more balanced, I think.
Ed’s Note [Martin]: It’s certainly a possibility Joe – I’ve said it a few times on our podcast, but it’s clear as day this squad isn’t being built with the intention of playing three at the back as a first choice, we’ve been playing it out of necessity so far. I’d like to see Alese given a run, and if we were to go down that route I’d probably stick O’Nien either at full back or centre back. It’ll be interesting to see what he does on Saturday, if Stewart and Cirkin are missing.
Dear Roker Report,
Good day to you, I am hoping you can enlighten me with something that seems, to me, erratic on the SAFC site. I live on the South Coast and the only way for me to watch a match (free) is firstly keeping away from results on match days and then going onto the SAFC site the next day after 12 o’clock and watching the 90mins.
Now this used to happen when in League One only when “the lads” won a match otherwise it was just highlights. But now in the championship it only seems to be the odd game they show the next day, do you know if there is a reason for this?
Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email Chris. It sounds like you permanently live in an episode of The Likely Lads. I suspect it’s to do with the games that have been on Sky – we’re probably not allowed to use that coverage for highlights/full-90 on the website – but I’m just guessing. This is another example of where better communication from the club wouldn’t go amiss.