***What's the Hold Up?***
Photo: Matt Watson, Southampton Football Club
By most accounts, Mark Hughes did an acceptable job when he manged to help leads Saints to safety after a tumultuous Season, from both a management, a player, and an on pitch standpoint. 8 points from 8 games is hardly setting the world alight, and without some significant changes in the team's makeup it's likely another battle for survival could follow again next year. But, with 3 of the 8 matches against teams in the top 6, some vastly improved and inspired performances in the face of adversity, and the willingness and the ability to pick the team up and focus them on the next match, on the task at hand, each time they were knocked down, Hughes did more than the 8 points suggest.
Having done that, many fans are left wondering why the club has failed to acquire his services for the long-term in the days following the end of the season. It now appears that Hughes is, and perhaps other key figures in the decision making process, are on holiday (vacation for all the US readers). I don't begrudge anyone taking some time to relax and reset, it's healthy... but having no manager in place during a World Cup Summer after having just barely survived the drop doesn't seem to be among the most well reasoned and carefully planned ideas.
Contracts are complicated matters, of course. Bonuses, pay structures, transfer budgets and more all have to be considered and weighed when making a new signing, whether it's a manager or a player. There are rumors floating around that the limited transfer budget is causing Hughes some concern, but despite that Simon Peach, believes it's a matter of "when not if" Hughes will be announced as the permanent manager for the coming season. If Peach is correct, and there's little reason to doubt him, it's just a case of a few plane flights back to England before the manager will be announced. Unpleasant and mildly irritating? Yes. Worth the wait? Let's hope so.
Until next time,
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