Southampton in desperate need of a dose of charisma after sacking Claude Puelby Andy Dillon / 16 June 2017, 11:15Tweet
ARSENE WENGER once said that every football reflects the personality of its manager.
If that’s true then it’s no surprise Southampton sacked Claude Puel after only one season.
The fans complained that the football was boring and for the media his press conferences were mind-numbing.
Puel makes the Archbishop of Canterbury look like Liam Gallagher.
There is divided opinion about whether he was a good manager for Saints and that on paper last season was hardly deserving of the chop.
Eighth place in the Premier League, a bit of a run in Europe and a major cup final which the team should have won had it not been for a short-sighted linesman.
Go back six years and Southampton were clawing their way out of League One.
Unfortunately for Puel, there is now an added dimension to football management in the top division in England - the TV paymasters.
There was a time, not so long ago in fact, that a manager could scrape by on the back of sound results - keeping the team in the top flight in company with the glitterati.
But as we have seen in only the past week there are increasing pressures to sell the Premier League package, brand ‘EPL’ and let’s face it, Puel is never going to be box office.
The proposal for Saturday night matches to sell to US audiences and Sunday morning games to catch the eye of the more lucrative Asian market means boring football is now very last season.
It was virtually impossible to hear a word whispering Claude muttered from six inches away in his media briefings, let alone from across The Atlantic or in the Land Of The Rising Sun.
In particular, Southampton are in the process of a takeover by Chinese businessmen and they’ll be wanting to show off their new toy at St.Mary’s to all their pals back home.
Stale soccer with only five goals in the last nine Premier League games plastered across every TV screen from Singapore to Shanghai ain’t gonna make them look good is it?
With a dull, workmanlike manager comes workmanlike football.
Insiders at the club say Puel’s training sessions were similar with one exception.
I am led to believe that despite being 55 years old, Frenchman Puel, who was a bit useful in his prime playing nearly 500 games for Monaco, still fancied himself on the pitch.
He would often join in the small-sided practise games whilst also undertaking the role of referee.
The boss would tackle hard on his own players and complaints from inside the dressing room were that he was incredibly biased towards his own team - even in a ‘friendly’ at the club’s plush new training ground.
It’s a shame this has only emerged 24 hours after he was dismissed as it at least shows a bit of character - something Puel hid almost as well as he did his strikers.
Saints fans should be relieved that Puel is gone. Football is not just about results, it is about enjoying your experience watching your team whether that be Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, Sunday morning or Tuesday afternoon.
Whoever comes in is guaranteed to have more charisma and that will reignite the buzz in the camp and could also play a pivotal role in persuading players like defender Virgil van Dijk to stay on for another year instead of jumping ship.