Trouble in the Lowe country

The season is nine days old and already we have the first managerial casualty as Paul Sturrock leaves Southampton by mutual consent.

His crime appears to have been losing the first game of the season and not being Glenn Hoddle. I can’t for the life of me understand why the latter is a handicap. All right-thinking people know Hoddle is an appalling man-manager and a bona fide loony to boot. But then the Chairman is very right-thinking, being a member of the UK Independence Party.

The club’s statement has them blaming the media, which is Lowe’s favourite trick – he did it when Hoddle left for Tottenham 2 years back. It seems pretty clear to me that Sturrock has read the speculation, asked Lowe for his backing and not been satisfied with the strength of what he got back, if he did indeed get anything back.

I can’t for the life of me see what Lowe sees in Hoddle. His reputation isn’t much cop in the game and at every club he’s ever managed at, the same criticisms come back again and again of his fickle attitude to players, his condescending approach to player he feels lesser talent than him, and his faith in new-age, hippy-dippy buddhist-christian crossover nonsense. Maybe that’s why Lowe likes him – where the rest of the world laughs or looks away with embarassment, Lowe sees an individual pursuing his own path.

The other factor I wonder wbout is the nature of Southampton’s support. They existed on a fanbase of around 14000 for years, and have suddenly doubled that. It’s increased the club’s revenues, and seemingly their expectations. But are those expectations realistic? Is there a split in the fanbase between the oldies and the newbies? That’s not a real fans versus fly-by-nights by the way -just a recognition that when you suddenly make your fanbase equally dominated by people who have only seen football on TV, that’s got to have some effects, and perhaps Paul Sturrock’s departure is one of them.