I’m a massive RnB/Rap/Pop music lover, and the title of this piece is based on the artist Tinie Tempah, with the lyrics being:
“I’ve been Southampton but I’ve never been to Scunthorpe.”
I’d give it a 10/10 for creativity, although I feel others may disagree!
On to the real business, and Leicester City have found themselves a new manager- former Southampton boss Claude Puel.
What is it with Leicester City and hiring managers with ‘Claud’ or ‘Claude’ in their first names?!
A good but uninspiring appointment from the Leicester board, that neither signals a step forward nor a step backwards.
This appointment seems to represent Arsenal’s style of football, sideward.
It’s an appointment that most Leicester fans haven’t really taken to, even at this early stage.
The announcement was made yesterday afternoon on the club’s official Twitter account, with the hashtag #WelcomeClaude. Puel has signed a deal keeping him at the King Power Stadium until June 2020.
Michael Appleton, assistant to Shakespeare and current caretaker manager will become Puel’s number two.
He will play a massive role in the situation, giving advice where needed and helping Mr. Puel to settle in quickly.
As with anything, most pundits have already questioned the appointment, believing it was a risk going to Leicester because of the owners.
Now let’s set the record straight here.
Ultimately the owners make the call, of course, it’s their club.
However, the directors can influence the decision-making process and if you are to believe certain reports, then Mr. Rudkin played a pivotal role in the sacking of Craig Shakespeare.
Our owners have been superb to us as a club and as a city.
To their credit, they didn’t have be as generous as they have been, but they were. We have trusted them thus far, and rightly so; they brought in a manager who won us the Premier League!
Give the man a chance I say; you can’t change the outcome of the process.
I’ll be honest though, I find it hard to be excited about the appointment because i’m as ambitious as the rest of us.
What we’re forgetting however, is this man guided a Southampton team, with a lack of fit strikers, to 8th place and an EFL cup final, ultimately losing 3-2 to Manchester United at Wembley.
According to Sports Journalist Paul Doyle, Puel eventually became:
“a victim of Southampton’s admirably unreasonable expectations”.
The club wanted open, expansive, attacking football that would create excitement and enjoyment for the loyal Saints fans.
However, Puel had a vision and a philosophy on how he wanted his team to play, and this was to be his downfall.
You have to remember he essentially only had one, maybe two fit strikers on hand at any given time, which Southampton fans may cut him some slack on.
This was the reason as to why Southampton scored only a measly 17 home league goals, but it was his defensive tactics that didn’t go down well at St. Mary’s.
He was a man who believed what he was doing was right, and do you know what?
I respect him for having faith in what he believes in and not changing his style of play, because Tom, Dick and Harry didn’t like it.
It says a lot about his character- he’s a man of principle, one who’s confident in his abilities to bring success to clubs.
A good contact I have who happens to be a Southampton fan, who lives not far from St. Mary’s Stadium, gave me a detailed insight into Puel and his time down on the south coast.
He stated that:
“The crucial thing with analysing his performance at Saints is to not be blinded by 8th place… the gap between us and Watford in 17th was six points.
In front of camera, he had no charisma which made Saints fans shut off from him. This would worry me if I was a Leicester fan.”
On a positive note, he said the following:
“Expect to see more academy players given a chance…he progressed Stephens and Romeu and integrated them into the first team.
James Ward-Prowse, Cedric, Yoshida and more started to believe in themselves, having lacked confidence previously.
He was hired because of his track record with youth players;
being able to nurture talent, for example Hazard, Benzema and even Thierry Henry at Monaco.”
It gave me an impression that Southampton were a work in progress who hadn’t quite reached their full potential.
The board wanted success quicker than they were getting it, and Puel’s time was up.
From his 38 Premier League matches, Puel won 12, drew 10 and lost 16. They only managed to score 41 goals in the process, conceding 48.
Now it’s a new challenge for the Frenchman- the East Midlands awaits.
Can he follow on from Claudio Ranieri? That’s a tough ask, but never say never!
Good luck to Claude Puel and I really hope this appointment is a step in the right direction for all involved.