IT has been dubbed the ‘summer of madness’ at St Mary’s.
Few would have believed quite what was waiting just around the corner as Saints trooped off the pitch to rapturous applause on the final day of last season, having just finished eighth in the Premier League.
On May 11 2014, after the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at St Mary’s, it seemed as if the Saints garden was rosy.
One of the most exciting sides in the club’s history basked in the glory of having set the top flight alight, earning plaudits from across the football universe and World Cup call-ups, while in Mauricio Pochettino they had a bright young manager.
But it didn’t take long for things to start to unravel.
Before Saints knew it they were, to coin an oft used phrase this summer, finding themselves victims of their own success.
Pochettino was the first to depart, off to Tottenham, before the players started to go in a summer exodus unparallelled in the club’s history.
From those five sales, Saints have raked in close to £90m.
Nobody seems able to recall a team being dismantled so quickly after such comparative success, and new manager Ronald Koeman is facing a huge rebuilding job ahead of the new Premier League season.
Today, the Southern Daily Echo looks at what has happened ... and asks how and why it has come to pass, and what the future may hold.
See below for our in-depth look at the chaos and confusion.
- How the Saints went marching out
- Clueless? The boardgame-like madness and mystery of Saints' summer
- Koeman has chance to mould his own team
- Benali - Stay calm and give Saints a chance
- This cannot be an asset-stripping summer