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  • "Ted Bates, he's an icon, and Lawrie McMenemy - my son Lawrence takes his name. Nuff said. Chris Nichol, hugely underrated in retrospect. And Alan Ball, God rest his soul. I met him once and shook his hand. Icons all. Then there's Alan Pardew, like a bag of hammers as it turned out, Nigel Adkins, he'll be remembered, but who was caretaker after Branfoot got sacked? Was it Iain Dowie? Or am I getting confused. We played Coventry and he scored. A penalty was it? Why does the internet not have everything by now.... not Branfoot though. He can be a Reading icon, if he likes, and not Harry Redknapp either. Poch... hey?... a Saints icon! All of them are icons. There was a steward in the nineties who used to walk up and down behind the goal in the Milton Road 3nd. He had a bushy moustache. We used to call him Marshal Rolf. I'm not sure why. He was a legend. And the man in the West Stand who used to shout put 'Mick Mills!' for no apparent reason, and the wagtails that used to come down to the pitch when the play was at the other end, and the fat fellow who used to man the burger bar... they are all icons and they will never be forgotten."
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Former Southampton manager Mark Wotte believes Ronald Koeman would be a "perfect" fit at the club, having met with St Mary's officials this week

Former Southampton manager Mark Wotte believes Ronald Koeman would be a "perfect" fit at the club, having met with St Mary's officials this week

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman

First published in Football Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Reporter

Former Saints boss Mark Wotte believes fellow Dutchman Ronald Koeman would be a “perfect” fit as the club’s new manager.

The 51-year-old outgoing Feyenoord boss is a serious contender to replace Mauricio Pochettino at St Mary’s, after the Argentine quit to join Tottenham last week.

Koeman is believed to have met with officials from Saints on Monday to discuss the position, although he is not the only candiidate the club are expected to speak with.

Wotte, who managed Saints during the 2008/09 campaign, believes Koeman, who remains the odds-on favourite with the bookies, would be an excellent choice.

“In my opinion, Ronald Koeman is perfect for Southampton for several reasons,” he said.

“He has a great CV as a player, winning the 1988 European Championship with Holland and the Champions League with Barcelona.

“But he has also managed PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord, as well as Valencia and Benfica abroad, so he is a very experienced coach.”

Wotte, who is currently the Scottish Football Association’s performance director, believes Koeman would bring a similar footballing philosophy to that of Pochettino, while he would also be willing to promote players from the academy system.

“As a Dutch manager, he is always used to playing ‘the Dutch way’, with high pressure, a passing style and a positive approach, playing to win and not always playing not to lose,” he said.

“His last job at Feyenoord was initially a big challenge, as a lack of funds forced him to work with ‘the kids’, but most of them now are selected in the 23-man squad for Holland and also qualifying for the Champions League first phase – a great achievement for the Feyenoord academy, but also for the talent management skills of Ronald Koeman.

“Knowing Southampton and St Mary’s personally, he would be an excellent choice.”

One of Koeman’s biggest influences is Johan Cruyff, having played in his famous Barcelona team from 1989 to 1995, winning the European Cup in 1992.

The centre-half, who was capped 78 times by his country, moved into management after hanging up his boots, working as an assistant with the national team and then Barcelona.

His first manager’s job came at Vittesse Arnhem, leading them to a sixth-place finish in the 2000/01 Eredivisie, before moving to Ajax.

He won the domestic double in his first season there, finished as runners-up in the next campaign, and then regained the league title in 2003/04.

He left in 2005, as PSV regained status as top dogs, then joined Portuguese side Benfica.

Koeman spent a fairly unsuccessful year there, before taking up the reins at PSV.

Again, he lasted just one full season, before joining Valencia, although he did deliver an Eredivisie title before his departure.

In Spain, he won the Copa del Rey, but Valencia’s league form proved poor, with the club parting company with Koeman in April 2008.

A brief, unsuccessful stint with AZ Alkmaar then followed.

In 2011, though, Koeman arrived at Feyenoord, reviving the ailing club.

Having finished tenth in the Eredivisie the season before he arrived, Koeman led Feyenoord to second place in his first campaign – their best result in 11 years.

They then came third in 2012/13, before finishing as runners-up to Ajax last term.

Koeman announced in February that he would leave the club this summer, when his contract expired.

Former Swansea boss Michael Laudrup, another name who might fit the bill, does not look to be in the frame.

In an interview in his homeland, the Dane has said he will take time out of the game until an opportunity with a really big club comes along.

Previous bookies’ favourite Murat Yakin is not thought to have been approached.

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