Ronald Koeman and the Saints board have received overwhelming support from the club’s fanbase for the work they conducted during the transfer window.
A Daily Echo poll, in which nearly 2,500 people voted, revealed that 95 per cent of supporters were happy with the business that took place over the summer.
At any time, that would represent an impressive figure, but it is particularly striking after a period that featured the high-profile departures of Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers for a combined total of about £90m. Some of those departures did not go down well with sections of the fanbase, with the club’s board coming in for heavy criticism.
They have also loaned Ryan Bertrand and Toby Alderweireld for the season, with options to buy both players next summer.
Add in the replacement of manager Mauricio Pochettino, who quit for Spurs, with someone of the stature of Ronald Koeman, and throw in a decent start to the season, and it appears fans are largely both optimistic and excited ahead of the rest of the campaign.
Nick Illingsworth, who runs supporters’ website theuglyinside.net, said: “I’m quite happy with what they have done.
“Ronald Koeman and the board have slowly, but surely, got on with doing a good job while a lot of people around them have shouted, screamed and panicked.
“While you can never be sure – because it’s all about results – we seem to have a squad that, on paper at least, is better than last season’s.
“Most people I speak to are fairly happy with it, and think we have got a better manager, a better squad, and are confident the manager will use that squad better.”
Illingsworth also believes that the five high-profile losses were not as devastating as some had perhaps thought, saying Rickie Lambert would need to have been replaced at some point soon, while Calum Chambers – although perhaps the player with the greatest potential – was not a regular in the line-up last season.
He also pointed to the role of Koeman in ensuring the club were able to assemble a strong squad.
“Toby Alderweireld said he joined because of Ronald Koeman and what he had said to him, and I think that shows the big part the manager is playing in rebuilding it,” he said.
“Most Saints fans I have spoken to are very optimistic now, and even the ones who were shouting and screaming a month ago seem to have calmed down and are looking forward to a positive season.”