The first half of the 2017/18 season has been our least inspiring since our return to the Premier League. We’re lacking an identity, failing to entertain and there’s divide between the fans and board regarding Mauricio Pellegrino’s position.
These views have been widely shared and voiced across social media, with plenty of fans providing reasoned and calculated explanations for their criticism.
But in recent fixtures there’s been a number of instances from a minority of Southampton fans, that I find mindless and counter-productive to the issue that they claim they’re fighting.
After Nathan Redmond played a howler of a pass-back at Wembley last weekend – allowing Spurs to counter and score their fourth goal of the afternoon – a chorus of boos and abuse began to pick up whenever the winger touched the ball.
In my view, no player in the side is immune from criticism. In the same way that you praise a fringe player for stepping up and earning their place in the side, you must also be able to recognise when first team stars aren’t pulling their weight – It’s only fair that there’s a set of rules that works both ways.
But these abusive actions are despicable, and quite frankly It’s something that needs to be targeted, discussed and stomped out as quick as possible.
There are ways of expressing dissatisfaction without throwing fuel onto the fire of the toxic St Mary’s atmosphere, that currently prevails.
I can’t believe I’m having to state this, but the bottom line is that Nathan Redmond is a Southampton Football Club player, and since arriving in the summer of 2016, he’s done nothing but embrace our club and its values at all levels.
He’s displayed professionalism throughout and has firmly cemented his place as a popular player in the dressing room – comments from teammates both past and present only further reinforce that.
History has shown that bad eggs get picked out at Staplewood, and not even as much as a whisper has suggested that he falls under that category.
Now at this point I must state that in no way am I defending Redmond’s performances this season. Three assists and zero goals under Mauricio Pellegrino is unacceptable, especially when you realise that he’s meant to be our second biggest goal threat beyond our centre forward.
But do you really think that Redmond wants to be in this situation? Do you think he’s enjoying his half-season goal drought? And relishing the fact that he’s having his worst season of his career to date? Of course not, so in what world would hurling abuse possibly help to change our fortunes.
He’s going to be hating this just as much as you and I – perhaps even more, considering that it’s his career on the line.
So just think about this…
Had Redmond had fired home 15 goals this season and asked for a transfer, fans would be screaming for him to display some “much-deserved” loyalty.
But when we consider the current situation and Redmond’s poor form, the loyalty that these same fans would have demanded from him, is nowhere to be seen from them.
There’s no denying that Redmond’s performances have been well below par, and I certainly expect improvement. But for as long as Redmond represents our club with honour and the determination to be the best that he can be, not a single word of abuse that’s bellowed his way is justified.