The End Of Southampton FC As We Know It?

On Tuesday 14th January, news surfaced that Southampton FC executive chairman Nicola Cortese was to leave his post at the end of the season. By Wednesday afternoon, he was gone. […]

Mauricio Pochettino Nicola Cortese Southampton FC

On Tuesday 14th January, news surfaced that Southampton FC executive chairman Nicola Cortese was to leave his post at the end of the season. By Wednesday afternoon, he was gone.

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The shock resignation of one of the driving forces behind Southampton’s meteoric rise from the basement of League 1 to the lofty heights of the Premier League raised a plethora of questions, not least that of why he chose now to quit. Since taking up the position in August 2009, Cortese’s blunt yet highly successful style of leadership has led many to label him as the go-to model for how to run a football club.

Despite this, it appears that all was not rosy in the garden of St. Mary’s. Sources at The Daily Mail claim the reason for Cortese’s sudden departure is rooted within owner Katharina Liebherr’s demand for a bigger say in the running of the football club.

Three more slightly pressing questions still remained however. Number one, is influential manager Mauricio Pochettino planning to leave now that Cortese has gone? Number two, will there be a mass exodus of star players following his departure? And number three, is Liebherr planning to sell the club she inherited from her father in 2010? After scheduling a press conference for 3pm, Southampton FC promised to answer many of these questions.

At 3:18pm there was still no sign of Pochettino. Had the manager sensationally refused to attend the press conference and quit on the spot just minutes before he was due to face the world’s media? Not likely. He was instead conducting his own interview with the club’s TV channel, much to the chagrin of the assembled media. However, what was said will be of reasonable comfort for Saints supporters. Here’s the breakdown of it: Is Pochettino leaving? Speaking to Saints Player he responded:

I am staying as manager. I have a professional responsibility to everyone at the Club and the fans.”

So no, he’s not leaving, at least not for the moment anyway. He stopped short of committing his long term future to the club, stating to BBC Sport  that “at the end of the season, we will assess the situation and then we will decide whether I am apt to stay at the football club”. Are any star players leaving? No, any player that Pochettino wants, will be staying. Is Liebherr staying? Unclear, as that question wasn’t addressed; but any sale of the club would be unlikely to take place until the end of the season, so no immediate panic.

So, is this the end of Southampton FC as we know it? Unlikely. Apart from the possible departure of Rickie Lambert, the football side of the club looks like staying the way it is until the end of the season at least. Beyond that, however, is a different matter.