Let's talk, fellow Saints fans.
Currently, our club sit in sixth place in the Premier League and only one point behind Manchester United in fifth. Sure, we had awful showings in both cups, but this season we've got a small taste of the rest of Europe and are flying high at the moment.
To some supporters, this apparently isn't enough to satisfy them anymore, and this is where I begin.
Let's start with Ronald Koeman. One thing we've learned this season is that Koeman loves to surprise us and the other team with interesting formations and tactics. He plays players in different positions and loves to experiment with the team. Ronald Koeman deserves your trust, worried Saints fan. So, when he comes out with a lineup that you don't trust or like, remember, you're not the manager.
Honestly, you're really stretching it if you are complaining about a team sheet an hour before the game and calling it a loss pre-match. I won't call anyone out, but we've all seen it and it makes you look bad. Remember back in December when fans were calling for Ronald Koeman's head? It was ridiculous to almost everyone because of the respect and trust that Ronald Koeman has earned.
How has he earned that trust and respect, you ask? Because he wins games.
So please, spare us and keep your dumb opinions about Koeman's lineups and strategies to yourself. No, they won't always work, but give the man the trust he's earned.
While we are on the subject, this includes getting upset when certain players, Charlie Austin specifically, are omitted from the starting XI. First of all, it's been said on several occasions that Charlie isn't even fully fit yet, so why not use his magic at the tail end of the game if he's only good for 30 minutes at the moment? Second, do you take a second to check who we are up against and what the matchups are? Realize that Koeman and staff do not draw names out of a hat and put them in the lineup. Hours and hours of footage are watched before games, the staff knows what and who to play a lot more than you and I do.
So there's point one: Trust Ronald Koeman, trust his staff, and more importantly, trust the decisions they are making. They are paid to do this, we aren't.
But wait! There's more.
Let me start this by saying that I've been frustrated and probably have tweeted my grievances on players performances too, but it's become an epidemic and it has got to stop. You can be frustrated as fans, that of course is allowed. But there is a line that you shouldn't cross.
First, never ever ever ever tweet your hate and frustrations to a player. If they even read it, what's the point? To diminish them? To hurt their confidence? To not make them feel welcome? Stop it. Second, let's put to bed these "he can't be bothered today" lines some fans put out. This is crazy, but soccer/football players enjoy playing the game. Whether or not they want to be playing for a specific team is a different story, but very rarely will a player purposefully not play well. What purpose would that serve?
Every player that has taken the pitch for Southampton this season has played hard. These guys will not always have easy games, they won't always play well and they might even become human and make a few mistakes. Crazy, I know.
Let's take a few examples. Maya Yoshida is one of the hardest working, most dedicated players at this club and the majority of the fans hate on him. For what exactly? Sure, Maya isn't the best player and sure, he makes mistakes. But, you will never be able to question Maya's work ethic. If you are going to blame Maya for being Maya, then blame Ronald Koeman for putting him out there.
Or how about Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane? Two more hardworking players and one is our top scorer who has been out and unfit for awhile. As soon as we signed Charlie Austin, there was obviously excitement. But that excitement quickly led to bashing Pelle and calling for him to be sold. Sadio Mane can't be questioned either, he runs non-stop and will make a defense pay for their mistakes. He goes into a bit of bad form and suddenly fans are on his back? Give me a break.
Far too many of our fans have made a decision to scapegoat players when the going gets tough. Whether that is Yoshida, Pelle, Mane or even Wanyama. Unfortunately for your argument, the game of soccer/football is a team sport, and very rarely will one player lose the entire game by himself.
Since many fans want to bring up loyalty of our players, how about we look in the mirror first?
There have been players such as Dejan Lovren who decided that this wasn't a big enough club for him, and decided to look elsewhere. Look how that worked out for him. But that's not my point.
While you hold players accountable for their dedication and loyalty to the club, why not try to support the ones that are loyal? Keep yourself accountable too. Far too many times have our fans bashed some of the hardest working players at this club and then turn around and expect other players to work harder. Get behind the players that are here and enjoy them while you can. They are playing for your entertainment and for the club that you love.
Just remember this next time you want to bash a player at this club: Loyalty goes both ways. If you want loyalty from the players, let's start by showing loyalty to them.
Finally, Southampton fans: remember where you once were. I wouldn't know, but this has got be heaven for older fans who can remember the administration days and the years where you weren't even sure if your club would exist anymore. Put each of the last three seasons into perspective of the history at this club and remember no matter what the form or results, it could be a whole hell of a lot worse for Southampton.
Don't be so dramatic, Saints fans. You've got a brilliant manager, a brilliant front office and even better, a whole roster of players that are willing to work their butts off to get to European competitions and win trophies. Keep everything in perspective and stop your whining, Southampton isn't going anywhere and neither are you, support what you've got and be proud of it.
Be proud to be a Saint, and be proud of every single player and coach that wears the badge.