For all his flaws as a football manager, Mauricio Pellegrino isn’t a bad person.
With the way football is and the rise of social media, fans of an under-performing team are quick to jump down the throat of anyone at the club - especially the managerial figurehead.
Pellegrino’s experience was no different. Hell, I even created the uber scientific Pellegrino Approval Rating from matchday one fully knowing the Argentine was going to be a disaster, though the Approval Rating series was initially introduced in response to what I perceived to be harsh fan reaction to Claude Puel all of last season. In the end, I stopped the Pellegrino Approval Rating series altogether because we were that bad.
While the Pellegrino Approval Rating could be seen as an underhand attempt to dig at the Argentine’s incompetency as a football manager - despite it being set up to dig at the board and Saints fanbase - all criticism of Pellegrino was aimed at him as a professional and was never taken beyond that to a personal level. And, to be fair, I think most Southampton fans were exactly the same with Pellegrino in that regard.
Please be true that boring French cunt has been sacked , Claude Puel is the most negative manager I've ever seen , good riddance #saintsfc— Gary Wyatt (@garywyatt1976) June 6, 2017
PUEL OUT! BORING LITTLE FRENCH PRICK— Sam Scrase (@scrasemush) May 21, 2017
Puel Playing A Weakened Team In Europa League? French Prick... I Fucking Hate This Guy— Biscotti ㊕ (@DeLeTour) November 24, 2016
Something could be said about how Puel was talked about, though, with “French” preceding pretty much any sweary insult you can imagine on Twitter.
Pellegrino was totally out of his depth and a walking disaster at Southampton, but his open letter released to Saints fans was perfect - even make me feel a little bit (very) sorry for him. It’s probably the first time he’s shown any astute tactical awareness in a Southampton capacity.
Here is Pellegrino’s statement in full (via the Southampton official site):
Dear supporters and everyone involved with Southampton Football Club,
As you know, my period in Southampton has finished. From the beginning I tried to do my best every single day, I tried to give back to the club and tried to represent the club with pride.
Some moments we managed this, some moments we couldn’t, but we have been living a difficult season for many reasons. The manager is the face of a lot of decisions and actions, but I always tried to put the club first with my technical staff and the board behind me.
I am really happy with the hospitality of the people of Southampton and the respect you have shown me in every moment during this experience. The fans have been behind us even in difficult games and I am really grateful for your support in those situations.
I have to say thanks to Ralph, to the board, to Les and Ross, all my technical staff and all the Southampton employees. Also to my players, who respected me in every single moment.
I feel so sorry to leave the club in this situation, but when you don’t get results I understand the decision the club has to take.
I wish everyone all the best for the rest of the season, I have enjoyed an amazing experience and I know that Southampton has everything required to move forward.
We March On.