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Ex-Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger fired from Buffalo Sabres coaching role

Krueger got the chop after losing 12 games in a row as coach of the Sabres

Ralph Krueger, Southampton, Buffalo Sabres, chairman, coach, fired, NHL, hockey Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Former Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger was sacked as coach of NHL team Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

Krueger was relieved of his duties by new general manager Kevyn Adams. The Sabres were enduring a miserable run of 12 consecutive losses.

The final straw came as the Sabres lost 3-2 away at the New Jersey Devils - handing their opponents their first home win for 11 games.

That compounded the fact that the team was on its third-worst run in Sabres history and looks highly unlikely to reach the playoffs for an NHL record-matching 10th season in a row.

For what it’s worth, Sabres fans seemed happy to see the news on social media.

Krueger made his name as an international ice hockey coach - namely his experiences as long-time coach of the Switzerland national team and consultant for Team Canada in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

He joined Southampton as a director in 2014 before being named chairman of the football club.

Despite overseeing some early successes at Saints, such as the appointment of manager Ronald Koeman and signings of players such as Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk, Krueger’s legacy was tainted by a string of poor decisions that saw Southampton lose competitiveness on the pitch.

As @shirleymush brilliantly put things in a St Mary’s Musings feature, “During Krueger’s spell at the helm, Saints went from 8th to 17th. It seems highly unlikely that this had nothing to do with him.”

Here’s more. (By the way, you can read the whole feature here)

It’s hard to judge Krueger’s time at Southampton fairly, because no one really seems to know what he did. It’s also hard to establish what his philosophy was, or what his legacy might be, because what he said and what the club subsequently did were often different things.

Krueger was infamous for his incoherent interviews, and was at his least intelligible when asked to explain what his role entailed. He would often talk in vague terms about providing ‘accountability’- a managerial buzzword that is becoming increasingly prevalent in every sphere of life. Yet he outlasted three managers appointed on his watch as Saints drifted to the brink of relegation.

Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes were the ones ultimately held accountable for Saints’ slide down the Premier League, along with former director of football Les Reed. Apparently when things went wrong, Krueger was less keen on being held accountable.