FourFourTwo and Forza Football have surveyed 200,000 fans of Premier League clubs to gauge their confidence in their team's manager, players and chairman/owner. Here, Nick Harper picks through the findings to see how Southampton fans' mood has changed over the season...
You don’t need to read what follows here to know that the stats for Southampton’s manager, squad and even its owner will have jumped like the needle on a villain’s polygraph.
Shorn of their supposed stars during last summer’s fire sale, Southampton fans entered the new season in an understandably cautious frame of mind. Confidence in new coach Ronald Koeman sat at 79%, partly due to him being unproven in the Premier League but mainly because his squad appeared to have been cobbled together at the last minute – and confidence in them started the season at 55%. The villainous owner, who had sanctioned the fire sale, enjoyed a 58% confidence rating.
But fast-forward to right now, and eight victories, one draw and two defeats, including a 4-0 win over Newcastle and an 8-0 larruping of Sunderland, have propelled Saints to second place. And with that rise, those ratings have raced ever northwards – fan confidence in Koeman sits at 93%, which makes you wonder what he’d need to do to hit three figures. Fan confidence in the squad now sits at 91%. Even the owner has a confidence level of 84%.
Curious, unexpected and very very welcome indeed.