New direction for Saints as Liebherr resigns

Southampton are no strangers to comings and goings at this time of year. Their first (and hopefully the last in the view of Saints fans) departure from the club in the off-season is that of now ex-owner Katharina Liebherr.

Liebherr has overseen much of the Saints' remarkable rise up the English football ladder but her resignation marks the beginning of a new approach to the running of the club.

End of an era

Liebherr's decision to move on was undoubtedly a poignant one around St Mary's since it ends her family's association with the club. Father Markus effectively saved the club from liquidation in 2009 and through his investment and backing were able to recover from the brink.

Following the Swiss businessman's death in 2010, his daughter took over the duties. Seven years later, through Katharina's calm, yet passionate backing, Southampton have gone from financial turmoil and propping up League 1 to one of the most respected teams in the Premier League, both on and off the pitch.

The substantial, almost uninterrupted amount of success that the Saints have achieved under the Liebherr family has ensured that they will be sorely missed on the South Coast. In a day and age where owners are considered as disengaged, self-interested and dangerous, Katharina Liebherr has regularly sought to take a football-first approach, only emphasising how she will be missed by Southampton.

What next?

With Liebherr moving on, her replacement at the top of the Southampton hierarchy will not be a single person. Instead, the trio of Chairman Ralph Krueger, Vice Chairman of Football Les Reed and Vice Chairman of Business Martin Semmens will head a three-man board that essentially runs the club.

This new look style was confirmed by Krueger, who stated that they are "not looking for a CEO" and that the "youthful and dynamic" management will take the club forward.

Southampton have shown their ability to change and adapt in the past, and they seem to be doing it again with these alterations.

New owners

Despite the new system, the Saints are of course still in the hunt for new owners. Chinese company Lander Sports looked certain to purchase the club a few months ago, though progress has slowed down and that deal now looks questionable.

Nevertheless, Krueger has assured that the "management team will stay intact" regardless of a potential takeover. Maintaining some stability will be key for Southampton in this transitional stage, and it looks as if Krueger and his team are perfectly poised to ease the impacts of any further alterations.