WITH nearly a third of the season gone, Saints have the opportunity to give everyone a happy start to the Christmas season with two games in four days against the other clubs in the Premier League’s bottom three; Watford and Norwich.

Whilst we have not won at home yet, the recent performances against Manchester City and Arsenal have at least shown that the players have the endeavour to get out of this situation and move up the table.

Let’s be fair, there isn’t a huge gap between the bottom three and the top ten – tenth-placed Tottenham are only seven points above Norwich after all - but we need to be picking up points as soon as possible to ensure the gap between ourselves and 17th place does not widen.

I’m sure the supporters will be completely behind Ralph Hasenhuttl and the players need to earn that support by giving 100 per cent on the pitch, showing passion and getting their colleagues to work as hard as they are.

In other words we need leaders all over the pitch to give everyone a happy Christmas, not least the 30,000-plus in the ground.

IT is 27 years since the League Managers' Association was formed.

I happened to be involved in the decision to break away from what was an association for football managers, or trainers as they were called, as well as club secretaries and commercial managers.

Gradually groups broke away and in 1992 we made the major decision to form what is now known as the LMA.

I was managing the England B and under-21 teams, working alongside first-team manager Graham Taylor and we were on a committee nominated by the managers to discuss the association’s formation.

Fairly early on we began a hall of fame which has members who have usually been doing the job for many, many years.

There was also a 1,000-game section which I’m proud to be a member of.

At the end of each season the LMA hosts one of the three big evenings held in London (the others are put on by the Football Writers’ Association, the Professional Footballers’ Association), when everyone gets together for a three-course dinner and awards are presented.

Two additions were made to the Hall of Fame in Manchester this week with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s fantastic achievements at Liverpool and Man City earning their well-deserved induction.

IT was my pleasure to be on the judging panel for Churchill Retirement Living’s annual awards this week.

Most readers will be aware of the Hampshire company, which about eight years ago selected a panel of people from 15 different award categories including business, comedy, literature, politics, stage and screen, TV and radio and of course sport, for which I was asked to be a judge.

Each year the 15 judges nominate three candidates, who all have to be over 65.

I was naughty this time, by nominating four.

We got together this week, each with a booklet featuring the CV of all the nominees, with Miss Esther Rantzen, the chairperson of the judging panel, at a plush London hotel listening to what everyone had to say about their nominations.

Mine included two big names from the football world; my former player Kevin Keegan, who I couldn’t believe is now 68, and Sir Alex Ferguson.

My other two nominations were Martin Tyler, who has been a TV commentator since the 1970s and is still going strong at 74, and motor racing legend Nigel Mansell CBE.

I cannot yet say who won as the company is in the process of contacting all the winners.

All being well, we’ll get together at the turn of the year for the presentation.

It’s always an enjoyable day when you meet up with many wonderful people of all those different backgrounds.

I’ll leave it to you to decide who you would pick and when the time is right I’ll let you know.