As the thread asks, really.
Cortese was a massively divisive figure. People were upset with his perceived dictatorial leanings. He caused chaos in the media and the fanbase when he ruthlessly, and quite calculatedly, pushed Nigel Adkins out of the way to make way for Mauricio Pochettino. He was lampooned toward the end of his time for claiming to be the driving force behind Saints revival and operation.
"It's not his fucking money", you'd hear many say.
Well guess what, it's not Les Reed's fucking money either, or Ralph Krueger's cash pile. I don't think they've done a very good job of taking up the mantle.
We got lucky with Koeman, lucky because he was in the right state of mind, and had something to prove. Lucky because we've seen the other post-Cortese appointments too. I'm convinced that had he stayed around, this thread might not exist.
However, we've done less well on the next two setups. I say setup because I'm not convinced its the managers that are necessarily to blame. Since Cortese has done the offs, we've replaced him in name with Krueger, who's never going to be an effective football man, and Les Reed, previously famous for completely cocking his time at Charlton up.
For all the myriad complaints from local tradesman about ridiculous demands, Cortese did have a pull on the players and manager, and under his stewardship, the momentum of the club seemed nigh on unstoppable. Success was something that persisted across managers.
Since then, the momentum of the club has gone in reverse. Yes, we made Europe, but fucked it up at both times of asking. Yes, we did a Cup Final, and what a bittersweet pleasure that was. However, we're seeing failure persist across seasons too. Failure to get a proven consistent goal scorer. Failure to keep hold of players. Failure to appoint the right manager, or provide the tools for them to succeed.
I don't want to retrospectively lionise the bloke too much, but I think Cortese would have shielded us from many of the blows we've received over the seasons.
Have we made any real progress since he left?