​Southampton thought that Halloween had come early last week, as the club succumbed to a 9-0 hammering at the hands of Leicester City in the worst Friday night massacre since Jason Voorhees hit Camp Crystal Lake.


While Friday the Thirteenth has gone on to spawn many sequels, it is fair to say that Saints will do all in their power to ensure that events of last Friday are a stand alone horror.


But the reality is that something far scarier could yet be to come for Southampton as they look to the future and see a fate worse than any horror writer could conjure up. They're en route to becoming the new Sunderland (insert your own Black Cat joke here).

Angus Gunn

Given the two teams' similar kits this might seem a lazy comparison, but I can promise there's more to it than that.


For years ​Southampton were looked upon as the model of how to run a smaller Premier League club. Through incredible scouting of both players and managers they were able to regularly punch above their weight, bringing European football to south coast while still making a profit in the transfer market.


The likes of Sadio Mané, Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk were all brought in for relatively meagre fees before being sold on for big bucks, while academy graduates like Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers were all auctioned off to ensure that the recruitment process would be well-funded enough to start again.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain,Roberto Firmino,Sadio Mane,Virgil Van Dijk

But all that has changed. Les Reed, the man who created the successful structure, has moved on to a role at the FA, while the constant chopping and changing of managers - Southampton have had four in the past two and a half years - has left Southampton lacking in vision under new majority owner Gao Jisheng.


In recent times they've spent more than £50m on Guido Carrillo, Wesley Hoedt, and Mohamed Elyounoussi, all of whom are currently out on loan, while big money signings who have stuck around like Jannik Vestergaard and Stuart Armstrong haven't pulled up any trees.


This summer the Saints brought in Danny Ings (who was already there on loan), Che Adams, Mousa Djenepo and Kevin Danso - none of whom have justified their acquisition so far. Meanwhile, the club has also failed to make any serious money from player sales.


Instead of pushing on and solidifying their Europa League status, Southampton have dropped off dramatically as a result. In the past two seasons they have finished 17th and 16th respectively, and boss Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted at the start of the season that coming 10th this time around would be a ​"big, big success".

Guido Carrillo

The similarities with Sunderland's drawn-out exit from the Premier League are uncanny. After a series of respectable mid-table finishes the Black Cats began fighting relegation battle after relegation battle, finishing in the bottom five for three out of their last four seasons before their eventual demise.


They too would constantly chop and change coaches when things started to look bleak, with Paolo Di Canio, Martin O'Neill, Gus Poyet and Sam Allardyce all coming in to ride the new-manager wave before eventually running out of steam, in a manner similar to the way Mark Hughes and Ralph Hasenhuttl have done at St Mary's.


Sunderland's woeful recruitment of players like Jack Rodwell, Papy Djilobodji and Jeremain Lens meant that they were ill-equipped to deal with the Championship when they finally dropped into it, leading them to suffer another relegation to League One.


Of course the Sunderland tale is the worst of worse case scenarios, and teams have bounced back well from League One in the past - take ​Wolves for example.


But with another relegation dogfight on the horizon, the truth is that if Southampton don't change their approach soon, then this Final Destination-style premonition of their impending Sunderland-like doom will become a reality, sooner, rather than later.