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Why Southampton’s Decision to Sack Nigel Adkins Is Ridiculous

Today Southampton has a new manager.  The owners of the club, for whatever reason, recently decided that Nigel Adkins is not the man to lead the Saints any further in their Premier League campaign despite the club sitting sixth from bottom.  The club announced the decision with nothing more than “Southampton Football Club has this morning appointed Mauricio Pochettino as First Team Manager, having relieved Nigel Adkins of his managerial duties.”

Where does the managerial merry-go-round end?  When must owners re-take the ‘fit and proper’ test?  Is there anything to be done about the sheer insanity of some recent managerial sackings?

The average reader might not be too familiar with the plight of Southampton Football Club.  The Saints were a founding member of the Premier League after decades in the top flight.  After fighting the good fight for years, including some solid upper half finishes, the club was finally relegated from the top level in 2005.  After several seasons involving further relegation, administration and managerial changes the team found themselves in League One, the third level of English football.

In 2009, current Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was appointed to lead the club, and the rebuilding began under the new owner, Markus Liebherr.   Pardew signed several key players still with the club like Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon, and Jose Fonte.  All of Pardew’s signings totaled only £3 million, but this was far more than any other League One club.  The owner’s support and intentions were clear.

In 2010 even more pain was inflicted on the club when Liebherr passed away and Pardew was sacked for various reasons.  Luckily, Liebherr left the club with a solid financial footing.

In September 2010, Nigel Adkins was announced as the new manager of Southampton and the stunning climb through the tables of English football began.

In Adkins’ first season in charge, he guided the club to 92 points, second place in League One and earned an automatic promotion to the Championship.  The most optimistic supporters wouldn’t know Premier League football was just over a year away.  One season in the 2nd tier is all the Saints needed as they stormed through the Championship maintaining a high spot in the table all season.  Two seasons, two automatic promotions.

After an undeniably impressive 28 months in charge we arrive at present day and the sacking of Adkins after 22 games in the Premier League.  Madness.

After £20m in record signings, Southampton’s season still started off with a bumpy ride.  Adkins was clearly finding his footing in the world’s most competitive league, and a sacking would have seemed more appropriate in Oct when they battled QPR for the bottom spot.

The Saints now sit in 15th, 3 pts clear of relegation, and look to have established themselves for a strong push in the final 16 games. Forty points and survival looked likely with some very favorable home fixtures upcoming.  Adkins has guided the team on a run of 5 games unbeaten, including draws against Arsenal and Chelsea.  The latter seemingly proving the players where still inspired to fight for their manager to come back from 2-0 at the half.  In the last 12 games the club has only lost twice, with both being hard fought 1-0 games.

The sacking of Adkins in mind-boggling.  Supporters have every right to question this decision and should feel entitled to an explanation.  Other managers will and should speak out in support.  The press will surely hold the owners accountable for this decision should the worst happen.  It would be a shame to see Southampton relegated and the fans punished for this move, but equally so it would be unfortunate to see the owners excel and profit from this short sighted and rash decision.

Mad sackings apart, if you’re interested in doing some football betting on any upcoming games or maybe you want to stick a bet on how long Pochettino will last at Southampton? Check out today for the latest odds.

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  1. gbewing

    January 18, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I’m waiting to read or hear the first argument for the sacking, I can’t find anyone to even try and rationalize it. Something to unite all football fans- terrible decision especially on recent form. This team rose quickly through Championship League as well right?

  2. Andre

    January 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    This move is absurd. He won them back to back promotions and has them in the clear. Beyond that even a lot of the games they lost they went forward and were fun to watch. Under Adkins Southampton was scoring goals even if they were shaky at the back and had a chance to win every game they were in, something admirable for a club that 20 months ago was in League One.

    I have always like Pochettino and think he will eventually be at a big club (probably on the continent) but Adkins treated unfairly.

  3. Philswin08

    January 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Two things I’ll never understand about European football: new kits every season and how disposable managers are.
    My NFL team just sacked its head coach after 14 seasons and NO Super Bowls. I can’t imagine any football manager in the EPL given half that much time and archive so little.

    • Todd Shenk

      January 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      To be somewhat fair, the Eagles would have been much wiser to have sacked Reid a LONG time ago.

    • Kris Kjellquist

      January 19, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Was it 7 or 8 head coaches fired after the final weekend this year? That’s 25% of coaches in one day.

  4. Clampdown

    January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Nigel just needs that helping hand.

    • Dan Y.

      January 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Bravo! +1

  5. Scrumper

    January 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Someone has illusions of grandeur at So’ton. Adkins has given them back to back promotions but for long term success the club has decided it needs a foriegn bloke with an impressive sounding name. It doesn’t matter he’s never done anything yet. This may be the best news QPR and the others down there have had for a while.

  6. Guy

    January 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    The fans will have to stay in line because dissent of any sort is, apparently, no longer tolerated:

    Up next: fines for booing…and sarcastic chants.

  7. Prinz

    January 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Looking forward to the start of AFCON 2013, Ivory Coast always seem to be outright favourite but somehow inexplicably they always CHOKE OUT at the final hurdle

  8. Prinz

    January 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Poor decision by the owners, i mean if they wanted to sack him they should have done a long time ago not now that the team is getting some consistency, why deny the coach the pleasure of overseeing the team to the end of the season, why deny the gaffer his feel good moment

  9. IanCransonsKnees

    January 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Unreal decision. They’re in about the same position we were in our first season at this stage. 5 years later we’re still here with the same man.

    This will serve to unsettle the club and team and I can’t see why it’s considered a positive move by the board.

    Unfairly to the fans and players others will want to see them relegated now.

    I’m no fan of Nigel Adkins, I found him smugness personified at Scunthorpe never mind Southampton, but he was doing a good job and making a fist of it for Southampton.

    I imagine Saints fans will react similarly to Chelsea fans. I can’t predict how the rest of the season will go.

    • dust

      January 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      I think Southampton fans will show Adkins love this next game but then support their new manager, i think….think they have a lot more savvy than Chelski or the muppet Spurs supporters that were all over AVB crack at the beginning.

      I think there is NO doubt the fans impact the results.

  10. Todd Shenk

    January 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Baffling. Southampton have actually been showing signs of change recently and getting decent results. I had previously thought about the possibility of him getting sacked but dismissed it because there’s nobody out there that can realistically do a better job than him. Now they have a manager who seems to be unproven.

  11. Dust

    January 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Wake up, look at twitter and …huh…what…seriously..why would they do that…mental, were my first thoughts this morning.

    What an absolute joke of a sacking, did the wolves experiment last year show nothing?

    If there is ever an example of loyalty not existing in football here it is.. What has happened internally to force this, Southampton are ABOVE the drop zone & Newcastle & Wigan…

    I think this is more bizarre than the wolves situ, in that mick was always down there battling relegation, this is Adkins first season and they are climbing out. Those games at the beginning of these season against the Manchester clubs were great games, they were unlucky to not have won both of them.

    A truly shocking sacking… I hope Adkins is given a new start somewhere…. He has shown he is a good manager.

  12. David

    January 18, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Until fans show their discontent towards decisions made by owners via their pocketboks nothing will change. As long as fans continue to buy tickets and merchandise owners won’t listen.

  13. jtm371

    January 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

    asinine is the only way to understand this decision.3 points clear and playing better.just remember some people have more money then sense.good luck Saints but i think this decision will get you regulated sorry to see it if it happens.

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