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Adkins' Saints exit no surprise to some
The news might have come as a bone-jarring shock to legions of Saints fans, but for others Nigel Adkins’ sacking would have been greeted with little surprise.
Around the corridors of St Mary’s Stadium, there had long been a sense that Adkins, statistically one of the most successful managers in the club’s history, was living on borrowed time.
It sounds a ridiculous notion, given all that he has achieved, but that has been the reality of the situation under the ruthless rule of chairman Nicola Cortese.
Even overseeing back-to-back promotions and appearing on course to secure Premier League survival at the first attempt was simply not enough to satisfy the demands of the Italian chief, who for some time had been rumoured to be hankering for change.
“This decision has been made with the long-term ambitions of Southampton Football Club in mind,” said Cortese in a short statement.
If the astonishing and rapid progress made under Adkins was not enough of an indication to suggest he would fulfil those ambitions then what exactly will be?
It is certainly some task for the new man, Mauricio Pochettino. Good luck to him. He will need it.
How can a manager work at St Mary’s now with any degree of security?
Perhaps, unlike Adkins and his predecessor Alan Pardew, the Argentine will enjoy a more stable relationship with Cortese.
Many fans won’t have been aware that there was plenty of strain between the chairman and the man who is now his most recent former manager.
While the diplomatic Saints boss would publicly talk of their “great working relationship” privately it was understood that Cortese had become increasingly impatient with him.
He is believed to have been unhappy at Adkins’ failure to deliver the Championship title last season, as they finished runners-up to Reading in their first season back in the second tier.
After the 3-1 home defeat to the Royals late in the season, the pair were said to have barely communicated until after promotion had been achieved.
Even then, there was a very uncomfortable handshake between them captured on camera as the players and staff celebrated in front of the St Mary’s directors’ box following the decisive win against Coventry on the final day of the campaign.
After surviving the summer, Adkins’ position was put in serious jeopardy following a poor start to this season.
Cortese looked set to fire him following the 2-0 defeat to West Brom in early November that left the club bottom of the table.
Read the full story in today's Daily Echo