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Adkins airbrushed out of Saints programme
IF you were hoping to read a simple word of thanks to Nigel Adkins in last night’s official matchday programme, you would have been disappointed.
Back-to-back promotions and a solid start to life in the Premier League were not even granted a cursory acknowledgement by the Saints chairman.
But should we be surprised? Not really. The front cover of the programme that kicked off last season did not feature a player, as you might expect, but a posed picture of Nicola Cortese, arms folded, staring intractably ahead.
Alongside a black-and-white picture of Mauricio Pochettino looking more like a model than a Premier League football manager, the new Saints boss wrote what you would expect in his first set of programme notes.
There was an Adkins-like reference to the ‘Barclays Premier League’ and he even introduced us to a little Spanish; disfrutar del juego (enjoy the game).
But there was no appreciation of Adkins’ achievements over the last two-and-a-half years.
Not even in the Captain's Notes written by Kelvin Davis was there a mention of Pochettino’s predecessor.
And we did not get a squeak from the chairman.
The only visible sign of Adkins was a small picture congratulating his players at the end of last week’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
Otherwise he was airbrushed out completely.
But this is the way of the Saints these days. No doubt Cortese was hoping opposition to Adkins' sacking would thaw like Friday’s snow and to an extent that was the case.
The Spanish-style white handkerchief protest that was threatened in opposition to his ruthlessness never materialised.
If any hankies had been waved they would have resembled flotsam and jetsam on the growing tide of support for Adkins’ successor during the first half, when Saints were excellent.
There were faint cries of ‘One Nigel Adkins’ before the game and midway through the first half, but not until the start of the second was there a booming rendition from the Northam Stand, where Pochettino’s name was sung with gusto.
The Argentinian is working his charm. But this was not about the fickleness of Saints fans so much as their loyalty to the 11 players wearing the club crest.
Three days and three nights after Friday’s betrayal of Adkins, morale amongst the home support was resurrected in the form of an encouraging if not memorable first performance under Pochettino.
The King Is Dead! Long Live The King!
This is the football gospel according to Cortese, who stubbornly believes his shabby treatment of Adkins will soon be viewed as collateral damage, a means to the end goal of Champions League football.