They say it is always best to judge a man by his actions rather than his words.
All the time he was manager here, Nigel Adkins’ words were seldom interesting. He avoided simple questions, repeated clichés and always spoke about “being on the bus” or “in the building.”
Some people found that endearing, some people found it annoying.
His actions however, were most impressive. Back-to-back promotions, attacking football and the best win ratio of any Saints manager in many a decade.
The whispers have been around for a while. Many fans refused to entertain the idea that chairman Nicola Cortese would even consider getting rid of the former Scunthorpe boss.
We now know for definite that this has most certainly been in the offing for quite sometime.
The new manager himself said he has been researching the team “for weeks” – whilst that may be a coincidence, it’s hard to imagine it’s not linked to the appointment yesterday.
The reaction to Adkins’ departure has been what you would expect. Of the 10,000 votes cast on this site by yesterday evening, 94 per cent were against Adkins’ sacking.
Now, admittedly there was a similar reaction to Pardew’s exit but to be fair to Adkins, Pardew’s team had just beaten Bristol Rovers – Wednesday night’s draw with the reigning Champions of Europe was probably a bit more impressive.
Adkins was here long enough to build a rapport with the supporters and it would also be hard to imagine the team without picturing him. In the time he was here, he had become the personification of Southampton Football Club.
His was a team devoid of standout egos in the public eye, so as leader he become the person many would first think of when Saints were mentioned.
Now, it’s far too early to have an opinion on Mauricio Pochettino – after all, what do any of us know of him other than what’s on Wikipedia?
The one thing that is setting alarm bells ringing however is that he does not speak English. No doubt he has already started learning and probably knows far more than many think, but you just have to see the accusations thrown at Trappattoni and Capello for what managers can expect when things turn sour for a non-Anglophone manager.
Hopefully it will not come to that and the Argentine will be a raging success.
What is concerning though is Cortese’s decision to stay away from Pochettino’s unveiling. It would be something of a baptism of fire for the manager at the best of times, but the chairman should have been there to back the new man and explain why Adkins was jettisoned.
It’s well and good putting statements which professional public relations experts have taken their time to polish and make as asinine as possible, but nothing is quite the same as standing up and facing the difficult questions that need to be answered.
Judge a man by his actions, not by his words.