First published in The Pink on Saturday, April 16, 2011

A COUPLE of months ago I made the long journey up the M6 to see the delights of Rochdale.

It now turns out, that the game being called off was somewhat fortunate, as I’m not sure what sort of mood I’d have been in had Saints performed like they did at Spotland this week.

Adkins’ diamond formation has raised a few eyebrows in the last few weeks, mainly as Saints look clueless when we play it. I think Guly, pictured above, is supposed to play at the top of the diamond but it’s actually quite hard to tell.

We play well with 4-4-2, we win with 4-4-2, so in my limited tactical knowledge of football, I think that’s a fairly decent case for sticking with it. One or two players may not like it, but if Adkins is the boss they should just get on with it.

Why Guly doesn’t play out wide now we’re lacking Chamberlain and Barnard is banging them in up front, I just don’t know. Hopefully he’ll grow to like it eventually.

The Rochdale loss isn’t the end of the world – hell, we’re still second for crying out loud – but it would be nice if Saints could cut out this tendency to do things the hard way. I’d have been happy with a point at Spotland, just to further cement our grip on an automatic spot.

I guess I’m most annoyed because I keep getting texts from relatives in Rochdale simply saying “2-0”.

Still, onwards and upwards.

By the time you’re reading this, Brighton will have most likely wrapped up the title – deservedly so – meaning the main focus of the league will be who goes up with them.

I still maintain that a fully fit first XI at Saints is potentially the best in League One, but Brighton have a stronger squad and more importantly they have a truly magnificent manager in Gus Poyet, so I doubt anyone can have any complaints about them deserving the silverware.

But if Southampton at least want to look like all the money lumped on them at the start of the season was not done in vain, a strong, blip free run-in is vital. Second place is Saints’ to lose now. Adkins has the players at his disposal to see it through – let’s just hope we forget the diamond.

Family's backing a bonus for Saints

SAINTS’ financial figures came out just over a week ago and a few things raised an eyebrow or two.

Of course there was the huge increase in turnover compared to our last season in the Championship, which can only be a good thing, although that is somewhat offset by the fact Saints outgoings are almost £8m more than what is coming in.

Going back up to the Championship won’t be worth an awful lot more to the club, unless attendances go up to an average around the 25-26,000 mark, as the difference in TV revenue is only about £500,000 more. But, if the Liebherr family’s backing continues, as Saints claim, then the club can hopefully have a bit more time to get everything on an even keel in the next few years.

I was a bit surprised to see one of the directors of the parent company could be earning in the region of £20,000 a week, but if success – both financial and sporting – can be delivered, then it won’t be too much of an issue for most fans, will it?