Nigel Adkins (former Wigan keeper) joined Southampton Football Club during the 09-10 season when they were 22nd in League one. Then season 10-11 he got Southampton promoted to the Championship, finishing 2nd in League one behind champions Brighton Hove & Albion by 3 points.
At the beginning of the season most Saints fans would have said that they would have been happy to finish mid-table. But Adkins had other ideas. He was going to get Southampton another promotion.
And that is exactly what he did.
August 6th 2011 was the beginning of Southamptons season back in the Championship. Nigel Adkins team beat Leeds United at St Marys 3-1. Southampton went on to win their next four games until their 3-2 defeat at King Power Stadium (Leicester City). However this result didn’t knock Nigel Adkins team at all as they went home and beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 and again beating Birmingham 4-1. The next two league matches Saints drew to Burnley (away) and lost 2-1 to Cardiff City (away). Saints then won their next league game at home as they trashed Watford 4-0 including goals from Guly do Prado, two from Englands current joint top goal scorrer Rickie Lambert and another from substitue Lee Holmes. The next 10 games went a little like this for Nigel Adkins team: D W D W W W W L W L … Including a 1-0 defeat away to Doncaster as soon to be a Saint Billy Sharp got the winning goal. As of 18/7/2011-23/1/2012 Nigel Adkins team were top of the Championship then again from 18/2/2012 - 13/4/2012 when the soon to be Champions of the Championship had taken Nigel Adkins teams spot. During the 11-12 season Southampton had only ever been 1st or 2nd in the league table and with a 4-0 defeat against Coventry City at St Marys on 28th April the words Nigel Adkins and his men and of course Southampton fans all around were waiting to hear came… “SOUTHAMPTON ARE PROMOTED TO THE PREMIER LEAGUEEEEE”
Amazing how Nigel Adkins had joined and had got the club two back to back promotions.
The first day of the season had come after seven years of waiting and Southampton were travalling up to Manchester to face current champions of the Premier League, Manchester City. A game that everyone thought would be easy for the champions. But that wasn’t the case.
The team Nigel Adkins had put out worried a lot of fans (Davis, Clyne, Hooiveld, Fonte, Fox, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Guly, Puncheon, Rodriguez. Subs: Gazzaniga, Richardson, Shaw, Seaborne, S Davis, Lambert, Sharp) The thing that worried the fans the most was that last years top goal scorrer in the Championship, Southamptons goal machine, had been put on the bench. But this was Nigels tacticks. And oh my didn’t it work!
The game was goalless as goal keeper Kelvin Davis saved a Silvia penalty. Then on the 40th minute Tevez scored. So Nigel Adkins men were 1-0 down to the current league champions at half time. Until Adkins bought on Rickie Lambert who got a cracking goal and made it 1-1. Then Adkins bought on Steven Davis who again in the 67th minute scored making 2-1! The thoughts running through the Saints fans and City fans mind right now must have been crazy. It wasnt 2-1 for long. As Dzeko made it 2-2 and then Nasri making it 3-2 on the 80th minute. Personally 3-2 against City is a decent result though.
However Nigel Adkins men went on to lose to Wigan at St Marys 2-0. Then the following weekend to Manchester United 3-2 (RVP hat trick). Then the travalling side lost 6-1 to Arsenal (Including two OG) However the Saints went on to get their first points this season as they beat Villa 4-1 at St marys. Then they drew their next home game against Fulham. Then lost 4-1 to West Ham. Then again to Spurs 2-1. However Nigel Adkins side soon turned around as St Marys saw the side draw 1-1 to Swansea. Then their first away defeat came beatig relegatipn rivals QPR 3-1. Then as Alan Pardew returned to St Marys with his currrent club Newcastle United, Saints won 2-0. They then drew at home to Norwich 1-1. Sadly they lost 1-0 away to Liverpool but the side came home and beat Reading 1-0. Then as Sunderland came to St Marys Adkins side lost 1-0. Boxing day came and a cracking Rickie Lambert penalty and they drew 1-1 with Fulham. They then went to Stoke, a team who before Saints visited had only conceeded four goals this season… That soon changed as at half time Nigel Adkins men were 3-1 up but the game ended 3-3. Then Arsenal visited St Marys and drew 1-1. Saints went to Villa Park and another Lambert penalty got the Saints a 1-0. They then travelled to Chelsea (Champions of europe) on the 16th January 2013 after being trashed two weekends ago by the team at St Marys 5-1 in the FA cup. Adkins team were 2-0 down at half time. But Adkins used his tactiks and bought Lambert on (Many saints fans were up in arms about the decision to put Lambert on the bench) Lambert then came on and got a cracking goal making it 2-1 then shortly after Jason Puncheon made it 2-2, the final score was 2-2 and Nigel Adkins team had gotten a point away from home to the Champions of Europe.
But this wasn’t good enough for chairman Cortese. As late Friday morning (18/1/2013) Cortese sacked Nigel Adkins and bought in Pochettino, which suggests this had been planned for a while. Saints fans were not having any of this. And why would we? Two back to back promotions and drawing with the Champions of Europe then sacking the guy all the fans love? No way. As it had snowed that day many fans went up to St Marys and wrote “Nigel Adkins” in the snow, but Cortese wasn’t having any of that so he got some men to go outside and scrape that away.
Southampton players who have Twitter couldn’t believe it either and expressed that by tweeting stuff like “wow” “what did i just hear” “i dont believe it” etc etc
Even Sir Alex Ferguson has said the sacking of Adkins is crazy.
Now, Pochettino has only ever managed on club. And that was a Spanish club. He cant speak English. And when he left his last club they were bottom of the league. Now, can he really out do Nigel Adkins?
We will just have to wait and see…