Vital Football

Latest Reading FC News

Saints fans on Adkins - Part 1

Saints fans on Adkins - Part 1

Vital Reading is conducting a number of interviews with Southampton fans about our new boss Nigel Adkins over the next few days, and what they think of their former manager. Today is chance for Saints fan Connor Armstrong (@ConnorArmstrong) to reveal all about the new man at the helm. He gives a fantastic in-depth analysis of his time at Saints, his choice of tactics and his controversial dismissal.



Nigel was somewhat of a revelation for us. Despite concerns about Adkins being a low-profile appointment with only experience at Scunthorpe on his CV in English football - he was a breath of fresh air. Adkins became the face of 'The Southampton Way' that our chairman, Nicola Cortese would often speak of. Attacking, fast-paced, possession football. Adkins from day one instilled a philosophy of 'passing the football, but passing with a purpose'. He quickly set about altering the dynamics of a previously more direct side that he had inherited from Alan Pardew.

He'd inherited a very good squad but seemed to get those extra few % out of each player, and it was under his leadership that Rickie Lambert really flourished. Already a player with a great brain and a natural ability to score goals, Adkins utilised him as much more than a target man. Even this season, Lambert has been involved in 43.9% of our goals. Change took time to occur, and it wasn't a blistering start from Adkins - but within a few weeks the tweaks and changes he was implementing became clear. He is a character which is brimful of positivity, it may drive you mad - but he is passionate about what he does and how he does it.

He left us with the highest win percentage of any Southampton manager, and held a reputation as everyone's favourite uncle as it were. A wonderfully positive and pleasant individual, with strong confidence and belief in everything he did. A man of the people, if you'd like to put it that way. This was largely why many people were so distraught at his sacking. One story I will mention is that Nigel refused to even discuss a move with Southampton, despite encouragement to move before a compensation package had been settled with Scunthorpe. He refused, and demanded that Scunthorpe receive a fair and just settlement.


As previously mentioned, from the very moment he stepped through the door at St. Mary's, he went on about passing the football and looking to win games in a positive manner. During Nigel's spell at the club in League One and the Championship, he would usually set up in a standard 4-4-2, but would on occasion vary his side to play a diamond formation. However, on promotion to the Premier League we saw a shift to 4-2-3-1, although just how much of this philosophy was Nigel's input remains unanswered. Adkins would look for the back four to be comfortable with the ball and work it up the field. It was a pretty standard 4-4-2 but he was comfortable with players roaming from positions when the opportunity was present.

However, one notable weakness this season from Adkins was his dithering over the goalkeepers' shirt. He started the season, perhaps sentimentally, with Kelvin Davis - before switching to the inexperienced Paulo Gazzaniga. Adkins, it transpired had stated his confidence in the two goalkeepers (who were making many costly howlers) - but the chairman brought in Artur Boruc. Adkins continued to dither for some time before settling with Boruc as #1. At the start of this season, we were conceding goals by the bucket-load, and Adkins then went the other way.

Notably against Manchester United - Saints got into a 2-1 lead, before taking off Puncheon, Lambert and Lallana - our three most potent attacking players at this time. The team then sat behind the ball and the rest is history. We lost 3-2 in injury time after sitting off of United too much. Another criticism levelled at Adkins was that he was often slow to make substitutions, but generally he is tactically aware - certainly in the Championship and League One where he made many good decisions to spin games back in our direction. Oh, and if you ask him to wave - he will just clap you!


At the time of the announcement, Saints fans were stunned at Adkins' removal from the position of First Team Manager. It came on the back of a fantastic 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, and after an upturn in form. It was a surprising time for the announcement, and no sooner had Nigel Adkins been sacked - Mauricio Pochettino was being introduced to the media. Leading up to the sacking, for a series of months the stands had boomed out their support for Nigel in the form of 'There's only one Nigel Adkins!' and 'Nigel Adkins' red army!'.

Had Adkins been sacked in November it would have perhaps been more understandable, after some lacklustre displays and whilst we were visibly struggling. However, many Saints fans felt Adkins achievements in gaining two consecutive promotions had earned him the right to a full Premier League season, regardless of results. The conduct of the fans in the wake of Adkins' sacking was admirable.
There were bursts of 'One Nigel Adkins' but a desire to avoid mirroring the farcical situation at Chelsea.

Fans continued to support the side and the new manager, Mauricio Pochettino. The vast majority of Saints fans were absolutely gutted to lose not only a record-breaking, history-making manager, but a top bloke in the process. Many didn't understand what the chairman was thinking and doubted how positive a change of manager could be in mid-January. A ruthless, but shrewd move at this moment in time, as we have continued to go from strength-to-strength.

Join The Vital Debate

Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday April 2 2013
Time: 1:49PM

Best of Vital Network

Login to post a comment

Recent Reading Articles

Brian McDermott SACKED

Jaap Stam set to become Reading manager

No More Quarter Final Replays For Reading

Should Reading progress through to an FA Cup quarter final from the 2016/17 season onwards, the game will no longer be subject to a replay.

Reading's Parachute Payments In 2015/16

With the 2015-16 season behind us, the final television allocation money based on final league positions have been confirmed - and here's what Reading...

Reading - FL Dates 2016/17 (23/5/16)

The Football League have released the key dates for the coming 2016/17 season.

Archived Vital Reading Articles

Vital Reading articles from

Site Journalists

Editor email
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

What Striker do you want to see here?
Suggested By:
Dom Solanke10%
Lewis Grabban9%
Jamie Mackie12%
Carlton Cole 7%
Nahki Wells62%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Burnley 46 26 15 5 93 37
P Middlesbrough 46 26 11 9 89 32
3 Brighton 46 24 17 5 89 30
4 Hull City 46 24 11 11 83 34
5 Derby County 46 21 15 10 78 23
6 Sheff Wed 46 19 17 10 74 21
7 Ipswich 46 18 15 13 69 2
8 Cardiff 46 17 17 12 68 5
9 Brentford 46 19 8 19 65 5
10 Birmingham 46 16 15 15 63 4
11 Preston 46 15 17 14 62 0
12 Q.P.R. 46 14 18 14 60 0
13 Leeds Utd 46 14 17 15 59 -8
14 Wolves 46 14 16 16 58 -5
15 Blackburn 46 13 16 17 55 0
16 Forest 46 13 16 17 55 -4
17 Reading 46 13 13 20 52 -7
18 Bristol City 46 13 13 20 52 -17
19 Huddersfield 46 13 12 21 51 -11
20 Fulham 46 12 15 19 51 -13
21 Rotherham 46 13 10 23 49 -18
R Charlton 46 9 13 24 40 -40
R MK Dons 46 9 12 25 39 -30
R Bolton 46 5 15 26 30 -40
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Reading Results (view all)