Early Doors

Adkins sacking daft, not disgraceful

Things it is OK to feel about Nigel Adkins's sacking by Southampton: Amazement, confusion, trepidation.

Things it is not OK to feel about Nigel Adkins's sacking by Southampton: Anger, disgust, outrage.*

The decision to remove the manager who has led you to two straight promotions, in the middle of an unbeaten run that has seen you pull clear of the relegation zone, is obviously a controversial one.

But we need to separate the issues - the analytical from the emotional.

Was it a bad decision? Probably. Was it hard to understand? Definitely. It is a risky move to replace your successful manager with Mauricio Pochettino, a guy who doesn't speak English? Absolutely.

Was it morally wrong? Was is disgraceful, appalling, shameful? Of course not.

Adkins deserves some sympathy. If you we're him you'd be livid. But you're not.

People who actually support Southampton get the asterisk* above. They can be allowed a feeling of frustration that the club has jeopardised their place in the top flight.

But every one else can pipe down with their whole 'disgrace' bit. You've never cared about Southampton before and you never will again, so get off your high horse.

There's so much injustice in the world. So much immorality, so much unnecessary suffering. It seems inconceivable to ED that anyone would waste their outrage on Southampton sacking their manager.

It's football, for god's sake. Don't think for a minute that any of this actually matters.

Look, Early Doors gets it. We like football. It means a lot to us. And we don't like to see club executives (particularly the 'foreign' bogey-man) taking the p*ss out of the sport we love.

Again, should this really cause of so much fury? There's a lot not to like about modern football - much of it down to the game's conversion into a blandly commercial 'product'.

But is managerial stability something we yearn for from the good old days? ED certainly doesn't.

Sackings are fun. They add interest. And (whisper it) there's not a great deal of evidence that changing the gaffer particularly harms your performance on the pitch.

ED would suggest that managers are long-serving because they are successful, not the reverse.

Alex Ferguson isn't just the main argument in favour of chairmen showing patience - he's the only one.

How many other historical examples can you find of managers coming good after three-plus years in charge? The vast majority are either successful straight away or not at all.

Now, Adkins was successful. Amazingly so. Which makes sacking him a surprising, risky and potentially stupid decision. But disgusting? Definitely not.

Just because Adkins has done well in recent seasons, it doesn't mean the club owe him a living.

Managers stay in work not on the strength of their past deeds, but what the clubs thinks they might achieve in future.

Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese has looked at the situation and decided Pochettino is a better bet than Adkins 'going forward', to lapse momentarily into management speak.

Is he wrong? Quite possibly. But that doesn't mean he's not entitled to make the change.

The reaction on Friday was suitably boggle-eyed. Sky Sports News immediately reeled out dozens of viewer emails - most from concerned just disgusted neutrals, and got Paul Merson to say he hoped Southampton go down.

The exception was the hilariously off-message Guillem Balague, who expressed delight that his friend has got a job.

(Much as it felt like dancing on Adkins's grave, it was at least a reminder that football management is a zero sum game - one man's loss is another's gain.)

So it will be interesting to see how Southampton's fans react tonight when they play Everton tonight.

Fan protests are all the rage these days, and Chelsea have set the mutiny bar pretty high with their badly-spelt A4 printouts after Rafa Benitez took over.

Unlike at Chelsea with Benitez, there is no hostility towards Pochettino - just suspicion.

The sacking wasn't his fault, and the fans have little choice but to offer him support.

At the same time, they will surely want to let Cortese know what they think.

Early Doors would like, as a heartfelt tribute to Adkins's managerial techniques, to hear the Southampton fans sing 'The Man In The Glass' to the tune of 'Sloop John B'.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It was a clear penalty. It was definitely a penalty. He has put his leg right in there. The linesman (Simon Beck) is facing it, I thought he had a very poor game, the linesman. I thought he was disappointing. We have got that history with him. He never gave offside with Drogba at Old Trafford when he was three yards offside. Everyone remembers that, I certainly do. For me it was a poor performance from him, why he never gave a penalty I don't know. I think he had a shocking game, he's had a bad game and we never got anything from that side of the pitch."

ED isn't even going to bother telling you who said that. And, for the record, it has no recollection of the time Drogba was three yards offside at Old Trafford.

FOREIGN VIEW: He's gone! He's gone! Thank the lord, Wesley Sneijder has gone!

And cue further outrage that he has eschewed the 'challenge' of the Premier League to play in Turkey.

Well, he hasn't quite gone yet. But he will do. Please. Please.

Full story: Galatasaray announce Sneijder coup

COMING UP: If there's one being whose delight at Sneijder's move will be unconfined, that's Eurobot, who may no longer have to field 250 questions a day about him signing for Manchester United.

Depending on the state of the trains (robots have to commute too, you know) Eurobot will be with you with the papers by 9, then chatting nonsense in earnest from 9.30.

And we've got Southampton v Everton for you, LIVE from 20:00 UK time.