Saints Flyer - Nigel Adkins & The Sword Of Damocles
Monday, 13th Dec 2010 10:37 by Saints Flyer
It all sounds like a Harry Potter story, but there might not be a happy ending for the spectacled hero in this one.
Of course it was only a matter of time, but the moment that Alan Pardew found another job in football then the pressure was doubled on Nigel Adkins and Chairman Nicola Cortese.
Think back when Rupert Lowe arrived back at St Mary’s and dispensed with the services of Nigel Pearson, installing Jan Poortvliet in his place, before Poortvliet had taken up the reigns he was already damned by a supporter base with the perception that Pearson was the saviour of Saints, when the ex Saints boss was then appointed as manager of Leicester City the pressure intensified, comparisons were always going to be drawn and whilst im not going to debate the merits of either man today, it has to be said that Pearson had money and got the Foxes back up, whilst Poortvliet was weighed down by circumstances and from that respect would never be on a level playing field with his predecessor.
We now have a similar situation arising after the appointment of Alan Pardew at St James Park, in truth most Saints supporters expected Pardew to get another job fairly quickly, although those that would have placed money on it being a Premiership side would have been in the minority and those who would have wagered anything more than Pennies on it being a club the size of Newcastle would be counted on one hand.
But for Nigel Adkins and Nicola Cortese, Alan Pardew’s good fortune is their worst nightmare, firstly Cortese is now the man who turned down the Beatles, the man who sacked a man from League 1 for not being good enough only to see him rise to the top, for Adkins it is of course a lot less personal, in fact not personal at all, but it is still something hanging over his head that he does not need, something that adds to the pressure to get Saints promoted.
Adkins was always going to be judged against Pardew, AP was popular amongst the supporters prior to his sacking and most would have backed him to get it right and get Saints promoted, indeed the 4-0 win at Bristol Rover in his final game in charge perhaps indicated he had already started to turn round a season that was only three games old, yet being described as disastrous by rumour mongerers , from this point the pressure was on Adkins, not just to get the team playing his way but to storm to automatic promotion, it was bad enough to be judged when Pardew was out of work but now the pressure cooker has been turned up several notches.
Saturday was a weekend when Adkins had to get his team to perform and start to lay the ghost of the previous manager, we now know that Saints failed badly whilst Pardew’s Toon Army got off to a flying start under him and the first comparisons were already being drawn in the pubs around Southampton at 7.30pm Saturday night, there is only one way Adkins can dispel them and thats by winning football matches, the room for error has now shortened significantly and every week that sees Saints out of at least the play off spots will see the spotlight get hotter for Adkins, if Pardew keeps winning then it could become untenable, we have seen that Cortese does not suffer what he sees as failure for long and to be blunt, a betting man would put more money on Pardew being at St James Park come the end of the season than Adkins still being at Saints.
In many ways Pardew now has an easier job than Adkins, at least in the short term, Pardew really only has to avoid relegation, and given the team he has and that with the 22 points already on the table he probably only needs another 3-4 wins at most to achieve that, its virtually assured he can star tto build for the long term, Newcastle despite the protestations of their supporters have probably made a wise appointment, Pardew will put down the foundations for Newcastle to build on, whether he is the man to jump them up a level is another question, but for now and probably next season at least around 10th will suffice and that should be well within his grasp.
For Adkins its a lot tougher, 3rd will be deemed poor and 7th would see him undoubtably sacked, but if the league 1 table isn’t a tough enough barometer, Saints eyes will now be on every Newcastle result and if Saints lose and the Geordies win then the debates will start as to why a manager good enough to win games in the premier wasn’t good enough for Nicola Cortese, like Poortvliet and Pearson before its not a level playing field, but since when have football fans been fair.
There is one way forward for Adkins and that is to win football matches, if he does that on a regular basis then the comparisons will stop, in truth Saints should win more games than Newcastle between now and the end of the season, if not then there is something dreadfully wrong, if Adkins does that then nothing else matters if we get promotion, but for every game Saints fail to win or worse as on Saturday, then the Saints manager only needs to look above his head to see the Sword Of Damocles hanging there by a horse’s hair.
This is now a very tough time for Adkins in that Cortese is ruthless enough to make a change mid season, I don’t think you will find one Saints fan who would agree with that at present, but as Pearson and Pardew found, popular supports is useless if the Chairman wants you out, December is crucial for Adkins, if Saints founder then he could find that he has a Chairman who still smarting from Pardew’s rise to the Premier will act irrationally, who will look to win fans over by appointing a big name, there are many who trace the demise of the Cortese/Pardew relationship back to last January when after spending big we dropped out of the promotion race, many of those believe that Cortese will not, in his eyes at least make the same mistake twice and allow a situation to develope. If Adkins gets past January then all should be well, in that he has done his job and won games and will be able to take us forward, if we are still outside the play off spots after New Years Day then expect more fireworks.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
The U'sual Ramblings #3 by wessex_exile
The U’sual Ramblings #3 comes on the back of an imperious victory at Portman Road, our first there since 13th October 1951, when Jimmy Allen’s U’s won 2-0 courtesy of second half goals from Vic Keeble and Fred Cutting in front of 19,275. This was back in the old Division Three South days, and the U’s would finish the season 10th, with our Suffolk neighbours down in lowly 17th place. Needless to say, some of the gloss of Tuesday’s backs to the wall defensive masterclass was tarnished by the behaviour of a mindless minority in the away end, though the CUFC Police twitter account has since confirmed these were not regular day in day out supporters of Colchester United. Let’s hope investigations identify the culprits, and that they never darken our doorstep again. Our reward is a second round home tie against Premier League Brentford, and whilst it won’t be on the TV, assuming Brentford sell out their 2,000 allocation, it should be a decent crowd and an excellent atmosphere at the JobServe.
The U'sual Ramblings #2 by wessex_exile
The U’sual Ramblings #2, and the U’s first home match of the season. Much has been written on our narrow defeat away at Northampton Town last Saturday, not least that if they are the yard-stick for promotion contenders, we can take plenty of credit (and hope) from most of our performance, which really should have earned a point. However, we’ve seen these false dawns before – remember away at Notts County, and at Bradford, in recent years, where we thought we were playing contenders, and they turned out to be whipping boys for most of the season. Still, I don’t expect that of Northampton, so stout hearts faithful…and wasn’t it great seeing Nouble bombing down the wing doing what he does best again!
The U'sual Rambling #1 by wessex_exile
Here we go folks, are we ready for another rollercoaster of joy and dismay? Right now, I’ll probably take an even mix of both if it guarantees a solid midtable finish, but why stop at that. I agree with Durham in his excellent match review, given how well we finished the second half of the season, ignore the bookies perennial struggler tag – we can do this! For the new season, the blog has slightly metamorphosed into The U’sual Rambling, though largely the same format as last season, albeit perhaps less labour-intensive in content. In my case, pertinent for Saturday given I am missing the opener at Sixfields to dog-sit the beautiful (and high maintenance, super ridiculous, energetic etc.) border collie Reggie.
When Monday Comes #37 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes and we reach the end of a topsy-turvy season, much of which hasn’t been that much fun if I’m honest, though latterly considerably improved under Wayne Brown. If I can, I always like to do the first and last game of the season, but sadly a trip to Hartlepool just wasn’t on the cards, not if I actually wanted to get home again tonight, so I had to console myself with a pretty enjoyable trip to the JobServe last weekend – not quite the victory the U’s deserved over Walsall, but a great day out anyway. I know it’ll be too late for the Player of the Year awards, but wouldn’t it be nice to see a Freddie Sears hat-trick this afternoon to round off the season.
When Saturday Comes #36 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes tomorrow, and I will be on a train heading over to God’s own county for my last U’s game of the season. That should have been last Friday’s trip to the Principality, but as posted elsewhere I was more than happy to be pre-booked to dog-sit Emma’s collie Reggie that night and had to be content with one of Nadine’s ‘downstreams’ on iFollow. Given both the performance and the result, whilst I was sorry to miss it in person, I was more than happy with how Friday night turned out in the end. Tomorrow will be a gathering of the clans for us, with at the last count at least 8, possibly more, of the family gathering for the match. Ironically, I’ll see them all again on Bank Holiday Monday for a family birthday, but I’ll be driving over for that one.
[ Vote here ]