Nigel Adkins: A Tribute

It was the 12th September 2010, there was nothing out of the ordinary about the day, but little did we know that our journey as Saints supporters was about to change  forever. He was tanned, he wore spectacles and his silvery brown hair was waxed into a quiff. Most Saints fans knew little of who he was or what he stood for. Some were bemused as to why this chirpy Scouser with the permanent smile was being given the reigns at our club. His record was that of a lower league manager who could get teams promoted but also relegated again. Was this a ‘big’ enough appointment for Saints?

Soon, the results started to come, and those who had been furious at the removal of Alan Pardew started to come round. Not only were Saints starting to win, they were doing it with a panache, a team spirit and a belief young Saints fans had never previously experienced.

Nigel Adkins was no longer a stranger, and his vision and his passion was inspiring us all. That permanent smile became infectious, his enthusiasm and almost exclusive positivity were worn like an armour in the face of any (though there were few) adversity. We had a team, a team that worked for each other, that stood ‘together as one’ and excited an often melancholy Saints crowd.

It took us a while to get used to it. We were too long perennial losers to find success too comfortable, but Adkins achieved it. His effect on our fanbase probably surpasses that of any other manager, certainly in my lifetime, and the strength of feeling shown at his dismissal will surely offer him some comfort.


It is usually the supporters who end a managers tenure. Not this time. This is the last thing we wanted. It feels like we have lost a relative, a friend and a leader all at the same time.

This has been two and a half of the best seasons in my time as a Saints supporter, and perhaps the only time I went into every game believing we could win.

I am sure Nigel will walk straight into another job, and he will be a success. He is a winner, a believer and perhaps a dreamer, but most importantly at all he is a gentleman and a note left for the players at the training ground said it all.

‘Keep Smiling

Have faith & belief that you are doing the right thing.

Keep looking to improve


Right back at you Nige.

Thank you Nigel Adkins. Thank you ‘the man in the glass’. You will go down in Saints history as a legend. Time to draw a blue line under it, move on, and control the controllables.

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As featured on NewsNow: Southampton FC news

10 thoughts on “Nigel Adkins: A Tribute”

  1. Just about the right words he is an absolute gentleman working in a cut throat business eho has performed superbly.. I would have stuck with him even if we had been relegated this season. I do understand the chairman’s intent but question the timing, only time will tell , I have my doubts that it will bring the success he obviously thinks it will.

  2. Feeling very sad with all that’s happened,your right it does feel like we’ve lost a relative…IMO nothing good will come out of this,we’ve made a massive mistake

  3. Top man. Nigel was the complete package. Excellent manager with proven track record. A man with integrity and honesty had earned respect of players and fans alike. He had the additional dimension through his sports physio qualifications of being able to optimise fitness and players diet. The Chairman should be looking to proven operating models like Man U and Arsenal where managerial stability has been the key to success. Massive thanks for you achieved at Saints – Forever in our hearts. “There’s only one Nigel Adkins” – OWTS

  4. It’s 24 hours since hearing the news and I still feel like I’ve lost a dear family member.
    Mr Adkins is not only a good manager and an incredible character – I felt he stands for everything I beleive in football and in any kind of working relationships.
    Thank You from all my heart, Mr Adkins, You will always be a very special figure no matter what You choose do to next.
    A true sportsman.
    A true Southampton legend.

    Bulgarian Saint

  5. Nice post George, you’ve summed up the feelings of all Saints fans. I’ve enjoyed the last couple of years better than any other in my 30+ years of following Saints. Finally we were all “together as one” after the divisive years of Lowe et al. Now it feels like the soul of the club has gone and we’re a wannabe Chelsea. I hope we can continue his (and Andy and Dean’s) good work but I’m not optimistic.

  6. Great article Chris. it certainly sums up my feelings and thoughts on NA’s tenure and subsequent departure from the club.

  7. A very good article. It has been a wonderful roller coaster with Nigel at the helm – lots of success and excitment. Now this has all been snatched away by the shabby, treacerous and tawdry behaviour of our executive chairman. Still he can never remove Nigel’s record and i am sure that Nigel will go down in the Saints history in a much more positive way than Mr Cortese will.

  8. Very well expressed and absolutely true. It makes me feel better that someone can sum up the essence of what Nigel Adkins brought to the club so well.

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