January 21, 2013 by Hamilton Fan
The timing of Nigel Adkins’ sacking came as a shock to everyone in the footballing world. Adkins, who had led the south coast club to two successive promotions, was sacked on Friday and immediately replaced by Argentine Mauricio Pochettino. Adkins left Southampton in a respectable 15th position in their first season back in the top flight. His job seemed uncertain earlier on in the season as the club picked up just two league wins in their first ten games. However, just two defeats in their previous twelve games saw The Saints undergo a mini-revival that pushed them clear of the relegation zone and seemingly keeping their manager’s job safe for the time being.
Football clubs are often criticised for their short term decision making when deciding to sack managers. Many clubs are too quick in pulling the managerial trigger, feeling the pressure to succeed bearing down on them. However, with regard to Southampton, this does not seem to be the case. The man they have chosen to replace the popular Adkins is not a short-term option whose sole purpose is to steer the club away from relegation. Pochettino is a young, ambitious manager who comes to Southampton to build a legacy, not to keep the club afloat in the top flight. Idealistic perhaps, but the club can not be accused of taking the safe option.
The 40 year old Argentine comes to Southampton with an impressive reputation from his time in Spain. Despite his time at Espanyol ending on a sore note which saw him relieved of his duties as manager earlier this season, it is his earlier work at the Spanish club that means he is still highly regarded by his former employer’s fans. Pochettino took over the Spanish club in January 2009, having previously been a player for the Catalonian side. Placed in the relegation zone when he took over, Pochettino led his side on a late-season revival finishing a respectable 10th position in La Liga. He went on to lead the side to three more respectable La Liga finishes, including an 8th place finish in the 2010-2011 season.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague was quick to voice his approval of the appointment on Twitter, claiming that Southampton have appointed a “superb manager with a vision”. He went on to add that Saints fans should be “excited” following Pochettino’s arrival, going on to praise his commitment, style and tactical prowess. Balague likened Southampton’s new manager to that of Swansea’s boss Michael Laudrup in terms of their similar footballing styles. The Argentine is known for his quick-paced, attacking football, believing in the importance of ball retention and quick pressing. A style of play that should, on paper, excite dubious Southampton supporters.
Although Southampton’s new manager is yet to take charge of a game and has much to do to win over an angered support base, it could be exciting times ahead for the football club. Pochettino’s appointment is certainly a progressive one, and despite an overwhelming feeling that Nigel Adkins’ departure was unjust, the Southampton hierarchy can not be accused of standing still. Time will ultimately tell, but Southampton Football Club could be in for an exciting future under their new progressive manager.