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Southampton did what? Fired Nigel Adkins … Seriously?

Jan 18, 2013, 9:58 AM EDT

FBL-ENG-PR-FULHAM-SOUTHAMPTON

As we all study and ponder our favorite teams in sports, let’s remember this critical postulate: just because someone has money and, therefore, owns the right to make critical decisions, that does not indicate that they are necessarily a smart person and that they know their thumb from their elbow when it comes to, you know … sports!

We give you Southampton in the English Premier League. Today comes news that the Saints have relieved manager Nigel Adkins and replaced him with Mauricio Pochettino.

In most corners the news is landing somewhere between “strange” and “outright lunacy.”

No, Southampton did not start the Premiership season well. But was that so surprising, considering a roster that looked more like a Championship (second-tier) side?

Besides, Adkins’ men have done better lately, just recently rallying from two goals down to manufacture a 2-2 draw at Chelsea. That’s a pretty reasonable result for an Arsenal or a Tottenham … much less for a Southampton. By the way, the club now sits above the drop zone, with a two-team cushion, in fact.

Besides all that, what do we make of a replacement (Pochettino) who has fired himself just last November from Espanyol, who sat bottom of La Liga at the time?

Two years ago, Southampton was in dire financial distress, mired in England’s third tier. The well-liked Adkins guided them up two levels in two seasons, a truly remarkable achievement.  Just ask a former giant like Leeds United what a feat that is, given all the built-in impediments and the fierce competition.

Yes, there were defensive issues through the fall. But given the resources, who could have done any better?

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