Such was the optimism at St Mary's at the start of the season, many supporters were saying that a league position anything lower than sixth by the end of October could prompt a change in manager.
In wasn’t that Alan Pardew was universally disliked, it was more out of confidence that Southampton would be comfortably in that top six at that time so there was little or no chance of the axe falling.
What will have happened had Pardew remained in charge past August 30 no-one knows. The fact that, even with a good run of recent results, they finished October in ninth place suggests that, following a less than impressive start to the season, the October target would not have been achieved.
Assuming it was for solely football reasons, most thought that the decision, coming after just five games of the season and directly following an emphatic win at Bristol Rovers, was harsh. Nigel Adkins record of six wins, two draws and two defeats in his opening ten games may go some way to proving that it was the right decision made at the right time.
Since Adkins has taken over the reins the squad has remained largely the same with just a handful of ‘loan’ additions in the shape of Guly do Prado, Nicholas Bignall and Richard Chaplow.
The style of play, meanwhile, is very different with the more direct style of old being replaced with a short quick passing game which starts at the back with goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.
With a number of big name managers out of work at the time, Adkins wasn’t on many people’s lists of candidates to fill the vacancy.
However, an early November entrance into the League One play-off positions at a time when former club Scunthorpe’s results have seen a dramatic decline adds to the view that it wasn’t just the right time but also the right man.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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