Nigel Adkins knows he was always a dead man walking at Southampton.

The Daily Mail says the likeable Liverpudlian was said to be in a philosophical mood last night as he digested his brutal sacking by Southampton's ruthless executive chairman Nicola Cortese.

Adkins knows the writing has been on the wall ever since an unconventional pre-season briefing with Cortese.

Having called all the first-team staff together, they expected a rousing 'welcome to the big time' pep talk. But instead, they heard a damning and chilling indictment from Cortese.

There was no motivational speech for a group of staff who had just won back-to-back promotions.

Adkins knew the bombshell was more for his benefit than anyone else's. He was not a big enough name to lead Cortese's Premier League journey - and he knew it. In many ways, Friday's sacking was merely putting Adkins out of his misery.