Listening to radio coverage of last night’s Southampton v Everton match, the atmosphere at St. Mary’s seemed very subdued.
No wonder, given the sacking of Nigel Adkins on Friday – the firing of a man who had gained two promotions and taken Saints to a position of relative comfort outside the relegation zone was – and let’s not get mealy mouthed about it – an absolute outrage.
But a large number of fans, while sympathising with the ex-physio, felt the most important thing was to GET BEHIND THE TEAM.
Other supporters have been less supine – even if Chelsea supporters’ warm welcome for Rafael Benítez is rooted in ostrich like denial of Didier Drogba’s tendency to go to ground.
Take Blackburn Rovers – this Spring saw a fissure develop between an ignorant press and the body of the Ewood Park support.
According to the former, the most important thing was to back the manager to ensure the preservation of Rovers’ Premier League status.
But for the latter, the shame of being dragged across the chicken run floor topped everything – and this season’s events have seen the faithful singing from an ever decreasing berg.
Take Leeds United – neoliberal outsiders apologised for the excesses of the Ken Bates regime claiming the ends justified the means.
But with the whites treading water in the Championship, the efforts of bloggers Scratching Shed and others have finally forced the poisonous smurf from power.
Take, above all, Cardiff City.
Sitting pretty with 60 points they may be, but of the last two Bluebirds fans I have encountered, both have demurred – one has torn up his season ticket, the other is still going, but under duress and with a very nasty taste in his mouth.
I won’t invoke Godwin’s Law – backing the decisions your club’s hierarchy make isn’t akin to marching the goosestep down the Kaufingerstraße circa 1933.
But the utter mindlessness of these actions won’t end unless protest is long and loud. Southampton fans need to follow the example of those at Blackburn or the very soul of their club will be in danger.