This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Rewind’ series, this content strand is where we rewind back to a particular moment at a club, assess the initial reaction from the fans, and then proceed to evaluate and reflect on whether fans were right to react in that way….
Nigel Adkins is under pressure after a slow start to the 2021/22 season at Charlton Athletic. Adkins hit the ground running at The Valley, joining as manager in mid March, losing just one of 10 matches at the back end of the 2020/21 campaign and only missing out on the play-offs on goal difference.
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Five points from eight games and sitting in 21st place leads Adkins into a crunch encounter this weekend when the Addicks play host to Portsmouth. The former Southampton manager could be set for his last outing in the Charlton dugout should they lose on Saturday struggling to pick up the reins left behind by Lee Bowyer.
Quiz: Are these 22 Charlton Athletic stats real or fake?
Charlton are finally on an upward trajectory off the pitch with owner Thomas Sandgaard bringing financial stability and investment in the playing squad for the first time in a long while. With Lee Bowyer leaving off his own accord in March it will be interesting to see how much patience Sandgaard shows in Adkins should the South Londoners’ poor run persist.
Adkins’ contract runs until the end of the 2022/23 season which shows significant faith from the club hierarchy but would involve a hefty pay-off should the club decide to make a change. The Addicks waited until the closing stages of the summer transfer window in looking for value in the market, they may be just as cautious in waiting for a return on their first managerial investment.
Here, we take a look at some of the immediate reaction on Twitter that followed Adkins’ appointment in March…
I think everyone actually needs to calm down with the negativity and actually back Nigel. Give him a chance! Getting the likes of Wilder or Eddie through the door was always going to be unlikely. Welcome Nigel!
— Jon. (@JonN_zey) March 18, 2021
Initially underwhelmed with this appointment, and he’s not been in the game since Hull.. however, the guy made Southampton an unplayable team with attacking football. Hopefully he can bring this to The Valley and we have some exciting times ahead! Plus we’ve kept Jacko #cafc
— Daniel Crawford (@Dan_Crawford) March 18, 2021
How wildly underwhelming that is. But at least its external and ill back him for sure do what you did with Southampton.
— Jack (@Jackosaysrelax) March 18, 2021
May not be people's first choice, but I'm happy with it. Adkins has had a successful career at this level, he has a positive attitude which is completely different to Bows, he likes his sides to play attacking football, and gives youth players a chance. Sounds good to me.
— Jamie (@WhyTwoJamie) March 18, 2021
Exciting new era for the club, a fresh start. Then you go and appoint Nigel Adkins. I have no words
— Olly Hickford (@ollyTJhickford) March 18, 2021
Decent appointment. Has done a good job in the past with Southampton in particular. Hopefully he's still got it, still keen to nurture young talent and a good person to keep working with the current backroom team. Not the first name I thought of but equally not the worst.
— Colin Peppiatt (@ColinPep1) March 18, 2021
Early impressions are very good and he has an impressive CV, so no negatives from me.
— Terry Smith (@KillersBeard) March 18, 2021
Welcome Nigel. Do what you did with Southampton please 👍
— VFF (@ValleyFloydFred) March 18, 2021
Judging by the club’s form at the start of the 2021/22 and their position inside the League One relegation zone, the skepticism around the appointment has certainly been justified. The underwhelmed feeling within the fan base following the appointment is still present and has been justified in the evidence of the performances on the pitch.
Yes Nigel Adkins has won promotion from League One three times, but not since 2011 and his tactics have smacked of a manager unable to adapt to the modern game.
Thomas Sandgaard claimed Adkins brought an attractive brand of football and provided a pathway to the first team for young players. One of the first things he did at the helm was exile academy graduate Albie Morgan and the supporters have been treated to some of the most static and one dimensional football in living memory.
From a supporters’ perspective there is hope Nigel Adkins can turn things around, not belief.