And so it begins, the Nigel Adkins era. We all hope it will be one of the most glorious in our history and he has the goodwill and support of all Addicks for sure. By any reckoning, and irrespective of whether it is the choice we would have made, it is at the least a decent appointment and may prove much more than that. Thankfully, the process has been concluded quickly as there is work to be done and really either Johnnie Jackson needed to be given the job for the rest of the season ahead of tomorrow’s game or someone else appointed, otherwise the uncertainty would have taken its toll, however professional the attitude of the players. Also positive, so far at least there’s no indication that JJ will be joining Lee Bowyer at Birmingham.
So all we need is Adkins and Jackson to get them up for it and make the right selections to get a victory tomorrow. No disrespect to Wimbledon intended, just that we need the points (I appreciate they do too). A win would set things up nicely as with no game then until 2 April we can if not put our feet up at least sit back and watch the others drop points, see how we’re placed by the time we go to Doncaster for what could be a vital game.
I know no more about Adkins’ capabilities and strengths than the next football fan, while his track record can be given either a positive or a negative slant. He has dropped out of the football limelight since leaving Hull, but seems to be making the right noises and seems to be itching to be back.
I was pleased that when discussing the development of young players through the academy he stressed balance, the need to also have experienced pros alongside them. Yes, we love it when a player emerges from the youth ranks into the first team – and hopefully now under Thomas Sandgaard we can enjoy it more, as there’s a better chance that a rising star won’t be flogged off to the first bidder. But it’s not the primary goal. If there was a moment when there really was no way back for Duchatelet and Meire it was when, having had to ditch the network ‘vision’, they came up with the great selling point of us being able to see the Premiership stars of the future.
Our club does not exist to produce young players, it develops young players because it makes good sense for us to do so and (we hope) contributes to the real goal of moving up the football league. And while ‘one of our own’ succeeding is always a plus, I really didn’t care that Super Clive never went through our academy or couldn’t speak English.
As for Adkins being excited by TS’ vision, I just never knew that I too had an ‘exciting long-term vision’. I thought it was just natural to want the team you support to be competing at the top level, especially as we have had a taste of it. Seems the only difference between my vision and that of TS is that mine involved us being there right now, or tomorrow at the latest.
Nobody is going to judge Adkins on whether or not we make the play-offs this season. The odds are against this – although it does mean a ‘no-lose’ for him as we do have a realistic chance. If we fall short, so be it, we regroup and see how the squad is reshaped for the next campaign, with Adkins able to make his mark in that process. That is all for the future, for this season much depends on us hitting the ground running under the new man with the right result tomorrow.