“I spoke to him the day before he was sacked,” Sir Alex revealed. “He phoned me about his situation there. I mean I can’t understand these things. I think their form had picked up. Was it two defeats in 12 games? That’s not bad for a team at the bottom of the league.
“Southampton’s fans have got a way of demonstrating and there were a few banners up at the Everton game. It’s nice in terms of recognising the contribution Adkins made. He brought them up into the division and it’s not an easy job.
“The game prior to losing his job, they were 2-0 down to Chelsea but they came back and got a draw. Arsenal had the same situation and got to 2-1 but couldn’t quite get the second goal. The task of getting back at Chelsea on their home ground when you’re 2-0 down is pretty impressive."
Although bemused by Adkins' dismissal, Sir Alex has been around long enough to understand the ruthlessness of football.
“It’s a horrible part of the game in football," he added. "It’s the name of the game that you want to do well with your own personal contribution [as an owner or a chairman] and they want to still be in the division.”