SOUTHAMPTON'S shock sacking of boss Nigel Adkins last week has been labelled "disgraceful" by furious fans amid rumours of supporter unrest at tonight's Premier League clash with Everton.
Nick Grant, the owner of SaintsWeb, Southampton's biggest internet forum, says new manager Mauricio Pochettino will have a hard task to win over some fans angry at Adkins' departure.
Fans plan to wave white handkerchiefs to indicate their displeasure during the St Mary's tie, in which Saints will bid to move away from the relegation zone by extending a run of two defeats in their last 12 games.
Grant said: "As far as I am concerned he (Pochettino) will have my support, but there will be a lot of fans who will take the view that he has got to earn their support. It is going to be difficult given the run of games we have coming up.
"Nicola Cortese (Southampton's executive chairman) has obviously earned himself quite a reputation for having a bit of a trigger finger.
"But for it to come at this point after a good run of form is bad timing. For him (Adkins) to be treated in this way is pretty disgraceful really."
Saints hero Matt Le Tissier went further, accusing chairman Cortese of having "a bit of an ego problem" and acting in a cowardly manner by failing to explain his decision at the press conference to announce Pochettino's arrival.
Le Tissier said: "I don't know if Nigel was becoming too popular and the chairman didn't like it -- he does appear to have a bit of an ego problem.
"The strangest thing about it all for me was he brings the new manager in about a minute after he sacked Nigel and then he hangs the new manager out to dry at a press conference on his own, which I thought was an incredibly cowardly thing to do.
"If he's going to make those decisions surely he owes it to the fans to sit there and explain his decision, but he wasn't brave enough to do that."
Pochettino's first big decision is whether to recall top scorer Rickie Lambert, who came off the bench to score in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea.