Previously axed Southampton boss Adkins invited back to St Mary's to watch demolition of Aston Villa

Having been dismissed in 2013, the former St Mary's manager thanked the club for 'warmly welcoming' him back for the 6-1 win.

Ex Southampton manager Nigel Adkins, sacked by the club less than 18 months ago, was a guest of the Saints at this weekend's match against Aston Villa. 

The former goalkeeper is still highly regarded at Southampton after guiding the club to successive promotions from League One all the way up to the Premier League during his three years in charge.

The 50-year-old boasts a 54% win percentage from his time at the club, and clearly there are no hard feelings on either side after he was invited to watch Ronald Koeman's Southampton in their final home game of the season, a game that turned out to be a tremendous 6-1 win over Aston Villa.

Though his subsequent spell at Reading ended in disappointment, Adkins can certainly take some credit for the fact the Saints are currently impressing in the top seven of the Premier League, with several of the players on display stars that he introduced at the club.

Just a quick glance at the Championship and League One indicates that there are several famous big clubs who haven't managed to find their way back to the top flight after demotion.

Adkins was sacked in January 2013 with Southampton three points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, and Mauricio Pochettino, who has since departed for Tottenham, was brought in in his place.

And you could bet that the Argentine would not be as welcome at St Mary's as Adkins was.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch