NIGEL Adkins's colourful CV began with a stint as a boss in the Birkenhead Sunday League.
He was an 18-year-old goalkeeper who had just signed for Tranmere having been released by Liverpool, and he was also the youngest manager around.
His team, Renbad Rovers, raced up the divisions before his coaching career took a step forward at Bangor City in 1993.
The next stop for Adkins was Scunthorpe United where, having worked for a long time as the physio, he stepped into the manager's office when Brian Laws left in 2006.
And after four successful seasons, Adkins was given the chance to manage a bigger club who had fallen on hard times in September 2010.
Southampton were at the wrong end of League One.
A little over two years and two promotions later, it seems a little harsh that he is fighting for his job.
There were plenty who suggested it was all over for Adkins after defeat at West Brom on Monday night, Southampton's eighth loss in ten Premier League outings this season.
But newspaper stories about who might take over were premature, for Adkins remains in charge for the visit of Swansea City tomorrow.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given his climb from the coaching wastelands, he is determined not to give up on the top flight without a fight.
Adkins met with his chairman in the wake of West Brom, but he has dismissed suggestions that he has only a couple more games to save his job.
"I'm not on a match-by-match basis — the chairman wants me to be Southampton manager," Adkins insisted yesterday.
"The relationship between me and the chairman is very good, and that is the most important relationship at any football club.
"I would imagine there would be loads of speculation about different things, but it is strong and it is good.
"We talk regularly, as we have always done, and we're determined to make this a success."
Adkins has taken the unusual step of taking his team away on a two-day training camp ahead of Swansea's visit to St Mary's.
Southampton, it seems, are trying everything as they attempt to climb off the bottom of the table.
"We are in a relegation dogfight, but we are going to fight and keep pushing everyone on," he added.
"We have to accept where we are, but then we look forward and move on.
"We're obviously looking at the next run of games. We take one game at a time in respect to the next one which is at the weekend against Swansea. We are focused on winning that."