Two goals from Adam Lallana and further efforts from Billy Sharp and Jos Hooiveld ensured the Saints cleared the final hurdle with ease, ultimately finishing only one point behind npower Championship champions Reading.
Asked to sum up his feelings amid a mass pitch invasion at the final whistle, Adkins said: "Pride, too right it's pride. A lot of people put a lot of hard work in, and for the players trying to get off the pitch now, being mobbed by our fantastic supporters, they deserve all the plaudits they get. Since I joined the football club, they've been tremendous."
He added: "Everybody at this football club has worked their socks off and deserve all the praise they get.
"I'm very proud and honoured. We've put a lot of hard work in so it's good. I'm a happy man."
Goalkeeper Kelvin Davies added on BBC1: "It's unreal.
"It's been a fantastic, fantastic season. As players, we've played a style of football we've enjoyed playing. We played it again today and it got us four goals and a clean sheet."
Davies was also keen to ensure Adkins got his share of the praise, with the manager so often keen to deflect it on to others.
"He's done brilliantly since he's been here. He's very calm, very collected, and his preparation is second to none," he said.
"He lets the lads manage themselves as well, we've all got a voice and if we've got something to say we can say it. He's a good communicator. He deserves everything he gets."