Tag: Southampton

The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Southampton

Once again, this seasons Premier League kicks off with a club that was involved the lower divisions of the Football League just two years ago, with Southampton having repeated the feat that Norwich managed at the end of the 2010/11 season by getting promoted from the Championship at the end of their first season back in the division. Of all of the achievements that can be managed in English football these days, it often feels as if this is the one that doesn’t quite receive the recognition that it deserves. Any club that gets promoted into a new division these days would ordinarily be happy enough to enjoy a season of consolidation and getting used to its new surroundings, but for Norwich and Southampton this turned out not to be enough and, in a competitive division and with one of the English games prizes on offer, Southampton tore from the pack last season and to a second successive promotion. A lot has changed since the club was last in the Premier League in 2005. Crippled by the financial burdens of the cost of building St Marys Stadium and with boardroom politics hopelessly out of control, a twenty-seven year stay in the Premier League had been ended by the decisions and actions of those at the time in charge of the custodianship, but the hangover was a lengthy one and...

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Match Of The Past: Southampton

Continuing our summer series of highlights of matches from days gone by, this morning we turn our attention to one of this years newcomers to the Premier League, Southampton. Well, we say “newcomers,” but Southampton FC have spent plenty of time in the top division of English football, most notably a lengthy unbroken spell in the top division which lasted from 1978 until 2005. Today, we have seven matches from Southamptons past, ranging from the start of the 1970s, right the way through to the end of an era, and the clubs departure from The Dell in 2001.  First up, we have a trip to Highbury to play Arsenal in 1970, on a snow-bound pitch in front of a slightly hysterical Brian Moore and with Arsenal, somewhat usually, breaking their habit of only wearing white shorts with their red and white home shirts. Our next game is from 1976 and is, surprise surprise, that years FA Cup final at Wembley against Manchester United, a match which started with United odds-on favourites to win against a Southampton side that was by this time in the Second Division. The Saints, however, had a surprise up their sleeve that day. Back in the First Division, our next match comes from 1979 and is a home league match against Brighton & Hove Albion. A mutual antipathy towards Portsmouth means that Brighton and Southampton...

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The Return Of The Saints: Southampton’s Rapid Ascent To The Premier League

If there was any hint of tension in the air at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday lunchtime, it didn’t hang around for very long. It took them a little under sixteen minutes for Adam Lallana to give Southampton the lead against a Coventry City that had already been relegated from the Championship with room to spare, and the final tally was a 4-0 rout which confirmed a return to the Premier League after a break of seven years for a club which just last season was playing its trade in League One. For the second successive season, the other clubs of the division will have cause to stop and wonder how a club newly-arrived in their division could cut their way through it like a hot knife through butter and win promotion at the first attempt. When attention turns to the key players in Southampton’s successive outstanding season, two names spring immediately to mind – those of Rickie Lambert and Nigel Adkins. Lambert scored thirty-one goals in forty-five matches this season, including twenty-seven in the league. It’s a tally that took his total since signing for the club from Bristol Rovers in 2009 to eighty-eight goals in one hundred and fifty-five matches. Lambert hasn’t played in the Premier League before and at thirty years of age this could be his one and only chance to do so. We will...

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Policing Football Fans: Civil Liberties Or Taking Liberties?

‘Football fans have been exposed to the type of policing historically that is probably unfair and untargeted. I think it’s evolved, I think it’s moved on. My football unit police with the best interests of football fans that are around safety and that’s our principle driver. It’s not you and us at all. We want to work with you. I’m really happy to work with football fans on this.’ Supt. Rick Burrows, Silver Commander, Hampshire Police Football Unit. In stark contrast to the Hampshire Commander’s rhetoric, recent reports of over-kill by West Yorkshire Police and heavy-handed stewarding by Leeds United belie the idea that policing of football fans has evolved.  Cardiff City, Portsmouth and Coventry City fans have made complaints about their treatment at Elland Road. Policing tactics may have changed  but 1980 attitudes are still to the fore. If you are an away fan in particular it is very much a case of ‘you and us’. At the Football Supporters’ Federation ‘Watching Football Is Not A Crime’ meeting in Portsmouth on October 20, this issue was raised. Supt. Burrows admitted that there seems to be a degree of partisanship in both stewarding and policing of away fans. He observed that when you have officers lining up between two sets of fans, ‘if you don’t tell them what to do, they all face the away fans. I think it is because...

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Those We Have Lost: The Dell, Southampton

Tom Tully surely performed a double take when he happened upon the match report from Southampton’s final stand at The Dell. Having written so many tales of glory for Roy of the Rovers, he likely thought his work had been plagarised when news came through that the final goal at those grounds, after 103 years of football, was a match winner over Arsenal scored from the foot of modern club legend Matt LeTissier. To complete the storybook ending, it was “Le God’s” final tally in his league career, as he retired following the 2001/02 season without finding the back of the new nets at St. Mary’s. For a player whose raison d’etre seemingly was to drive in goals from the penalty spot, him being unable to score at St. Mary’s makes a certain amount of sense–his favored pinch of grass worn down in front of the keeper had been left back down Milton Road, along with the place he had kept his shooting boots for sixteen years. After all, the St. Mary’s pitch has nothing of his history recorded in its lines nor has not been properly soaked through with his sweat and blood as had the grass in The Dell. Either that, or LeTissier had some helicopter crash that injured his foot that prevented him from scoring there. The stands, built near “a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and lofty aspens” according to those who have read Philip...

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