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Southampton FC

Southampton FC Information

Address:   St.Mary's Stadium, Britannia Road, SOUTHAMPTON. SO14 5FP
Telephone: (0870) 2200 000
Fax: (023) 8072 7727
Founded: 1885
Stadium: St.Mary's Stadium
Website: www.saintsfc.co.uk
   
 

Southampton FC History

Southampton F.C. (originally St. Mary's YMA) is an English football team, nicknamed The Saints. Based in the city of Southampton in Hampshire, the team was formed in November 1885. In 1898 the team moved into The Dell, the ground which was to be their home for over 100 years. However, as a result of poor stadium capacity, the team moved to St Mary's Stadium in 2001.

Their finest hour was their FA Cup win in 1976, when they beat Manchester United 1-0. They also were the runners-up in 2003 against Arsenal and runners-up in the 1979 League Cup final against Nottingham Forest.

Southampton enjoy a fierce rivalry with Portsmouth Football Club; despite Southampton being in a superior division for much of the 1980s and 90s, this derby was recently reignited by Portsmouth's promotion to the Premiership in 2003.

On 4 March 2004, Paul Sturrock was named as Southampton's manager, succeeding Gordon Strachan. However, just over five months later, on August 23, 2004, it was announced that Sturrock was leaving the club 'by mutual consent', after a disappointing run of form and rumours of boardroom dissatisfaction with his management. He was replaced by Steve Wigley as head coach, despite rumours at the time that former England Rugby Union coach Sir Clive Woodward was to switch codes to football.

On October 11, 2004 Frenchman Christian Damiano was unveiled as the Saints' 1st team coach, to work alongside Wigley.

However, following a string of 14 Premiership games with only one win under the leadership of Wigley, Harry Redknapp was appointed as manager on December 8, 2004, signing an eighteen-month contract. This shocked much of the footballing world as Redknapp had recently resigned as manager of the Saints' arch rivals Portsmouth.

The 1970's and 1980's

Although Southampton had made several appearances in the First Division of the English league, they never really grabbed the headlines until the 1975-76 season - when they were a Second Division side. A Southampton side managed by Lawrie McMenemy was drawn to play Manchester United in the F.A Cup final at Wembley Stadium, and surprised all observers by beating United 1-0 thanks to a goal from striker Bobby Stokes (1952-1995). Southampton continued to progress well under McMenemy's stewardship, finishing runners-up in the league in 1983-84 and making a few threats to win the league title - a feat which Southampton has yet to achieve.

Lawrie McMenemy left in 1986 to be succeeded by Chris Nicholl, who was sacked after five years in charge despite preserving the club's top flight status. He was replaced by former Southampton player Ian Branfoot, who until the end of the 1990-91 season had been assistant manager to Steve Coppell at Crystal Palace. By this stage a key player in the Southampton line-up was Guernsey born striker Matthew Le Tissier, who was voted Young Player of the Year in 1990 by the PFA and later made seven appearances for the England team - he finally retired in 2002 at the age of 33.

Southampton in the Premiership

Southampton were founder members of the Premiership in the 1992-93 season and have stayed there ever since, although they have come close to relegation on several occasions and their top flight survival is currently in the balance.

Ian Branfoot was sacked in January 1994 with Southampton battling relegation. He was replaced by Exeter manager Alan Ball, who like Branfoot was a former Southampton player. Ball secured Southampton's survival for the 1993-94 season and guided them to a respectable tenth-place finish in 1994-95. But he was lured to Manchester City in the summer of 1995 and Southampton turned to long-serving coach David Merrington to take charge of the team in 1995-96. Southampton finished 17th with 38 league points, avoiding relegation on goal difference. Two important wins during the final weeks of the season did much to ensure that Southampton and not Manchester City would achieve Premiership survival. First came a 3-1 home win over eventual double winners Manchester City, then came a 1-0 away win over relegated Bolton Wanderers. Merrington was dismissed a few days after the end of the season and replaced by former Liverpool and Glasgow Rangers manager Graeme Souness.

Southampton fared little better in 1996-97 despite the arrival of Souness, whose track record included two Scottish league titles with Rangers and an F.A Cup victory with Liverpool. He resigned after just one season in charge, which had seen Southampton finish 16th in the Premiership, and Southampton's directors turned to Dave Jones - one of the most respected managers outside the Premiership who had won promotion to Division One with Stockport County as well as reaching the League Cup semi finals.

With such an inexperienced manager, Southampton were tipped by many observers to be relegated from the Premiership in 1997-98. But thanks to the addition of young striker Kevin Davies, and the acquisition of a few more competent players, Southampton achieved a respectable 11th place finish in the table. Their form dipped in 1998-99 but they avoided relegation on the last day of the season. In 1999 Southampton were given the go-ahead to build a new 32,000-seat stadium in the St Mary's area of the city, a welcome move after playing in the cramped Dell since 1898.

During the 1999-2000 season, Dave Jones quit as Southampton manager to concentrate on a court case after he was accused of abusing children at the children's home where he had worked during the 1980's. The accusations were later proved to be groundless but it was too late to save Jones's career as Southampton manager and he was succeeded by ex-England team manager Glenn Hoddle.

Glenn Hoddle helped keep Southampton well clear of the Premiership drop zone but he defected to Tottenham Hotspur just before the end of the 2000-01 season. He was replaced by first-team coach Stuart Gray, who oversaw the relocation to the St Mary's Stadium for the 2001-02 season. But Gray was sacked after a disastrous start to the season, and in came ex-Coventry manager Gordon Strachan as his replacement.

Gordon Strachan did much to revitalise Southampton during the 2001-02 season, and they finished in a secure 11th place in the final table. They did even better in 2002-03, finished eighth in the Premiership and coming runners-up in the F.A Cup to Southampton. Strachan resigned the following March and was replaced by Paul Sturrock, who was in the process of guiding Plymouth Argyle to their second promotion in three seasons.

Paul Sturrock suddenly announced his resignation just after the start of the 2004-05 season, and first-team coach Steve Wigley was put in charge of the first team. But a bad run of form saw Southampton battling near the foot of the Premiership table, and the club's directors felt that a more experienced manager was needed. So they turned to former Portsmouth, West Ham and Bournemouth manager Harry Redknapp, but whether Redknapp can secure Southampton's Premiership survival will be determined any day now.
 

Southampton FC Honours, Trophies & Awards

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