Tag Archives: Matt Le Tissier

Iconic Moments: Ali Dia – The worst Premier League player of all-time? (November 1996)

Throughout the history of the Premier League, there have been some amazing players who have graced these shores from the likes of Henry, Cantona and Zola to Aguero, Salah and Bergkamp. However, the English top-flight has also seen its fair share of flops and players who simply haven’t delivered on their potential. Others just aren’t good enough to reach the top level and quite possibly the worst is Ali Dia.

This weird but true story began in November 1996. Manager of Southampton at the time, Graeme Souness received a phone call from someone claiming to be the current World Player of the Year at the time, George Weah. The claim was that Dia was Weah’s cousin, had played 13 times for his country Senegal and also been a Paris Saint-Germain player. The call was actually made by one of Dia’s friends from University. If proper research had been carried out at the time, they would have seen that as recently as September 1996, the same player had made just one substitute appearance for non-league side Blyth Spartans!

Souness fell for it and Dia was signed on a one-month contract. A few days later, he was named as a substitute against Leeds United and got an unexpected opportunity when a calf injury forced Matt Le Tissier to be replaced by Dia after 32 minutes. His 53-minute cameo was nothing short of laughable and embarrassing. Withdrawn for Ken Monkou with five minutes left, Dia was never seen again in the Premier League. Le Tissier later said: “His performance was almost comical. He kind of took my place, but he didn’t really have a position. He was just wondering everywhere. I don’t think he realised what position he was supposed to be in.”

Dia gave up the game in 1997 after a couple more unsuccessful spells in the non-league with Gateshead and Spennymoor United. He went on to receive a Master of Business Administration from San Francisco State University in 2003.

Ali Dia – quite possibly the worst player to ever feature in the history of the Premier League.

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Great Goals: Matt Le Tissier – Blackburn Rovers vs. SOUTHAMPTON (December 1994)

Although Blackburn Rovers would eventually win this match in December 1994 against Southampton, the star of the game at Ewood Park was Matt Le Tissier.

The magic midfielder had a canny knack for scoring some outrageous goals and this is one which even he has often said is his best strike. With 12 minutes left to play, Le Tissier picked the ball up from teammate Tommy Widdrington on the halfway line. He shielded possession from Blackburn captain Tim Sherwood and turned Mark Atkins inside out. Le Tissier then went for goal from distance and his right-foot shot was inch-perfect. It flew into the top left-hand corner past his former teammate, Tim Flowers.

This goal was rightfully selected as the BBC Match of the Day Goal of the Season for the 1994-1995 campaign.

Memorable Matches: Norwich City 4-5 Southampton (April 1994)

Goalscorers: Mark Robins 37, Robert Ullathorne 44 OG, Jeremy Goss 48, Chris Sutton 55, 64, Matt Le Tissier 58, 63 PEN, 72, Ken Monkou 90

Teams:

Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Ian Culverhouse, Spencer Prior, Gary Megson (Mark Robins 25), Mark Bowen, Robert Ullathorne, Ian Crook, Neil Adams, Darren Eadie (Colin Woodthorpe 67), Jeremy Goss, Chris Sutton

Southampton: Dave Beasant, Francis Benali, Ken Monkou, Simon Charlton, Matt Bound, Jeff Kenna, Paul Allen, Jim Magilton, Neil Maddison, Matt Le Tissier, Iain Dowie

Referee: Keith Cooper, Attendance: 17,150

Seven games without a win and with time running out, Southampton were in the drop zone coming into this match in April 1994 against Norwich City. The Saints badly needed the points, whilst their opponents had struggled since Mike Walker’s January departure to manage Everton. His successor, John Deehan had managed just two wins in his first 16 games in the job.

The first 35 minutes of the contest were scrappy on a boggy pitch surface but both teams had scored by half-time. It was Norwich who claimed the advantage eight minutes before the break. Mark Robins, having arrived from the bench midway through the first half after an early injury to Gary Megson, fired a left-foot shot past Dave Beasant to score his first goal of an injury-hit campaign.

Before then, Southampton had created the better openings and Iain Dowie should have levelled but hit the post with the goal gaping. In the end, they got a helping hand from their opponents. On 44 minutes, Neil Maddison cut inside in the penalty area but his shot was going wide of the goal before it took an unfortunate deflection into his own net off Norwich defender, Robert Ullathorne.

It had been an unremarkable first half but the second 45 minutes was absolutely breathtaking. The goal feast started within three minutes of the restart. Neil Adams’ fine delivery landed on the head of Norwich midfielder Jeremy Goss, who scored his eighth goal of the season. Seven minutes later, Chris Sutton got in on the goalscoring act. He was quickest to pounce on Beasant being unable to hold onto a shot from Robins.

At 3-1 down, Southampton looked in real trouble but the wildcard they had in their armoury was Matt Le Tissier. He had been quiet throughout the afternoon upto the 58th minute when from the edge of the penalty area, his soft shot somehow managed to beat Bryan Gunn, despite the goalkeeper getting a strong hand to the attempt. Five minutes later, it was 3-3. Jeff Kenna’s surging run into the penalty area was ended by Ullathorne’s clumsy tackle. Referee Keith Cooper pointed to the penalty spot and Le Tissier – with his excellent penalty record, never looked like missing from 12-yards.

Only 60 seconds later, the Canaries were back infront. Sutton scored his second, heading past Beasant after beating Ken Monkou in the air from a free-kick. However, Southampton kept going and deservedly levelled at 4-4 when Le Tissier completed his hat-trick. His 100th goal for Southampton was a header that beat Gunn at his near post after a deep cross from the excellent Kenna.

It was the kind of game where a winner always looked likely and it arrived for the Saints in stoppage-time. Le Tissier turned provider with his corner finding Monkou and his downward header found the back of the net to give Southampton a priceless and ultimately, decisive lead in this amazing encounter.

It was a valuable victory for the south coast side, who confirmed their safety on an extraordinary final day. Norwich might have knocked Bayern Munich out of the UEFA Cup but finished in a low-key 12th.

The Clubs: Southampton

All statistics correct upto 27th January 2019

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
753 233 208 312 912 1056 -144 907 20

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Jason Dodd 329
Claus Lundekvam 290
Matt Le Tissier 270
Francis Benali 243
Matt Oakley 232
James Beattie 202
Ken Monkou 198
Steven Davis 193
Paul Jones 191
James Ward-Prowse 176

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Matt Le Tissier 102
James Beattie 68
Marian Pahars 42
Rickie Lambert 28
Egil Ostenstad 28
Jay Rodriguez 26
Graziano Pelle 23
Kevin Phillips 23
Iain Dowie 21
Sadio Mane 21

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Southampton 8-0 Sunderland 18th October 2014 2014-2015
Southampton 6-1 Aston Villa 16th May 2015 2014-2015
Southampton 5-1 Swindon Town 25th August 1993 1993-1994
Southampton 4-0 Middlesbrough 28th September 1996 1996-1997
Leicester City 0-4 Southampton 8th December 2001 2001-2002
Southampton 4-0 Newcastle United 29th March 2014 2013-2014
Southampton 4-0 Newcastle United 13th September 2014 2014-2015
Southampton 4-0 Arsenal 26th December 2015 2015-2016
Sunderland 0-4 Southampton 11th February 2017 2016-2017
Southampton 6-3 Manchester United 26th October 1996 1996-1997

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Everton 7-1 Southampton 16th November 1996 1996-1997
Liverpool FC 7-1 Southampton 16th January 1999 1998-1999
Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 Southampton 11th March 2000 1999-2000
Manchester United 6-1 Southampton 22nd December 2001 2001-2002
Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 7th May 2003 2002-2003
Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 15th September 2012 2012-2013
Manchester City 6-1 Southampton 4th November 2018 2018-2019
Charlton Athletic 5-0 Southampton 22nd August 1998 1998-1999
Newcastle United 5-0 Southampton 16th January 2000 1999-2000
Manchester United 5-0 Southampton 28th October 2000 2000-2001

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Ian Branfoot 2 10th January 1994
Alan Ball 2 2nd July 1995
Dave Merrington 1 14th June 1996
Graeme Souness 1 1st June 1997
Dave Jones 3 27th January 2000
Glenn Hoddle 2 28th March 2001
Stuart Gray 2 21st October 2001
Gordon Strachan 3 13th February 2004
Paul Sturrock 2 23rd August 2004
Steve Wigley 1 8th December 2004
Harry Redknapp 1 3rd December 2005
Nigel Adkins 1 18th January 2013
Mauricio Pochettino 2 26th May 2014
Ronald Koeman 2 13th June 2016
Claude Puel 1 14th June 2017
Mauricio Pellegrino 1 12th March 2018
Mark Hughes 2 3rd December 2018
Ralph Hasenhüttl 1  

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Southampton 0-1 Arsenal 29th December 2003 32,151 2003-2004
Southampton 0-1 Chelsea 22nd November 2003 32,149 2003-2004
Southampton 0-1 Liverpool FC 18th January 2003 32,104 2002-2003
Southampton 0-2 Manchester United 1st February 2003 32,085 2002-2003
Southampton 3-1 Liverpool FC 16th March 2013 32,070 2012-2013
Southampton 1-0 Manchester United 31st August 2003 32,066 2003-2004
Southampton 1-2 Manchester United 15th May 2005 32,066 2004-2005
Southampton 1-1 Newcastle United 14th December 2002 32,061 2002-2003
Southampton 2-0 Liverpool FC 14th March 2004 32,056 2003-2004
Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa 8th May 2004 32,054 2003-2004

 

Intro

Austrian Ralph Hasenhüttl recently became Southampton’s 18th permanent Premier League manager in 20 seasons of top-flight football since 1992. The Saints were an ever-present from 1992 to 2005 when three managers couldn’t save them from relegation. Administration and a drop into League One followed but Southampton returned in 2012. Their best-ever finish was 6th under Ronald Koeman in 2015-2016 although times have been much tougher since the Dutchman’s departure that summer.

 

1992-1993

Southampton’s first Premier League season started slowly, winning just two of their first 10 games as they struggled to adapt to life without Alan Shearer who had been sold in pre-season for a British transfer record fee to Blackburn Rovers. Form did improve in the second half of the year and a 4-3 win over Ipswich Town in mid-March saw the Saints hit ninth place. However, six defeats in their last eight games saw the club finish 18th and just one point above the relegation zone. Goalkeeper Tim Flowers was named Southampton Player of the Season for the second successive campaign.

 

1993-1994

For the second successive season, Southampton finished in 18th place and again, just one point clear of trouble. A point on the final day at Upton Park against West Ham United was enough to protect their top-flight status. Tim Flowers left the club in November 1993, becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in British football when he joined Blackburn Rovers for £2.4 million.

The goals of Matt Le Tissier ultimately kept Southampton afloat. Le Tissier scored 25 goals including hat-tricks against Liverpool FC and Norwich City. Unpopular boss Ian Branfoot was relieved of his duties in mid-January and was replaced by Alan Ball.

 

1994-1995

Southampton made a positive start to the 1994-1995 season, winning four of their first nine matches before a struggle in the winter months saw them slide to 20th place in the table. The goals of Matt Le Tissier once again kept Southampton away from danger and a decent run-in saw the Saints actually finish a creditable 10th, their best top-flight finish since 1990. However, manager Alan Ball resigned at the end of the season to take the post at Manchester City.

 

1995-1996

Long-serving coach Dave Merrington took charge as manager for the 1995-1996 season but it was another struggle against relegation. This time, survival was achieved only courtesy of goal difference on the final day of the season. One notable highlight was a 3-1 win over eventual champions Manchester United in April but Merrington was sacked at the end of the campaign.

 

1996-1997

Former Liverpool FC boss Graeme Souness returned to English management but couldn’t spark a huge revival in Southampton’s fortunes. For the third time in four seasons, the Saints’ survival in the top-flight was only secured on the final day, even though they lost at Villa Park. Yet again, a resounding win over Manchester United was the highlight with the Saints winning 6-3 in October against the Red Devils. Souness quit at the end of the season.

 

1997-1998

Former Stockport County manager Dave Jones was the next person to try the Southampton hotseat and he enjoyed a successful debut campaign. Although just two wins from the first 11 matches had Southampton down in 19th position, a strong winter saw the Saints move comfortably into mid-table which is where they remained for the rest of the campaign. They recorded a 3-2 win at Anfield and a third successive home victory over Manchester United. They finished in a fairly comfortable 12th place.

 

1998-1999

Southampton went backwards in 1998-1999 and a 5-0 defeat on the second weekend to debutants Charlton Athletic set the tone for a difficult season. Southampton won three of their first 20 games, collecting just 14 points and sat second-bottom going into 1999. They stayed unbeaten at home in the second half of the season and three victories in their last three matches over Leicester, Wimbledon and Everton secured Premier League safety at the expense of Charlton. Planning permission was also granted for the club to move into a new stadium on the banks of the River Itchen.

 

1999-2000

In April 2000, Matt Le Tissier became the first midfielder to score 100 Premier League goals when he struck from the penalty spot in a 2-1 defeat to Sunderland. Southampton finished in 15th place with 44 points and well-clear of any relegation danger. Dave Jones stepped down towards the end of January to concentrate on clearing his name in connection with child abuse charges. Former England and Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle replaced him as manager.

 

2000-2001

After 103 years, Southampton said goodbye to The Dell as they prepared to move into St Mary’s. They bid farewell in-style with a 3-2 victory on the final day against Arsenal with club legend Matt Le Tissier scoring an 89th-minute winner in what turned out to be his last-ever Premier League goal. Southampton finished in 10th position but lost manager Glenn Hoddle’s services in late March when he walked out on the club to take over at the club he represented as a player, Tottenham Hotspur.

 

2001-2002

Stuart Gray, who had finished the season as caretaker manager following Glenn Hoddle’s departure, led Southampton into the 2001-2002 season but was sacked in October after a terrible start to the season. Gordon Strachan took over and galvanised the club to an 11th place finish, recording their first-ever victory at St Mary’s in late November against Charlton Athletic. At the end of the season, Matt Le Tissier announced his retirement from professional football.

 

2002-2003

Southampton languished in the drop zone after eight matches but a run of just two losses from their next 15 encounters including an unbeaten home record until mid-January when Liverpool FC won 1-0 at St Mary’s saw them climb into the top half. Manchester United were the only other team to win on the south coast as Southampton finished in a best-ever Premier League finish of eighth. James Beattie was the highest English goalscorer and there was also a run to the FA Cup final which ended with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

 

2003-2004

Southampton started strongly and even enjoyed a 1-0 home victory over reigning champions Manchester United in August courtesy of a late Beattie goal. They sat in fourth place in the table on Christmas Day but finished ultimately only in 12th spot. Gordon Strachan resigned as manager in mid-February to take a break from football management. He was ultimately replaced by Paul Sturrock after supporters opposed owner Rupert Lowe’s initial plan to bring back Glenn Hoddle to the club.

 

2004-2005

Just two games into the season, Paul Sturrock left by mutual consent after rumours of player unrest. He was succeeded by his first-team coach Steve Wigley but results didn’t improve and from early November, it became clear that Southampton were to be embroiled in a four-way relegation dogfight with the newly-promoted trio, Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace.

In December, Wigley was sacked and Harry Redknapp was drafted in following his departure from arch-rivals Portsmouth. Form did marginally improve and there were notable wins over Liverpool FC and Middlesbrough but Southampton were still in the bottom three going into the final day of the season. A 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United condemned the Saints to relegation from the top-flight, ending their 13-season run in the Premier League.

 

2012-2013

After achieving back-to-back promotions, Southampton returned to the elite in 2012 after a seven-season absence. The Saints made a terrible start, losing five of their first six matches including a 6-1 loss at Arsenal but rallied from November onwards and always looked like they had enough to survive. It was a shock then to see Nigel Adkins parting company with the club in January, two days after coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Chelsea. He was replaced by Mauricio Pochettino who impressed many with his style of play. Southampton finished 14th, five points clear of any danger.

 

2013-2014

Mauricio Pochettino’s first full season in English management saw him guide Southampton to an excellent eighth position in the Premier League table, surpassing their best-ever points tally in the process. Pochettino’s determination to promote English youth saw Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez all win their maiden England senior caps although a terrible knee injury in early April at Manchester City ended Rodriguez’s chances of going to the World Cup. Pochettino became a man in high demand during the season and he would leave in the summer to take over as manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

 

2014-2015

Pre-season was a concern for Southampton fans. Pochettino had gone and was replaced by Ronald Koeman, whilst Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana all left for higher-profile clubs. However, any relegation fears were quickly dispelled as Koeman’s team gelled together and was a contender for the UEFA Champions League qualification places all the way until early March. They eventually finished seventh which was still a best-ever Premier League finish and also recorded their biggest-ever Premier League win; an 8-0 mauling of Sunderland in October.

 

2015-2016

Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin were the next key players to depart Southampton but yet again, Koeman’s side continued to defy the critics. The signing of Virgil van Dijk from Celtic was a smart piece of business. Southampton enjoyed a fantastic Boxing Day, defeating Arsenal 4-0 whilst Chelsea were also overcome 3-1 at Stamford Bridge and Tottenham Hotspur defeated 2-1 on the penultimate weekend. Despite falling to 14th position in early January, Southampton recovered brilliantly and secured sixth position on the final day of the season, earning another campaign of European football in the process.

 

2016-2017

After two full seasons at the helm, Ronald Koeman controversially left his position as Southampton manager to join Everton and he was replaced by Claude Puel. Under the Frenchman’s guidance, the Saints finished in eighth position and reached the League Cup final. However, home supporters were frustrated by a more sterile style of football deployed by Puel and he was dismissed at the end of the season by the board.

 

2017-2018

Southampton turned to Mauricio Pellegrino to fill the managerial position but the appointment was disastrous. The Saints recorded just seven league victories all season with the highlight being an impressive 4-1 win over Everton at the end of November. Virgil van Dijk was sold to Liverpool FC during the season for £75 million and Pellegrino was fired in March after a limp display and 3-0 defeat at St James’ Park. Former player Mark Hughes came in as manager and saved the club from relegation, helped by a Manolo Gabbiadini winner in the final week of the season at Swansea which kept Southampton safe at the expense of the Swans.

 

2018-2019

Having kept Southampton safe, Mark Hughes stayed on as manager but he managed just one victory away at Crystal Palace in September and he was dismissed in early December after a 2-2 draw with an out-of-form Manchester United. His successor was the former RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl, who has spearheaded the Saints to victories over Arsenal, Huddersfield Town, Leicester City and Everton which has given supporters hope that the club can avoid relegation once again this season.

Memorable Matches: Manchester United 3-3 Southampton (September 1999)

Goalscorers: Marian Pahars 17, Teddy Sheringham 34, Dwight Yorke 37, 64, Matt Le Tissier 51, 73

Teams:

Manchester United: Massimo Taibi, Henning Berg, Denis Irwin, Jaap Stam, Mikael Silvestre, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dwight Yorke

Southampton: Paul Jones, Francis Benali, Jason Dodd, Claus Lundekvam (Chris Marsden 69), Dean Richards, Trond Egil Soltvedt (Matt Le Tissier 46), Matt Oakley, Hassan Kachloul, Stuart Ripley, Mark Hughes, Marian Pahars (James Beattie 89)

Referee: Steve Dunn, Attendance: 55,249

Southampton fans must have been visiting Old Trafford with trepidation in September 1999. Their record at the Theatre of Dreams was dismal, having lost their last 10 league games. The home side were the reigning champions and were still unbeaten, despite being held to a surprising draw by Wimbledon a week earlier.

With extra demands and more fixtures in the UEFA Champions League for Manchester United, Southampton were looking to expose a potential weakness and they silenced the home support by taking the lead after 17 minutes. On his return to Old Trafford, Mark Hughes played through his strike partner, Marian Pahars. The Latvian showed a deft piece of individual brilliance to nutmeg Jaap Stam and then finished coolly beyond Massimo Taibi who was preferred to Mark Bosnich in-goal for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

For the Red Devils, it was a shock to the system but they found their stride just past the half-hour mark, especially David Beckham. His pinpoint cross to the near post on 34 minutes was guided into the net by another textbook finish from Teddy Sheringham, who had just managed to evade his marker, Dean Richards.

Three minutes after getting back on level terms, United were infront, although Paul Jones was very unfortunate to concede. Yet again, Beckham was at the heart of it. His great cross found Sheringham again, who was denied brilliantly by Jones’ athletic double-save. Sheringham didn’t show his disappointment though. He reacted quickly to cross the ball back into the box. Dwight Yorke was there to nod the ball into the net and complete the first half turnaround.

The reigning champions could have taken the game beyond Southampton early in the second half. Jason Dodd made two tremendous goal-line clearances in quick succession. Meanwhile, Matt Le Tissier had been kept on the bench by Dave Jones but he had been brought on at half-time for Trond Egil Soltvedt. Within six minutes of his arrival, he had Southampton back on level terms but through a huge slice of luck. His shot on-goal from 25 yards was on-target but was very weak and looked easy to save for Taibi. Somehow, the ball wriggled through his arms and squirmed underneath his body for one of the biggest goalkeeping gaffes we’ve seen in Premier League history. Oh dear!

Going forward, Ferguson’s side still continued to fly. Nicky Butt played through Yorke for his second of the afternoon on 64 minutes but defensively, they looked very charitable. With 17 minutes remaining, Silvestre was robbed of possession in a dangerous position by the alert Pahars. He showed his astute awareness to pick out Le Tissier who couldn’t miss. Southampton were level again and fully deserved the point they collected here.

Manchester United lost 5-0 in their next match to Chelsea and that would turn out to be Taibi’s final Premier League outing. Despite the problems with replacing Peter Schmeichel, Ferguson’s side cruised to their sixth title in eight seasons whilst Southampton finished 15th.

Iconic Moments: Le Tissier’s only penalty failure (March 1993)

There are few players who can boast as good a Premier League record from the penalty spot than Southampton’s lynchpin for many years, Matt Le Tissier.

In fact, he took 48 penalties in his whole career and scored 47 of them. A 98% penalty success ratio during his playing days means he is considered as one of the greatest masters from 12-yards.

However, he did have one failure from the spot and it came in the very first Premier League season. Playing for Southampton at home to Nottingham Forest, he had a first half penalty saved by Forest goalkeeper Mark Crossley, who once saved a penalty from Gary Lineker in an FA Cup final.

 

Le Tissier did score past Crossley later in the match with a long-range effort but the visitors left The Dell with all three points, winning 2-1. It is the only mark on almost near-perfection from Matt Le Tissier in his battles with the penalty spot.

Premier League Rewind: 6th-7th May 1994

Results: Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Ipswich Town, Chelsea 3-2 Sheffield United, Everton 3-2 Wimbledon, Newcastle United 2-0 Arsenal, Norwich City 1-1 Oldham Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Manchester City, Swindon Town 0-5 Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Queens Park Rangers, West Ham United 3-3 Southampton, Manchester United 0-0 Coventry City

With Manchester United having been crowned Premier League champions for the second successive season four days earlier, all the drama on the final weekend of the 1993-1994 season was at the bottom of the table. Swindon Town were already relegated but there were still two relegation spots to be filled.

With an inferior goal difference to their rivals, Oldham Athletic needed a minor miracle. They had run out of steam at the wrong point in the season. Incredibly, their final match of the season against Norwich City was their sixth game in just 14 days! The Latics could certainly complain about the fixture backlog and their FA Cup semi-final agony at the hands of Manchester United had affected them mentally too. They had to win by at least three clear goals and hope results went their way. Sean McCarthy did give them a 13th minute lead but there would be no great escape this time around. Rob Ullathorne’s equaliser 17 minutes from full-time ensured the points were shared in a 1-1 draw and confirmed Oldham’s drop to Division One.

Oldham were down but there was one spot up for grabs and it was between Everton, Ipswich Town, Southampton and Sheffield United. Everton’s season had been a nightmare. Having topped the table after three matches, they had seen Howard Kendall quit in December and highly-rated Mike Walker unable to stop the slide. Only a win against in-form Wimbledon would give them a chance of beating the drop. It looked hopeless after just 20 minutes. A Dean Holdsworth penalty and Gary Ablett’s unfortunate own goal had Wimbledon 2-0 ahead. With the Dons unbeaten in nine matches, Everton’s fate looked to be sealed. However, divine inspiration came in the form of Graham Stuart. His penalty in the 24th minute gave the home side some hope after Anders Limpar’s ‘dive’ won the spot-kick. Barry Horne scored a belter to level the scores and then, with nine minutes left, Stuart’s second of the afternoon somehow eluded the grasp of Hans Segers. Everton were infront and held on for a 3-2 victory. A pitch invasion at the full-time whistle confirmed they had survived but only just.

Everton’s comeback meant Ipswich Town were very vulnerable. Having been 12th in the table after beating Aston Villa on 12th Match, the Tractor Boys had collected just two points from their next nine matches. They had a testing trip to Blackburn Rovers who were already guaranteed the runners-up position. Blackburn had the better of the chances but couldn’t find a way through. The match ended goalless. However, that would have sent them down if scores remained the same in the two games based in London involving Southampton and Sheffield United.

For the second successive season, Matt Le Tissier produced some magic on the final day. His two goals helped Southampton to a pulsating 3-3 draw at Upton Park with West Ham United, despite Ken Monkou’s late own goal costing them three points. The Saints were safe. It looked like Sheffield United would also be celebrating safety. They led twice at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea and going into stoppage-time, a 2-2 scoreline was good enough for the Blades. Then, Mark Stein snatched a late winner for Chelsea and results elsewhere meant it was Dave Bassett’s club who were relegated in devastating circumstances. It had been an afternoon full of contrasting emotions.

Elsewhere, Leeds United’s 5-0 victory away at Swindon Town meant the Premier League debutants became the first and so far, only side to concede 100 goals in a top-flight season since 1992. Aston Villa’s 2-1 success at home to Liverpool FC ensured their pipped Midlands rivals Coventry City to a top 10 finish. The Sky Blues might have lost that battle with the Villans but still earned a creditable 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in the final match of an exciting weekend.

What else happened in May 1994?

  • In joyous scenes across the country, Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president.
  • UK politics is suspended after the sudden death of the Labour leader John Smith. He suffered a massive heart attack on 12th May and dies aged 55.
  • Three-time world Formula One champion Ayrton Senna is killed in an accident whilst leading the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. He was just 34-years-old.
  • The Channel Tunnel, which can get people between Britain and France in 35 minutes, is open to the public for the first time.
  • In late May, Scottish group Wet Wet Wet reach no.1 with Love Is All Around. It will spend 15 consecutive weeks on top of the UK music charts.
  • The film Four Weddings and a Funeral is released in the UK.
  • Malawi holds its first multiparty elections.

Shock Results: Southampton 3-1 Manchester United (April 1996)

Goalscorers: Ken Monkou 11, Neil Shipperley 23, Matt Le Tissier 43, Ryan Giggs 89

Teams:

Southampton: Dave Beasant, Francis Benali, Simon Charlton, Jason Dodd, Ken Monkou, Barry Venison, Alan Neilson, Jim Magilton, Neil Heaney, Matt Le Tissier, Neil Shipperley

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Steve Bruce, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt (Paul Scholes 46), Roy Keane, Lee Sharpe (David May 55), David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 15,262

Manchester United were undefeated in the Premier League since a New Years’ Day hiding from Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Unbeaten in 19 matches in all competitions since, Alex Ferguson’s side were through to the FA Cup final and had usurped Newcastle United as the league leaders in the title race. After a run of four successive victories by a one-goal margin, they were now expected to claim their third title in four seasons.

They travelled to the south coast to take on a Southampton side that were scrapping again to stay in the division. United recalled Roy Keane after suspension with Brian McClair dropping out of the side from the narrow Easter Monday victory over Coventry City. However, they never got started in the first 45 minutes, producing a subdued display which their opponents took full advantage of.

The first goal came after just 11 minutes. Matt Le Tissier curled a free-kick into the box and the big Dutchman; Ken Monkou got a free header. Peter Schmeichel parried his effort back into the path of Monkou, who reacted quickest to the rebound to fire the relegation strugglers ahead against the league leaders.

The Red Devils didn’t look like a side that were favourites to win the title. Le Tissier curved a shot against the post and they were soon 2-0 behind. Ryan Giggs lost possession to Jim Magilton in the 23rd minute. Magilton fed Alan Neilson on the right-hand side and his cross to the near post was tucked away by the club’s top goalscorer, Neil Shipperley. Southampton had a great platform to pull off one of the most surprising victories of the season.

Two minutes before half-time, it was virtually game over. Shipperley floated a deep cross to the back post. Schmeichel came to collect but dropped the ball into the path of Le Tissier, who simply wasn’t going to pass up the gift presented to him. It was Le Tissier’s first goal from open play in the Premier League during the 1995-1996 season and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Saints’ survival prospects. Southampton were 3-0 ahead going into the changing rooms. Then, Ferguson tried something unique.

Not only did he bring Paul Scholes on for Nicky Butt at the interval, the whole team came out in a completely different away kit, apparently because the players couldn’t see each other in their grey shirts. Ferguson said afterwards: “The players couldn’t pick each other out. They said it was difficult to see their teammates at distance when they lifted their heads.”

It didn’t really change the outcome of the match. Gary Neville set-up Giggs for a consolation two minutes from full-time but that was all the league leaders could muster from an off-colour day at The Dell. They would win their remaining three Premier League matches and the FA Cup final to achieve a second double in three years. Southampton achieved survival on the final day of the season.

Premier League Rewind: 7th-8th May 1993

Results: Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City 3-3 Leeds United, Ipswich Town 2-1 Nottingham Forest, Liverpool FC 6-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City 2-5 Everton, Middlesbrough 3-3 Norwich City, Oldham Athletic 4-3 Southampton, Sheffield United 4-2 Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Aston Villa, Wimbledon 1-2 Manchester United

The final weekend of the very first FA Premier League season would be a record-breaking one with the highest total of goals scored ever during a top-flight weekend since the formation of the division. Incredibly, 53 goals found the back of the net in the 11 matches that took place. It was clear that some defences were already on holiday on this evidence!

With Manchester United already crowned as the maiden Premier League champions, the main attention was focused on the bottom of the table. Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough were already relegated, so just one spot was up for grabs and it was a straight shootout between Crystal Palace and Oldham Athletic.

The odds were in Palace’s favour. They only needed a point from their final match at Highbury against an Arsenal side who might have had one eye on an FA Cup final appearance in a week’s time. However, it all went wrong for Steve Coppell’s side. Ian Wright opened the scoring against his former employers after just nine minutes. Further late strikes from Paul Dickov and Kevin Campbell consigned Palace to a 3-0 defeat. They now required help from Southampton.

The Saints were at Boundary Park to play Oldham. Oldham had looked dead and buried a week earlier but shock wins over Aston Villa and Liverpool FC had given them genuine hope of beating the drop. Another win here and they would be playing Premier League football in 1993-1994. It looked very good after 64 minutes. Goals from Neil Pointon, Ian Olney, Andy Ritchie and Gunnar Halle had Oldham 4-1 ahead. Matt Le Tissier was not going to make it easy though. He almost single-handily dragged Southampton back into the match with a hat-trick. Oldham manager Joe Royle was racing upstairs and downstairs every couple of minutes as the tension increased during the afternoon.

Oldham held on though for a priceless three points which ensured they stayed up on goal difference. Crystal Palace were relegated and Coppell resigned soon afterwards.

Another manager under pressure was Liverpool FC’s Graeme Souness. He was a mysterious absentee from the club’s final home match of an underwhelming season against Tottenham Hotspur. The official reason given by the club was he was on a ‘scouting mission.’ Ronnie Moran took control on the day and the players responded well, thumping Tottenham 6-2. There were two goals apiece for John Barnes and Ian Rush. Teddy Sheringham’s consolation meant he would win the Golden Boot in the first Premier League season. Tottenham would change managers in the close season, with playing legend Ossie Ardiles appointed that summer, whilst Liverpool did stick with Souness until January 1994.

Manchester United closed their season out 24 hours after the majority of the other teams had played. They beat Wimbledon 2-1 at Selhurst Park, with skipper Bryan Robson scoring their final goal of the league season. They would finish 10 points clear of Aston Villa, who lost 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers to ensure they lost their final three games of the season. That win for QPR ensured they would finish in fifth spot and were London’s top club. This was a marvellous achievement for Gerry Francis.

One manager bowing out completely was Brian Clough. His final game in management was at Portman Road and he exited with a defeat. Despite a penalty from his son, Nigel Clough, Nottingham Forest lost 2-1 to Ipswich Town to ensure they finished bottom of the table. Elsewhere, Peter Beagrie scored twice as Everton finished a lacklustre season on a real high, winning 5-2 away at Manchester City and Tim Sherwood’s header beat Sheffield Wednesday at Ewood Park. Blackburn Rovers finished fourth in their first season after promotion from the Second Division.

What else happened in May 1993?

  • Kenneth Clarke is appointed as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer after Norman Lamont’s sacking following Black Wednesday.
  • Ireland wins the Eurovision Song Contest with “In Your Eyes,” performed by Niamh Kavanagh.
  • Eritrea gains independence from Ethiopia and becomes a member of the United Nations.
  • Inflation in the UK reaches a 29-year low of 1.3%.
  • After 10 years, ITV drops the popular teatime gameshow ‘Blockbusters.’ It will be revived on four separate occasions by Sky One, BBC Two and Challenge before disappearing for good in 2012.
  • Matthew Kelly becomes the new host of the ITV programme, ‘Stars in Their Eyes.’ He will continue to front the show for the next 10 years.

Iconic Moments: Le Tissier has the final say at The Dell (May 2001)

In May 2001, Southampton were about to bid farewell to The Dell; the ground they had played their football at for over 100 years. Their new state-of-the-art stadium at St Mary’s was ready for use at the start of the 2001-2002 campaign.

Their final match at the historic, tight ground would be against Arsenal and fittingly, the final say had to go to the player Saints fans called ‘Le God.’

Over the years, Matt Le Tissier had scored a glut of sensational goals. A series of special free-kicks, a long-distance stunning away strike at Blackburn Rovers and a fabulous individual solo effort at home to Newcastle United in October 1993 were among some of the best. By the time the 2001 season ended, injuries meant his role was now restricted to limited substitute appearances. He came on in the 74th minute to a rapturous reception and he wasn’t going to leave it at that.

With the scoreline at 2-2 in the closing stages, James Beattie won the ball in the air and when Martin Keown failed to clear, the ball sat up perfectly for Le Tissier. He struck a beautiful left-foot shot on the half-volley and it flew past Alex Manninger.

The ground erupted in noise and ecstasy as he was mobbed by his teammates. Afterwards, he said: “It’s very special to score the last goal and I couldn’t have imagined a better ending. But I don’t see why I can’t score the first goal at the new stadium as well,”

Unfortunately, he would never score another goal in professional football and retired in 2002 but what a way to finish football at The Dell for Southampton’s greatest player.

 

Great Goals: Matt Le Tissier – SOUTHAMPTON vs. Newcastle United (October 1993)

Matt Le Tissier was a one-club man and a player who loved to score spectacular goals. Time and again, he would come up with mastery trickery that dazzled opponents and left supporters gasping with shock and delight.

In October 1993, manager Ian Branfoot disagreed. He was unhappy with Le Tissier’s approach, especially when it came to defensive duties and training regimes so he dropped him. This decision angered the Southampton fans who already were rebelling against Branfoot’s negative tactics.

For a televised match at home to Newcastle United, Branfoot recalled the Saints’ hero to the starting line-up and at 0-0 in the early moments of the second half, he scored one of the great individual Premier League goals. Receiving the ball from an Iain Dowie knockdown, Le Tissier took complete control. He flicked the ball over two advancing Newcastle defenders in Barry Venison and Kevin Scott. With both out of the game, this gave the attacking midfielder his moment. Although he scuffed the shot slightly, it easily beat Mike Hooper and Southampton led with a moment to savour from their iconic leader.

15 minutes later, Le Tissier scored another memorable goal which wasn’t quite on the levels of his first goal for skill but even he admits was a cleaner contact in terms of the finishing strike. He netted 25 goals in 1993-1994 as Southampton narrowly avoided relegation. There were many more memorable moments to come in seasons to follow from the ‘Super Saint.’

Seasonal Records: 1994-1995

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from season three of the Premier League – 1994-1995.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Blackburn Rovers 42 27 8 7 80 39 +41 89
2 Manchester United 42 26 10 6 77 28 +49 88
3 Nottingham Forest 42 22 11 9 72 43 +29 77
4 Liverpool FC 42 21 11 10 65 37 +28 74
5 Leeds United 42 20 13 9 59 38 +21 73
6 Newcastle United 42 20 12 10 67 47 +20 72
7 Tottenham Hotspur 42 16 14 12 66 58 +8 62
8 Queens Park Rangers 42 17 9 16 61 59 +2 60
9 Wimbledon 42 15 11 16 48 65 -17 56
10 Southampton 42 12 18 12 61 63 -2 54
11 Chelsea 42 13 15 14 50 55 -5 54
12 Arsenal 42 13 12 17 52 49 +3 51
13 Sheffield Wednesday 42 13 12 17 49 57 -8 51
14 West Ham United 42 13 11 18 44 48 -4 50
15 Everton 42 11 17 14 44 51 -7 50
16 Coventry City 42 12 14 16 44 62 -18 50
17 Manchester City 42 12 13 17 53 64 -11 49
18 Aston Villa 42 11 15 16 51 56 -5 48
19 Crystal Palace 42 11 12 19 34 49 -15 45
20 Norwich City 42 10 13 19 37 54 -17 43
21 Leicester City 42 6 11 25 45 80 -35 29
22 Ipswich Town 42 7 6 29 36 93 -57 27

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1,195
European qualifiers Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Champions League), Manchester United (UEFA Cup), Nottingham Forest (UEFA Cup), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Everton (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Blackburn Rovers)
Longest unbeaten run 13 games (Nottingham Forest)
Longest winless run 12 games (Everton & Southampton)
Longest losing run 8 games (Ipswich Town)
Highest attendance 43,868 (Manchester United vs. Sheffield Wednesday)
Lowest attendance 5,268 (Wimbledon vs. Manchester City)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)
PFA Young Player of the Year Robbie Fowler (Liverpool FC)
Football Writers’ Award Jurgen Klinsmann (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Team of the Year Tim Flowers, Graeme Le Saux, Rob Jones, Colin Hendry, Gary Pallister, Paul Ince, Tim Sherwood, Matt Le Tissier, Chris Sutton, Alan Shearer, Jurgen Klinsmann
Manager of the Year Kenny Dalglish (Blackburn Rovers)
LMA Manager of the Year Frank Clark (Nottingham Forest)
Goal of the Season Matt Le Tissier (Blackburn Rovers vs. SOUTHAMPTON)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers vs. Coventry City 4-0 27th August 1994
Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal 3-0 28th August 1994
Andrei Kanchelskis Manchester United vs. Manchester City 5-0 10th November 1994
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. Queens Park Rangers 4-0 26th November 1994
Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United 4-2 2nd December 1994
Tony Cottee West Ham United vs. Manchester City 3-0 17th December 1994
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United 4-2 2nd January 1995
Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers vs. Ipswich Town 4-1 28th January 1995
Tommy Johnson Aston Villa vs. Wimbledon 7-1 11th February 1995
Andy Cole (5 goals) Manchester United vs. Ipswich Town 9-0 4th March 1995
Peter Ndlovu Liverpool FC vs. Coventry City 2-3 14th March 1995
Tony Yeboah Leeds United vs. Ipswich Town 4-0 5th April 1995
Ian Wright Arsenal vs. Ipswich Town 4-1 15th April 1995

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers 34
2 Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC 25
3 Les Ferdinand Queens Park Rangers 24
4 Stan Collymore Nottingham Forest 22
5 Andy Cole Newcastle United & Manchester United 21
6= Jurgen Klinsmann Tottenham Hotspur 20
6= Matt Le Tissier Southampton 20
8 Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 18
8= Ian Wright Arsenal 18
10= Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers 15
10= Uwe Rosler Manchester City 15
10= Dean Saunders Aston Villa 15
13= Andrei Kanchelskis Manchester United 14
13= Paul Rideout Everton 14
15= Bryan Roy Nottingham Forest 13
15= Peter Beardsley Newcastle United 13
15= Tony Cottee West Ham United 13
15= Dion Dublin Coventry City 13
19= Eric Cantona Manchester United 12
19= Ian Rush Liverpool FC 12
19= Tony Yeboah Leeds United 12
19= Paul Walsh Manchester City 12
23= John Spencer Chelsea 11
23= Mark Bright Sheffield Wednesday 11
23= Guy Whittingham Aston Villa & Sheffield Wednesday 11

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town 4th March 1995
Aston Villa 7-1 Wimbledon 11th February 1995
Sheffield Wednesday 1-7 Nottingham Forest 1st April 1995
Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool FC 20th August 1994
Manchester United 5-0 Manchester City 10th November 1994
Newcastle United 5-1 Southampton 27th August 1994
Arsenal 5-1 Norwich City 1st April 1995
Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Coventry City 28th December 1994
Blackburn Rovers 4-0 Coventry City 27th August 1994
Leicester City 0-4 Manchester United 15th April 1995

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town 4th March 1995
8 Sheffield Wednesday 1-7 Nottingham Forest 1st April 1995
8 Aston Villa 7-1 Wimbledon 11th February 1995
8 Aston Villa 4-4 Leicester City 22nd February 1995
7 Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool FC 20th August 1994
7 Manchester City 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd October 1994
7 Sheffield Wednesday 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 20th August 1994
7 Wimbledon 4-3 Aston Villa 9th November 1994
7 Leicester City 3-4 Wimbledon 1st April 1995
7 Southampton 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur 2nd April 1995
7 Tottenham Hotspur 3-4 Aston Villa 19th November 1994
7 Leicester City 4-3 Southampton 15th October 1994
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Southampton 27th August 1994
6 Arsenal 5-1 Norwich City 1st April 1995
6 Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Coventry City 28th December 1994
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 West Ham United 2nd January 1995
6 Blackburn Rovers 2-4 Manchester United 23rd October 1994
6 Leicester City 2-4 Nottingham Forest 11th March 1995
6 Newcastle United 4-2 Chelsea 10th September 1994
6 Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 Newcastle United 3rd December 1994

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Emile Heskey Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Leicester City 17 years, 1 month, 25 days 8th March 1995
Richard Wright Ipswich Town 2-0 Coventry City 17 years, 6 months, 1 day 6th May 1995
Matt Oakley Everton 0-0 Southampton 17 years, 8 months, 19 days 6th May 1995
Kevin Ellis Arsenal 4-1 Ipswich Town 17 years, 11 months, 4 days 15th April 1995
Phil Neville Manchester City 0-3 Manchester United 18 years, 21 days 11th February 1995
Stephen Hughes Arsenal 0-0 Aston Villa 18 years, 3 months, 8 days 26th December 1994
Brian Launders Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 18 years, 3 months, 16 days 24th September 1994
Keith O’Neill Southampton 1-1 Norwich City 18 years, 8 months, 17 days 2nd November 1994
Marcus Hall Coventry City 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur 18 years, 9 months, 7 days 31st December 1994
Jon Wright Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich City 18 years, 10 months, 21 days 15th October 1994

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
John Burridge Manchester City 2-3 Queens Park Rangers 43 years, 5 months, 11 days 14th May 1995
Ray Wilkins Chelsea 1-0 Queens Park Rangers 38 years, 7 months, 15 days 29th April 1995
Gordon Strachan Coventry City 0-0 Everton 38 years, 3 months, 5 days 14th May 1995
John Wark Ipswich Town 2-0 Coventry City 37 years, 9 months, 2 days 6th May 1995
Steve Ogrizovic Nottingham Forest 2-0 Coventry City 37 years, 7 months, 5 days 17th April 1995
Graham Rix Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal 37 years, 6 months, 21 days 14th May 1995
Glenn Hoddle Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal 37 years, 6 months, 17 days 14th May 1995
Bruce Grobbelaar Liverpool FC 3-1 Southampton 37 years, 5 months, 20 days 5th April 1995
Nigel Spink Norwich City 1-1 Aston Villa 36 years, 9 months, 6 days 14th May 1995
Neville Southall Coventry City 0-0 Everton 36 years, 7 months, 28 days 14th May 1995

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 21
2= Tim Flowers Blackburn Rovers 17
2= David James Liverpool FC 17
2= John Lukic Leeds United 17
5= Pavel Srnicek Newcastle United 14
5= Neville Southall Everton 14
5= Nigel Martyn Crystal Palace 14
8= Mark Crossley Nottingham Forest 13
8= Ludek Miklosko West Ham United 13
10= Ian Walker Tottenham Hotspur 11