Tag Archives: Southampton

Great Goals: Cuco Martina – SOUTHAMPTON vs. Arsenal (December 2015)

Cuco Martina would only score one goal in his Premier League career for Southampton. However, he will never score a better goal than the one he managed on Boxing Day 2015 against Arsenal. The full-back connected with a fierce curling shot that with a searing swerve, completely defeated Petr Cech.

The man from Curacao made the most of a timid headed clearance from Per Mertesacker. It was one of those strikes that was certain to hit the back of the net from the moment it left Martina’s boot.

It started a Boxing Day horror show for Arsenal, who went on to lose this fixture 4-0. Martina now plays for Everton in the top-flight, having joined the club from St Mary’s in the summer of 2017.

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Memorable Matches: Southampton 3-3 Blackburn Rovers (April 1999)

Goalscorers: Ashley Ward 14, Chris Marsden 22, Darren Peacock 25, Jason Wilcox 47, Mark Hughes 61, Marian Pahars 85

Teams:

Southampton: Neil Moss, Jason Dodd, Scott Hiley (Marian Pahars 78), Patrick Colleter (David Hughes 46), Francis Benali, Claus Lundekvam, Chris Marsden, Hassan Kachloul, Matt Le Tissier, Egil Ostenstad (James Beattie 46), Mark Hughes

Blackburn Rovers: John Filan, Callum Davidson, Stephane Henchoz (Marlon Broomes 46), Darren Peacock, Lee Carsley, Jason McAteer, Jason Wilcox, Damien Johnson (Christian Dailly 78), Keith Gillespie, Ashley Ward, Kevin Gallacher (Kevin Davies 69)

Referee: Graham Barber, Attendance: 15,209

As the 1998-1999 season entered its final month of action, both Southampton and Blackburn Rovers were firmly in the relegation scrap. The Saints had been in the drop zone all season, hindered by a dreadful start which saw them collect just two points from their opening nine matches.

Having finished sixth the previous season, Blackburn had been at the wrong end all campaign too. Roy Hodgson had been sacked in November after a defeat in the reverse fixture to the Saints and Brian Kidd had spent plenty of money in a desperate effort for the club to avoid relegation, just four seasons after winning the Premier League. They were ahead in the table and come the full-time whistle, would remain in that position but be more disappointed by the final outcome.

Kidd’s side led after 14 minutes. The two forwards, Kevin Gallacher and Ashley Ward linked up brilliantly and although he was forced wide by a recovering Francis Benali, Ward guided a soft-looking shot across Neil Moss’ bows and into the back of the net. It was his 100th goal in club football. Eight minutes later, Southampton were back on level terms. Captain Jason Dodd delivered a teasing cross into the penalty area and Chris Marsden met it emphatically with a thumping header that left John Filan with little hope of saving it. Marsden had just scored his first goal for Southampton.

Their parity didn’t last long though. Three minutes after drawing level, Dave Jones’ side conceded again from a set-piece. Darren Peacock escaped the attentions of Claus Lundekvam and his shot evaded the grasp of Moss, who probably should have saved the goal-bound strike. It was such a cheap goal to concede and the kind of goal that teams often concede when they are scrapping to survive in the Premier League. Defeat here would be almost terminal for Southampton and that looked more likely less than two minutes into the second half. Jason McAteer found an unmarked Jason Wilcox and the captain produced a fine header to give the visitors some precious daylight. Victory was theirs for the taking.

Southampton gave themselves some hope just past the hour. Veteran Mark Hughes scored his first goal in Southampton colours in his 32nd appearance for the club, sliding in from close-range to divert in a cross by James Beattie. That set Blackburn nerves rocking and with five minutes left, they lost their lead. A downward header from the Latvian Marian Pahars somehow defeated Filan after more great work from Beattie. It meant we had the first-ever Latvian goalscorer in English football.

Having been 3-1 down, this was an important point for Southampton and they would win their final three matches to survive. Blackburn only collected three points from their last five outings and they would end the season in the bottom three. From champions to relegation in four short seasons and it could have been so different for Kidd if his side hadn’t thrown away this lead on the south coast.

Great Goals: Georgi Kinkladze – MANCHESTER CITY vs. Southampton (March 1996)

As Manchester City struggled massively in the 1995-1996 Premier League season, the performances of their Georgian wizard Georgi Kinkladze were being noted by many observers. He saved his best moment for a strike of immense individual quality and composure against relegation rivals Southampton in March 1996.

Starting on the right-hand side of the pitch, Kinkladze spotted some space and decided to run infield, beating Southampton defender Simon Charlton. Despite Charlton’s best efforts to foul him, Kinkladze stayed on his feet and kept running. He evaded a second challenge from Ken Monkou and another sliding challenge from another opponent before waiting for goalkeeper Dave Beasant to commit. As he did, Kinkladze simply dinked the ball over Beasant and into the net.

Manchester City had a cult hero. They might have won this battle 2-1 but ultimately, despite Kinkladze’s best efforts, they would be relegated on the last day and Southampton stayed up.

Premier League Files: Jose Fonte

Premier League Career: Southampton (2012-2017), West Ham United (2017)

Jose Fonte’s 11-year stay in English football has recently come to an end after the 34-year-old agreed to leave West Ham United for a stint in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Yifang. Fonte first played on these shores outside of the top-flight for Crystal Palace in 2007 and had a successful time at Southampton, playing a crucial part in their return to the Premier League.

Fonte has also experienced the ultimate highs of international football, helping Portugal to a shock victory at the 2016 European Championships. The Portuguese didn’t concede a single goal as soon as Fonte came into the starting XI following the group stages of the showpiece tournament in France.

In his youth days, Fonte spent the bulk of his education at Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon. However, he only managed to reach their ‘B’ team as a senior player, so moved down the levels in his home country by joining Felgueiras in the second division.

After a brief spell with Vitoria Setubal, Benfica snapped Fonte up in the 2006 January transfer window but never played him. Instead, they shipped him out on-loan to Portuguese rivals Pacos Ferreira and Estrela Amadora before joining Crystal Palace in 2007.

His move to the Londoners was initially another loan spell but the Eagles were quick to make this a permanent deal and Fonte even filled in as a makeshift forward when required at Selhurst Park. In total, he made 82 Football League appearances for them, scoring six times before leaving in January 2010 for Southampton.

At this stage, the Saints had been in decline and were playing in League One. He made his debut in a 1-1 draw with Millwall but would have to wait for his first goal until August 2010 when he struck in a commanding 4-0 success over Bristol Rovers. Six further goals followed and Fonte was inspirational towards Southampton’s promotion to the Championship. Rightly, he was voted into the League One Team of the Year and achieved 64% of the vote to be crowned as the club’s Player of the Year too.

Fonte’s momentum continued in 2011-2012, missing just four league matches as Southampton achieved back-to-back promotions. All of a sudden, they were back in the top-flight after an eight-year absence. On the day when their promotion was confirmed, Fonte was among the goalscorers in the 4-0 win over Coventry City as St. Mary’s was engulfed in a pitch invasion full of celebrating supporters.

He made his Premier League debut on the opening weekend of the 2012-2013 campaign as Southampton were narrowly beaten 3-2 by champions Manchester City. His only two goals of the campaign were enough to earn them their first Premier League draw since May 2005 – achieved in a 2-2 result with Fulham. The second goal came in the 90th minute. Fonte also skippered the side occasionally for Nigel Adkins but a knee injury meant he lost his automatic place initially in the side when Mauricio Pochettino arrived.

He regained his regular starting berth in 2013-2014, scoring the club’s first home goal of the season to rescue a draw with Sunderland. In January 2014, he was attacked by his teammate Dani Osvaldo during a fight at the club’s Stapelwood training ground. Osvaldo was suspended by the club and loaned out to Juventus following the incident.

After interest from Aston Villa in the close-season, Fonte signed a three-year contract extension in August 2014 and was named as the new captain of the club by Pochettino’s successor, Ronald Koeman. On signing the new deal, he said: “What made us sign was first that we signed a very good manager and second that the fans have been very good with me. They love me and I have a very good relationship with them.”

He made his 250th appearance for the club in a 3-1 home win over Burnley in October 2016 but wouldn’t make many more starts. His swansong for the club came on New Years’ Day 2017 and with the ominous threat of departing on a free transfer in the summer; Southampton sold him to West Ham United for approximately £8 million.

His spell with the Irons was less successful, conceding a penalty on his home debut against Manchester City. He also received criticism from West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, who told The Guardian: “The manager (Slaven Bilic) said he wanted Fonte from Southampton and Snodgrass from Hull. My kids begged me not to sign them.”

A foot injury sustained in late October against Crystal Palace put him on the sidelines for three months and in February 2018, David Moyes confirmed an agreement had been reached for Fonte to leave after just 24 appearances for the club to try and salvage his dream of representing Portugal at this summer’s World Cup finals.

Premier League Rewind: 5th-6th February 2000

Results: Aston Villa 4-0 Watford, Bradford City 2-1 Arsenal, Derby County 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester City 2-1 Middlesbrough, Liverpool FC 3-1 Leeds United, Manchester United 3-2 Coventry City, Southampton 2-1 West Ham United, Sunderland 2-2 Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Chelsea, Wimbledon 0-3 Everton

The 1999-2000 Premier League season turned into a processional victory for Manchester United. In the first 25 years of Premier League football, no side has ever won the league title by a greater margin. Their final tally was 18 points above that achieved by second-placed Arsenal.

However at the start of February 2000, their advantage at the top of the table was only three points. David O’Leary’s Leeds United were having an excellent season and keeping the men from Old Trafford honest in their quest to win a sixth Premier League title. However, this particular weekend saw the first signs that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were about to disappear from the chasing pack.

Leeds lost their third match in four games, going down 3-1 to Liverpool FC at Anfield. Liverpool tried their luck with long-range shots and it paid off. Both Danny Murphy and Patrik Berger scored spectacular efforts which left Nigel Martyn without any chance of saving. The win ensured another league double for Liverpool over their opponents – their third in four years over the Yorkshire side. It also meant they closed the gap on O’Leary’s side to three points.

Whilst Leeds always had a tricky fixture, everyone expected Arsenal to overwhelm struggling Bradford City at Valley Parade. Since October, Bradford had only beaten bottom-placed Watford and Newcastle, so weren’t given too much hope of defeating Arsene Wenger’s side. However, Bradford had other ideas. Experience counted in their forward ranks, as Dean Windass and Dean Saunders both got on the scoresheet to help Bradford to a famous 2-1 victory. After the match, Wenger conceded the title challenge from Arsenal was over for another season, whilst Paul Jewell revelled in the victory, admitting: “Our performance was outstanding, as was the players’ work-rate.”

So, Manchester United could extend their lead at the top of the table to six points and they did so, although in slightly unconvincing fashion. They beat a much-improved Coventry City side 3-2 at Old Trafford. Two goals from Andy Cole proved to be the decisive contribution from United, who had now taken seven points from three games since their return from a disastrous FIFA World Club Championship competition in Brazil a month earlier.

Chelsea climbed into fifth place with their traditional victory over Tottenham Hotspur. The only goal at White Hart Lane came from the unfamiliar source of Bernard Lambourde. Gianluca Vialli’s side were now unbeaten in six matches and had beaten Spurs twice during that period. They swapped places with Sunderland who drew 2-2 in the Tyne & Wear Derby with Newcastle United. The Black Cats recovered from two-goals down to salvage a point, thanks to another double from the Premier League’s top goalscorer, Kevin Phillips.

Down at The Dell, the Southampton supporters greeted Glenn Hoddle as their new manager. The ex-England boss had succeeded Dave Jones, who was relieved of his duties to clear his name against child abuse allegations on Merseyside. Hoddle started with a victory too, as they defeated West Ham United 2-1. Gary Charles’ own goal four minutes from time settled the contest.

Elsewhere, relegation candidates Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Pride Park, whilst a 4-0 loss to Aston Villa left Watford 10 points adrift of safety. It was an unhappy return to Villa Park for Graham Taylor. He left that afternoon with any hopes of Premier League survival looking slim to nil.

What else happened in February 2000?

  • Tarja Halonen is elected the first Finnish female president.
  • “The Wizard of the Dribble” Sir Stanley Matthews dies aged 85 after falling ill while on holiday in Tenerife.
  • The chief of British Nuclear Fuels resigns over a safety scandal at Sellafield.
  • Greg Dyke takes over as Director General of the BBC.
  • Italian motorcycle manufacturing company Aprilia wins a lawsuit filed against The Spice Girls over a sponsorship deal that fell apart when Geri Halliwell left the group.

The Managers: Mauricio Pochettino

Premier League Clubs Managed: Southampton (2013-2014), Tottenham Hotspur (2014-PRESENT)

Mauricio Pochettino is one of the brightest talents in management. His Tottenham Hotspur sides have been a joy to watch over the past two and a half years. He has transformed Tottenham from a team that used to be frustratingly inconsistent into regular title challengers.

So far, Pochettino hasn’t quite managed to win any silverware as a manager but his time is coming and so is that of a rising Tottenham side that even in 2017-2018, seem to have been the most consistent side beyond the dominance at Manchester City.

To think that this was a man who when he was controversially appointed as Southampton manager in January 2013 was best-known for ‘fouling’ Michael Owen in Sapporo during the 2002 World Cup finals.

Tough and uncompromising

Football was engrossed into Pochettino’s life at a very early age. He watched on closely at the 1978 World Cup, as host nation Argentina won the trophy for the first time. He was just six years old when the likes of Ardiles, Kempes and Villa proved too good for the rest of the world.

Just over a decade later, he was playing professional football in his home country, winning the national championship in 1991 with Newell’s Old Boys. Even at this age, he was learning methods and tactics from his manager at the time, Marcelo Bielsa, who would go on to manage both Argentina and Chile at World Cup final competitions.

Aged 22, Pochettino made the move into mainland Europe, joining Espanyol in 1994. The Catalans had just been promoted back to La Liga and moulded Pochettino into a tough but uncompromising defender. His first spell with the club lasted nearly seven years, winning the Copa del Rey in the year 2000.

He joined French heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain in January 2001, spending two years with the Parisians. After one further campaign in France with Bordeaux, he returned to Espanyol to close down his playing career in 2006, winning a second Copa del Rey in the process.

Did he trip Owen?

Mauricio won 20 caps for Argentina between 1999 and 2002. He started every game at the 2002 World Cup, where Argentina came into the tournament in Asia as co-favourites with many of the pundits and bookmakers.

They faced old foes in England in their second match. A minute before half-time, Italian referee Pierluigi Collina penalised Pochettino for fouling Michael Owen in the penalty area. David Beckham duly converted the spot-kick to set England up for a 1-0 victory and their first in the World Cup against Argentina since 1966.

To this day, Pochettino is adamant that contact wasn’t made between him and Owen and when you look at replays, the forward certainly threw himself to the ground to win the penalty. If you were an Englishman though, you probably didn’t care about this element.

Argentina crashed out in the group stages after drawing their final match with Sweden and Pochettino would never play for the international side again.

His coaching career began with the club where he wound down his playing time, Espanyol. He took over in January 2009 with the club in the bottom three and saw him managing nine players who were his teammates just three years earlier. Immediately, Pochettino began to influence his high-pressing system, which has become a trait throughout his management career. He guided Espanyol to a mid-table finish in 2008-2009 and a first derby victory over Barcelona at the Nou Camp in 27 years, who were managed by Guardiola and on their way to a league and European treble.

He remained manager of the club until November 2012, leaving after a poor start to the 2012-2013 season that left Espanyol bottom of La Liga with just nine points from 13 games. He won 53 of his 161 matches in-charge of them and financial restrictions also played a part in his departure.

His next job would see him head for the Premier League in unexpected fashion.

Building on solid foundations

In January 2013, newly-promoted Southampton had just produced an excellent comeback at Stamford Bridge to hold Chelsea to a 2-2 draw. Yet, they sacked manager Nigel Adkins just 48 hours later. It seemed like a harsh decision, especially when Pochettino was announced as his immediate replacement.

He didn’t speak any English – at least in media conferences and despite receiving high praise for his work with Espanyol, there was a lot of caution at this appointment that had been made by the Southampton hierarchy. They needn’t have worried.

A goalless draw with Everton was followed by a narrow loss at Old Trafford, then a wonderful 3-1 victory at home to champions Manchester City. Liverpool FC and Chelsea were also vanquished on the south coast by the end of the season. Southampton survived pretty comfortably.

Pochettino was able to get the maximum out of all his players and improved many too. The likes of Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert especially flourished underneath his coaching methods. His high-pressing, attacking brand of football worked at St Mary’s as Southampton improved to an outstanding eighth-place finish in the 2013-2014 season, recording their highest points tally in the Premier League too.

A new challenge awaited Mauricio and that was to reawaken the sleeping giant that was Tottenham Hotspur.

Taking Tottenham a major step forward

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was impressed with Pochettino’s work at Southampton and identified him as the long-term manager for his club after failing to be convinced by both Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood.

Three weeks after the 2013-2014 season finished, he was appointed Tottenham manager on a five-year contract, becoming the second Argentine to manage the club after Ossie Ardiles. It would take time for Mauricio to stamp his authority on the place. The squad was heavily unbalanced with a lot of deadwood that needed to be removed from the books. The likes of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Etienne Capoue were quickly made surplus to requirements by the new manager.

A run to the League Cup final was the main highlight of the 2014-2015 campaign which ended in defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Tottenham finished fifth in the Premier League, beating Chelsea 5-3 along the way whilst the discovery of Harry Kane was one of the best stories of the entire season.

Tottenham went a major step forward and Pochettino’s desire to use the nucleus of talent on young English talent was noted. Kane, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Dele Alli were all impressing greatly. Most of the players bought with the Gareth Bale money had now been moved on, with only Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela remaining around the first-team setup.

The 2015-2016 season was Tottenham’s first significant tilt at a title challenge. Spurs were the closest challengers to Leicester City in a gripping contest between two surprise packages. Kane won the Golden Boot and Alli the Goal of the Season for a spectacular individual effort against Crystal Palace. Ultimately, defeats at home to Newcastle and away at West Ham meant Tottenham were always playing catch-up.

It all imploded at Stamford Bridge in May 2016. Needing to win to keep Leicester waiting a little bit longer, Tottenham charged into a 2-0 lead against the outgoing champions but lost their composure and temperament. Nine players were booked, Mousa Dembele was charged with violent conduct and the manager even ran onto the pitch to stop a confrontation between Rose and Willian. Chelsea flickered into life in the second half and earned a 2-2 draw that handed the title to Leicester and Claudio Ranieri.

Spurs collapsed mentally after this and lost their final two games to ensure Arsenal finished above them in the Premier League for the 21st consecutive season. However, massive strides had been made by both club and manager.

The next challenge

Tottenham learned from their 2015-2016 experience and pushed a more motivated Chelsea close in the 2016-2017 title battle. Yet again, Kane clinched the Golden Boot and they went through their final season at White Hart Lane before redevelopment undefeated. Only Liverpool FC and Leicester City managed to leave with points for their efforts. Yet again, their challenge ended in a London Derby, this time to West Ham in May but Tottenham rallied to win their final three games, scoring 15 goals in the process.

They finished second and only seven points shy of the champions from across the capital. Only a disappointing European campaign took the gloss off what was another incredible Tottenham season.

Tottenham are playing at Wembley Stadium in 2017-2018 and despite dropping points at home to the likes of Burnley, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City, they’ve found their groove of late, defeating Manchester United and Arsenal in recent matches. They are a stronger proposition in the UEFA Champions League too and Kane is arguably now the most deadly finisher in world football.

Mauricio Pochettino has come a long way since his first match as a manager with Espanyol. He has so many admirers within the game and with a bit more luck and experience, he will win silverware. It is a more a question of when it will happen, rather than if.

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.

 

Premier League Rewind: 25th-27th October 2014

Results: West Ham United 2-1 Manchester City, Liverpool FC 0-0 Hull City, Southampton 1-0 Stoke City, Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Crystal Palace, Swansea City 2-0 Leicester City, Burnley 1-3 Everton, Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Newcastle United, Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Aston Villa

Nine games into the 2014-2015 season and Chelsea were in pole position to regain the Premier League title from Manchester City. The Blues were still undefeated in the campaign and looking tough to catch for the chasing pack.

On the 25th-27th October weekend, Jose Mourinho took his team to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. It was a first meeting between Mourinho and Louis van Gaal since the 2010 UEFA Champions League final. There was plenty of mutual respect between the managers in the build-up to this clash but it looked like Mourinho would have the final say. Didier Drogba headed the visitors infront and it looked like the league leaders would hold onto a 1-0 lead at full-time. However, with moments remaining, Manchester United won a free-kick which led to the late dismissal of Branislav Ivanovic. From the resultant set-piece, Robin van Persie thrashed home an equaliser to ensure Chelsea dropped points for only the second time this season.

Their lead over the Red Devils was still a healthy 10 points. Worse still for Van Gaal, his team had won just three from nine matches so far and were languishing in eighth spot in the table. Chelsea’s nearest pursuers were Southampton. They regained second position after Sadio Mane’s goal was enough to beat Stoke City 1-0.

They replaced Manchester City in the top two after the reigning champions fell to a 2-1 defeat away at West Ham United. It was their second league loss of the season. The decisive goal ultimately came from Diafra Sakho, who scored in his sixth successive Premier League match for the club. Despite a wonderful strike from David Silva, City left Upton Park empty-handed and West Ham climbed into the top four much to the delight of Russell Brand. The Hammers’ fan interrupted a post-match interview to congratulate manager Sam Allardyce.

After their 8-0 mauling a week earlier to Southampton, Sunderland’s woes continued. At home to Arsenal, Vito Mannone made two terrible mistakes, allowing Alexis Sanchez to score twice and allow the visitors to leave with all three points in a 2-0 victory. In fact, just six points covered West Ham in fourth position to Aston Villa in 15th. Villa’s fifth successive defeat came on Monday Night Football, losing 2-0 to Queens Park Rangers. Charlie Austin scored a double which was enough to lift QPR off the foot of the Premier League table. Aston Villa had now failed to score in over 500 minutes of Premier League football. Another team struggling were Leicester City. They were now without a win in four games after losing 2-0 to Swansea City.

QPR were replaced at the bottom of the table by Burnley, who lost 3-1 at home to Everton. Veteran forward Samuel Eto’o scored twice for Everton who moved into the top half with back-to-back victories. Sunderland dropped into the bottom three at the expense of their Tyne & Wear rivals, Newcastle United. Having not won any of their first seven games, the Magpies were about to embark on a five-match winning sequence. The second of these came at White Hart Lane, defeating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1.

What else happened in October 2014?

  • UKIP receives its first MP when Douglas Carswell, who defected to the party from the Conservatives, wins the by-election in Clacton.
  • The SNP confirms Nicola Sturgeon will succeed Alex Salmond as leader of the party after she was the only candidate in a leadership ballot.
  • Johann Lamont resigns as leader of the Scottish Labour Party with immediate effect.
  • Nancy Birtwhistle wins the fifth series of “The Great British Bake Off.”
  • Racing driver Jules Bianchi is left with life-threatening injuries after spinning off and hitting a recovery truck during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. He will succumb to those injuries in July 2015.
  • EastEnders confirms omnibus editions of the soap from April 2015 will be stopped because of declining viewing figures.
  • IF Elfsborg manager and former Sheffield Wednesday player Klas Ingesson dies at the age of just 46 from the effects of multiple myeloma.

Memorable Matches: Southampton 4-2 Fulham (October 2002)

Goalscorers: Lee Clark 15, Steed Malbranque 25, James Beattie 27 PEN, 42, 52, Brett Ormerod 72

Teams:

Southampton: Antti Niemi, Wayne Bridge, Jason Dodd, Claus Lundekvam, Michael Svensson, Chris Marsden, Matt Oakley, Fabrice Fernandes, Anders Svensson, James Beattie, Brett Ormerod (Agustin Delgado 79)

Fulham: Edwin van der Sar, Rufus Brevett, Steve Finnan, Alain Goma, Zat Knight (Abdeslam Ouaddou 59), Martin Djetou (Barry Hayles 63), Sylvain Legwinski, Lee Clark, Luis Boa Morte, Steed Malbranque, Steve Marlet

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 26,188

25 minutes into this clash and it looked like Southampton’s unbeaten start to their home season was set to end. Trailing 2-0 to in-form Fulham, they needed a hero on the south coast to rally themselves back into this match. Luckily, they had one in James Beattie who scored a brilliant hat-trick to help the Saints turn the game completely on its head.

Southampton went into this match on the fringes of the top 10 and had just recorded their first away win of the campaign at Aston Villa six days earlier, with Beattie the only goalscorer from the penalty spot. Fulham were flying in the top six and had already held Manchester United and Chelsea in the 2002-2003 season. On a very gusty afternoon at St. Mary’s, this looked like it was going to be an evenly-fought contest.

It was the visitors who made the better start and they took the lead slightly fortuitously after 15 minutes. Lee Clark tried his luck from distance and his shot took a deflection off Southampton defender Michael Svensson, leaving Antti Niemi completely helpless. 10 minutes later, it was 2-0. Defenders just stood and watched as Steed Malbranque made one of his trademark late runs into the penalty area. The Frenchman fired home past Niemi and it gave the home side a mountain to climb. However, they were level just before half-time.

Two minutes after the Cottagers had established the two-goal lead, the advantage had been halved. Brett Ormerod won a penalty off the hand of Alain Goma. Confident after slotting away his penalty the previous Monday at Villa Park, Beattie sent Edwin van der Sar the wrong way to get Southampton on the scoreboard. Three minutes before half-time, Fabrice Fernandes’ delightful cross was met by the head of Beattie, who guided his header beyond the Dutch goalkeeper. The marking from Fulham was very suspect to say the least but Beattie and Southampton weren’t going to care about that.

Into the second half and there only looked like being one winner. Southampton were dealing with the high winds far better than the opponents and it showed. Six minutes into the second half, Beattie completed his hat-trick; the first of his Premier League career. Anders Svensson’s free-kick was inch-perfect and the striker rose above his markers to complete his personal milestone. The scoring was completed on 72 minutes by Ormerod, converting from close-range after industrious work from Chris Marsden.

Southampton’s fourth successive win in all competitions put them in the top half and they would stay there too, finishing eighth. Fulham faded to 14th and their manager Jean Tigana lost his job before the season ended after contract talks broke down. This day though belonged to James Beattie – the hero the Saints needed as he began to charge his way to his only 20-goal season of his career.

Memorable Matches: Southampton 6-3 Manchester United (October 1996)

Goalscorers: Eyal Berkovic 6, 83, Matt Le Tissier 35, David Beckham 41, Egil Ostenstad 45, 85, David May 56, Paul Scholes 89, Phil Neville 90 OG

Teams:

Southampton: Dave Beasant, Jason Dodd, Richard Dryden, Claus Lundekvam, Simon Charlton (Graham Potter 70), Alan Neilson (Jim Magilton 75), Ulrich van Gobbel, Matt Oakley, Eyal Berkovic, Matt Le Tissier (Gordon Watson 88), Egil Ostenstad

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, David May, Gary Pallister (Denis Irwin 45), Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt (Brian McClair 17), Roy Keane (SENT OFF), David Beckham, Jordi Cruyff (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 83), Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona

Referee: Jeff Winter, Attendance: 15,256

Manchester United arrived at The Dell in October 1996 off the back of a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Newcastle United six days earlier. Manager Alex Ferguson must have been shell-shocked after the scoreline at St James’ Park. He was about to get another taste of embarrassment. This result will remain one of Southampton’s greatest and one of Manchester United’s worst in the Premier League era.

This match was played six months after the ‘grey shirt’ debacle when Manchester United lost 3-1 and changed their away kit at half-time because Ferguson claimed the players couldn’t see each other! This time, he could offer no excuses. His team were simply outplayed and outfoxed by a wily Southampton outfit.

The scoring began in the sixth minute. New signing Egil Ostenstad forced Peter Schmeichel into a save. However, Eyal Berkovic was in the right place to smash the ball past the Dane on the rebound. United’s cause wasn’t helped even further when Roy Keane picked up a red card inside of 21 minutes.

10 minutes before half-time, it was 2-0. Berkovic found Matt Le Tissier, who had plenty of time outside the penalty area. He evaded challenges from Brian McClair and David May before producing a delicate lob over Schmeichel’s head. It was another amazing goal in the Le Tissier collection. The Red Devils’ did find a quick response this time. David Beckham’s trademark free-kick reduced the deficit but not for long. Right on the stroke of half-time, Ostenstad bamboozled May and then somehow squeezed a shot past Schmeichel’s defences at his near post. The scoreline was 3-1 at half-time.

Another five goals would follow in the second half. Again, Manchester United responded. Beckham’s free-kick was nodded in at the back post by May, who was making up for his own shoddy defensive display. Then, with seven minutes left, Southampton scored their fourth goal. Israeli international Berkovic crashed in his second goal of the afternoon with a venomous volley from the edge of the penalty area after a corner wasn’t properly cleared by United’s weary defenders. Worse was to come.

Ostenstad raced past May again and beat Schmeichel to make it 5-2! Paul Scholes did grab a consolation shortly afterwards but there was still time for a sixth Saints’ goal. Substitute Gordon Watson played in Ostenstad who rounded Schmeichel and found the net again, via Phil Neville’s despairing attempt to stop the ball. Although Ostenstad deserved his hat-trick, the records officially show this quite harshly as a Neville own goal.

Manchester United would lose their unbeaten 40-year home record in Europe days later to Fenerbahce but would claim a fourth Premier League title in five years. Southampton survived again and their fans will never forget the afternoon when the reigning champions were hit for six of the best.

Memorable Matches: Southampton 3-3 Newcastle United (May 2004)

Goalscorers: Shola Ameobi 7, James Beattie 19, Lee Bowyer 35, Titus Bramble 39 OG, Leandre Griffit 88, Darren Ambrose 90

Teams:

Southampton: Alan Blayney, Stephen Crainey, Claus Lundekvam (Darren Kenton 36), Fitz Hall, Paul Telfer, David Prutton, Fabrice Fernandes (Leandre Griffit 81), Yoann Folly, Anders Svensson, James Beattie, Brett Ormerod (Kevin Phillips 74)

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Oliver Bernard, Titus Bramble (Michael Bridges 90), Aaron Hughes, Steven Caldwell, Gary Speed, Darren Ambrose, Lee Bowyer, Kieron Dyer (Laurent Robert 75), Shola Ameobi, Alan Shearer

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 31,815

The final issue of the 2003-2004 season left up for grabs was who was going to finish in fourth position and therefore, claim the final qualifying spot for the following season’s UEFA Champions League. Newcastle United arrived at Southampton off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to already relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers. They had to win at St Mary’s to force a final day showdown at Anfield with their qualification rivals, Liverpool FC.

Newcastle made the better start against a Saints’ side that were cruising towards the end of the season. Shola Ameobi showed greater strength in a tussle with Claus Lundekvam and once he won that, he finished coolly into the bottom corner past Premier League debutant Alan Blayney in the Southampton goal. Blayney was appearing because a virus had struck down no.1 keeper Antti Niemi.

Southampton had nothing to lose and it wasn’t like Newcastle had the best defensive record, so this match always looked like it was going to promise goals. Three more were scored in the first half to ensure the sides went it 2-2 at the break. First, James Beattie tapped in after Shay Given failed to hold onto Anders Svensson’s shot. 10 minutes before half-time, Sir Bobby Robson’s team were back infront. Lee Bowyer arrived late in the box to smack a strike past Blayney. It was only Bowyer’s second Premier League goal of the season since joining from West Ham United in the summer of 2003.

Southampton were the better team though for the majority of the first half, especially after getting onto level terms and they ensured that is how the teams’ would be at the interval. Fabrice Fernandes fired a cross into the box which clumsily went into the net off the leg of Titus Bramble. Once again, defensive errors were costing Newcastle dear as it had for most of their league campaign.

The goals might have dried up in the second half but the action certainly didn’t. Steven Caldwell crashed a header against the crossbar and when Darren Ambrose’s drive from distance ended up with a similar outcome, the travelling Toon Army support must have begun to think it wasn’t going to be their night. More so when Blayney made remarkable saves to deny Alan Shearer and Bowyer.

Then, with three minutes left, Southampton sealed the Magpies’ fate. Substitute Leandre Griffit shook off Oliver Bernard and squeezed the ball in-between Given’s legs for his first Premier League goal. Newcastle were never going to score two goals in stoppage-time, were they? They managed one, with Ambrose drilling one home with basically the last kick of the match but it finished 3-3 and that sealed Liverpool’s Champions League spot. Robson would last another five matches before being dismissed in late August 2004. Southampton lost their final match of the season at Charlton and would ultimately finish in 12th position.

Premier League Files: Simon Charlton

Premier League Career: Southampton (1993-1997), Bolton Wanderers (2001-2004), Norwich City (2004-2005)

Making over 500 appearances in a career that spanned 18 years, Simon Charlton was a player who never took the limelight at any of his clubs. However, he was a well-respected figure by the supporters of the teams he represented and was a consistent performer throughout.

Frequently deployed as a left-back, Charlton began his career with his hometown club, Huddersfield Town. During that stint, he demonstrated the capabilities to play as a central defender or even in midfield. It was this versatility that helped win stay with clubs and play in prominent squad positions.

He moved to Southampton in June 1993 for £250,000 but barely figured initially under Ian Branfoot at the Saints. His PL debut came in a 2-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers, over five months after arriving on the south coast. However, he went onto make 114 Premier League appearances at The Dell, scoring twice. One of those goals was in a narrow defeat to Manchester United in May 1995.

Three years later, Simon dropped down a division to Birmingham City and would spend three campaigns in the second-tier, eventually escaping Division One with Bolton Wanderers in 2001. On his return to the top-flight, he appeared in 36 of the Trotters’ 38 Premier League matches in 2001-2002. Bolton avoided relegation and Charlton was chosen as the club’s Player of the Year. As Bolton started to improve under Sam Allardyce and more continental stars arrived, it wasn’t a surprise to see him slip down the pecking order at the Reebok Stadium.

He moved to Norwich City in 2004 but couldn’t avoid relegation with the Canaries in his first season with them. He fell out with boss Nigel Worthington and was released on a free transfer in 2006. On his departure, he fired parting shots at Worthington, claiming he had been made a “scapegoat” for the team’s indifferent performance that season. He spent one year at Oldham Athletic before retiring from the game. After playing, Charlton served time as a youth coach back at Norwich before going into management for a season at non-league Mildenhall. He now works in media as a commentator and summariser for Bolton Wanderers matches for BBC Radio Manchester.