This weekend we have the stars of Southampton FC's future coming to the hill and our Club Historian Steve Jupp has been busy finding out more about our history with the Saints...
Looking back over the records, Southampton have actually spent more time in the Southern League than ourselves, joining in 1894 when they were known as Southampton St Mary’s before moving on to the Football League in 1920. In those 26 years, they won the title six times.
Remarkably, as a Southern League club, (effectively the third tier of English Football in those far off days) they reached TWO FA Cup finals, losing to Bury in 1900 and Sheffield United in a replay a couple of years later.
At that time, despite their modest status, they had overseas influence and their early links with Spanish football are the reason why both Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao wear red and white stripes.
Moving on several decades, many older supporters will remember a cold November night in 1980 when a huge crowd of 2,500 packed Badgers Hill for the official opening of the new floodlights.
First Division (Premier League in new money) Southampton provided the opposition, minus a few star names such as Kevin Keegan and Charlie George did not travel. Goalkeeper Peter Wells was the pick of the bunch with a line-up which also included Reuben Agboola, Ian Juryeff and David Puckett.
Second string or not, the Saints proved too strong for the Robins, leading 3-0 at half time and four-up by the hour mark before Steve Gay netted a late consolation. A goal which fans still talk about today. Final Score…….FROME TOWN 1 SOUTHAMPTON 4
The Frome squad that day...
The Robins would go on to finish that 1980-81 campaign in third place in the Western League, whilst Southampton had their best topflight season to date, clinching six spot and the prize of European football. What memories will this Saturday bring?
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