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Match Day Banter - Memories of our opponents - Southampton

Posted on 23 September, 2016 at 6:50


Online gaffer Jim Fox gives us his memories ahead of Southampton FC on a trip to The Dell in the 1980's


The 31st January 1981 was not a good day to be at what used to be generously described as Southampton’s “quaint” home, The Dell.

In this instance, quaint means unfit for occupancy, crumbling and sight lines and fencing which meant that from several areas of the ground, principally the away end, one couldn’t really follow the action at all.

Having met some colleagues off the ferry who had been in France, a convenient coincidence, refreshments were taken before buying tickets in the home end. The logic was twofold: firstly, the view from the home end whilst not brilliant was better than looking at a fence or the back of someone’s head which was all that was visible from behind the other goal. Secondly, Southampton fans weren’t a hostile bunch so infiltration carried few risks.

The first problem was their manager, a certain genial Gateshead lad you may recall called Lawrie McMenemy. I don’t really need to say much more in the light of what disaster he would visit on our club so soon afterwards.

Worse than this was the fact that Southampton was, of course, in the grip of Keegan mania. The curly permed dwarf had surprisingly arrived from Hamburg at the start of the season in a blaze of publicity and inflated ticket prices.

It goes without saying that he who would become our nemesis at Newcastle later scored twice in the first twenty-five minutes and we lost 2-1. I have never understood what comfort there is in a “consolation” goal but Gordon Chisholm scored one on 89 minutes.

After the match I headed for London and the rest is a blur so nothing’s changed there in 35 years.


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