Down Through The Years – By Stan Faulkner

After 1989 when Danny Wallace was transferred, there were other young players from our academy ranks, who were being sold! His two brothers left Raymond and Rodney, with the latter who was probably the best out of the three of them! Rodney Wallace was a real goalscorer and if only he stayed, then we could of really benefited with our others young players coming through. Danny Wallace unfortunately never really improved, after he left Southampton Football Club. Perhaps this was due to fact, he was suffering from injuries and generally unfit, It was during this time, he discovered he had Multiple Sclerosis, which unfortunately, ended his career.

The next one to leave was another one from our academy was Alan Shearer. Tim Flowers also left and although he didn’t come through the academy, we did sign him when he was nineteen. Luckily we still had Matt Le Tissier, as it turned out to be the best and most important player, we ever had, right up until he retired. Jason Dodd and Francis Benali also stayed and they would proved invaluable over time.

But the club were not just losing players and probably the best young players Southampton Football Club had coming through at one time. If only the club manage to keep hold of them and recruit others, then the nineties might of been a good period and not a struggle for our club.

We were sacking managers at a regular rate, the club used to pride itself on keeping their managers. Ted Bates from 1955-1973. Then Lawrie McMenemy from 1973-1985. Chris Nicholl took over from 1985-1991. So after having three managers in thirty six years we’ve had twenty eight managers in twenty seven years which includes caretakers and one Steve Wigley held this position twice and on two occasions when we had joint managers. No wonder during the nineties we never took off and were always in the lower regions and fighting relegation.

Things off the field were moving at pace with plans of moving to a brand new stadium in The New Millennium. With The Dell attendance been cut in half over the years, it was clear we needed to bigger ground to maintain our status in The Premier League and were given permission to build in St. Mary’s Of The City, which would be built and open in season 2001-2002.

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Before all that, problems continued with players still being sold and managers either leaving like Graeme Souness along with Lawrie McMenemy, who was Director Of Football or others being sacked. Southampton Football Club it seemed were hiring and firing every season. There was no stability in the club, with tension running high.

Moving out of the nineties and into The New Millennium, things would get even worse, that no one saw coming. After saying goodbye to The Dell and going to St. Mary’s Stadium, everything looked rosy and things could only get better, especially when we reached The FA Cup Final in the 2002-2003. season. But no! Gordon Strachan who was Southampton Football Club manager and going good things resigned, after a lengthy spell of two and half years, he said that he wanted a break. There were reports he wasn’t happy over the transfer of Wayne Bridge and the lack of signing new players?? After the previous season, the fans thought at last, things are moving in the right direction but sadly no, far from it. This next season, the club had four managers. Steve Wigley twice as caretaker manager and Paul Sturrock as full time manager but he lasted just five months. Harry Redknapp came in but we were relegated that season which was the 2004-2005. season.
He lasted twelve months and most Saints fans will say, twelve months too long??

Most fans on this site are probably in their senior years and can remember all the good times over the last sixty years or more but no one ever thought, what would happen over next few years, would ever happen, especially after moving into a bigger ground, with more revenue coming in. Being so close to the edge of maybe going out of business, was an absolute nightmare, not just for all The Saints fans but to The City as well.

I will continue this in thirty years time when I’m celebrating my 100th Birthday and then it will be suitable for The Saints Archive.

Happy Days To You All From Birthday Boy.

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