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Days In Europa Past
Wednesday, 14th Sep 2016 09:06

We take a quick look at this week in history and the European games we have played in over the years.

When Saints take on Sparta Prague on September 15th this will be a date that has figured strongly in our calendar of European adventures.

Back in 1982 we took on IFK Norrkoping at the Dell on the 15th in what was seen as an easy passage through to the next round, it turned out to be anything but with the visitors opening the scoring a minute after the break with Steve Williams equalising on the hour, the Swedes scored again with 7 minutes left and it took a Mark Wright goal in the 88th minute to give us a draw, the 10,155 crowd did not go home happy, nor did the 100 or so travelling fans in Sweden two weeks later after a 0-0 draw, but at least they did go home which Mark Wright and Steve Moran didn't manage for a few days after being falsely accused of rape

Also on this date in 1976 we played Olympique Marseille at the Dell in the 1st round of the European Cup Winners Cup, sending them home with a 4-0 drubbing, the game being settled in a seven minute spell after the half hour mark where quick fire goals from Malcolm Waldron, Mick Channon and Peter Osgood put us 3-0 up and then in the 37th minute Ian Turner saved a penalty to ensure there would be no fightback, a Channon penalty late in the second half gave Saints a unassailable lead to take back to France in the second leg where a 2-1 win for the home side was not enough.

Exactly six years before 15th September 1971, Athletico Bilbao had been the visitors in the UEFA Cup, 21,600 saw a 2-1 win with Tommy Jenkins equalising after the visitors had taken a second half lead, with 20 minutes to go Mick Channon scored from the spot in Saints second penalty of the game after Jimmy Gabriel had missed one in the opening minutes of the game, the lead looked slender and it was with a 2-0 defeat sending us out of the competition.

In this week in history though we have played several other games in Europe, 17th September 1969 saw our fist foray into European competition, back then the UEFA Cup was called the Inter City Fairs Cup and we travelled to Rosenborg to lose 1-0. The second leg would be better a 22,329 crowd saw a tense game swing in Saints favour with a goal in each half, first from Ron Davies and then Terry Paine.

Fast foward to 1981 when on the 16th September we crossed the Irish Sea to take on Limerick United in a ground that would not be passed for Conference football these days, a star studded side where expected to win easily but an hour would pass before Steve Moran scored two headers in the space of a minute followed by A David Armstrong goal to make it 3-0 with 12 minutes left. Saints 500 or so fans balanced precariously on a hastily erected terrace made of scaffolding and planks enjoyed the craic and I would bet that Kevin Keegan probably never played in a worse ground in a competitive game in his entire career.

19th September 1984 saw Hamburg, then one of the big European names visit the Dell, Saints dominated but couldn't score and the 1,500 Saints fans heading to Germany knew it would be tough, it was with 20 minutes to go Hamburg got a penalty and the tie was uphill with the Germans catching Saints on the break in the final minute to make the result seem a lot less closer than it was.

Although it was effectively next week, on 24th September 2003 we returned to European Competition, Steau Bucharest were the visitors to St Mary's for the new stadiums first taste of European action for 19 years since the Dell had hosted Hamburg for the last. It would not be a good night, 30,557 packed the ground, but it was the Romanians who drew first blood on 20 minutes, Kevin Phillips eqaulised in the second half, but it would not be enough to take to Bucharest where a late goal gave the Romanians victory on the night and on aggregate and left 3,000 Saints fans soaked on the outside and having to drown their sorrows by getting even wetter on the inside with 30p pints of lager.

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Photo: Action Images

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