On This Day In History 16th March Part 1
Monday, 16th Mar 2020 09:42
With little footballing news in these unprecedented times, let alone anything related to Saints, we will be publishing a daily look back at what happened each day going back in history, we look forward to your anecdotes.
1996 was another of what seemed at the time constant relegation battles as we struggled in the still fledgling Premier League to be able to compete with those who had bigger grounds than us.
Indeed with our capacity in the now all seated Dell around 15,200, perhaps only QPR came close with Loftus Road holding around 19,000, although Wimbledon were rattling around in Selhurst Park with their average attendance only held up by it's ability to accommodate 10,000 away fans when the big boys came to town.
On 16th March 1996 we were heading to Maine Road for a relegation 6 pointer with ex manager Alan Ball's Manchester City, Ball might be held in great esteem now, but back then he was public enemy number 1, branded a Judas for the way he negotiated behind the club's back with City and jumped ship, leaving Dave Merrington to take over.
Saints season was not going well under Merrington, we spent most of it between 15th -18th place, but we were doing just enough to keep our heads above water, but when we arrived at City we had dropped into the relegation zone with 25 points from 27 games, City were one place above with 26 points.
We drove up by car on a rainy day and after a couple of pints in a pub near the ground we joined around 1,500 other Saints supporters in the stand behind the goal, Maine Road was one of the few grounds that the away section has been in each of the four stands at some point.
At this stage we had won only once in the last 12 games so hopes were not high, but we had Le God although he had not scored in the Premier League since the start of November and that in itself had been his only goal since an opening day hat trick against Nottingham Forest.
The game looked pretty even until the half hour mark when Georgie Kinkladze took the game by the scruff of the neck with two goals in six minutes, one of which was an amazing run through what looked like most of our side to score what would be the goal of the season come the end of it.
On 65 minutes Paul Tisdale dragged us back into the game and that started the home nerves jangling prompting a frantic finale which saw Saints think they had equalised in injury time only for referee Jeff Winter to disallow it, Gordon Watson being sent off for his protests.
Saints now looked doomed, but as we know we pulled out of it with another spirited end to the season, staying up at the expense of Alan Ball's Man City side, who on the last day thinking Wimbledon had scored a last minute winner at the Dell leaving his side staying up if they drew ordered his side to keep the ball in the corner rather than go for the all out attack needed.
In the Fitzhugh pub on that last day an effigy of Ball was hung from the pub's sign outside and much mirth ensued, time as we know heals some rifts.
In 1985 in Lawrie McMenemy's last season in charge at the Dell, rock bottom Stoke arrived at 4th place Saints , the Potters were relegated with 17 points in a 42 game season some 23 points off safety, in a dire game this was one of them.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 30 bloggers
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Macclesfield 4/4/92 by wessex_exile
Good afternoon everyone, I sincerely hope you are all doing well? Today would have been a vital home match against Mansfield, struggling at the wrong end of the league this time after a couple of seasons flattering to deceive at the sharp end. Since the last blog, we now know that all football below the National League is cancelled, and the season expunged from records. A tough break for the likes of Jersey Bulls in the Combined Counties League Division 1, who had won all of their 27 matches and already promoted, but then these are very strange times indeed. I sincerely hope the EFL season can be completed somehow, but I’m increasingly pessimistic about whether it will be.
Matches of Yesteryear - Wycombe v U's 6/3/99 by wessex_exile
Here we are again, so greetings to all you social distancers and self-isolationists, I sincerely hope you are all well. This would have been our third fixture since the suspension of all football in the UK, and with more and more measures being implemented by the government to minimise social gatherings, including extending the football league break until at least the end of April, one wonders whether we’ll ever finish this season? There have been numerous measures announced, including £50m from the EFL, to minimise the financial burden on us smaller clubs, but Robbie Cowling has gone on record stating that “…to really survive and go forward there is going to be help needed from the Premier League or elsewhere” – quite right Robbie.
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Bournemouth 27/4/99 by wessex_exile
Tonight would have been our home fixture against table-toppers Crewe, and a chance to avenge the draw at Gresty Rd which really should have been a victory. However, what’s really interesting about it for me is that myself and probably a considerable number of you out there would have been watching it on i-Follow – exactly what our chairman suggested should have been the first option the EFL considered before deciding to postpone league fixtures. Ho hum, wonder how we would have got on…
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Yeovil 15/8/09 by wessex_exile
…and so we enter the start of the coronavirus-enforced football league postponement period for 2019/20. As things stand, we will emerge on 4th April away at Bradford City, with nine fixtures (some teams, including Swindon, Crewe and FGR have ten) still to complete over the following 21 days, though I’m sure the end of the season could be extended if needs be. Whether we do restart on 4th April only time will tell.
Matches of Yesteryear - Swindon v U's 23/8/08 by wessex_exile
Another very busy week at work, so apologies this is a little later than usual. For once I look out on a Saturday with bright skies and the sun even occasionally peeking out – will it be shining on John McGreal and the U’s by 5pm though? It’s at times like this I need the sage words of Doris Day (and latterly Wivenhoe resident Captain Sensible) “Happy talk – keep talkin’ happy talk”.
[ Vote here ]