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On This Day In History 31st March Part 1
Tuesday, 31st Mar 2020 09:23

We again take a dive back into the history books to take a look at what Saints and their fans were doing on this day in the distant and not so distant past.

1972/73 was a pretty nondescript year for Saints we were solidly midtable throughout the season and never really looked down or for that matter up from between 11th & 14th, on this day Manchester United arrived at the Dell, the previous season had seen over 30,000 in the ground, but attendances like many other grounds in the country were dropping and only 23,161 were in attendance to welcome a struggling United side in turmoil.

Indeed this was a decent attendance for this season, the highest was the 24,100 that saw us play Liverpool earlier in the season.

This game though saw some history made it saw the last appearance at the Dell of Bobby Charlton who would retire at the end of the season, but it was Charlton who opened the scoring in the 16th minute, a goal that would be his last ever for Manchester United out of the 260 he scored in 807 games.

On 50 minutes Jim Holton scored to make the game safe, it was Saints first home defeat since losing to Ipswich in September and they rarely threated the United goal, clearly the Red Devils needed the points a lot more than Saints.

Ironically it would also be the last appearance in a Saints shirt for Ron Davies who came on as substitute, ironic because it was against the team who only 3 seasons ago had scored 4 goals in a 4-1 win at Old Trafford with United trying to sign him afterwards, Ted Bates had described him as the best centre forward in Europe.

But now approaching 31 he was seen by Ted Bates as past his prime and after 277 appearances and 153 goals he was gone, sold to Portsmouth a week or so later.

Our first season back in Division 2 a couple of years later saw us up at Sheffield Wednesday who were rock bottom and who we despatched 1-0, Peter Osgood scoring in the 26th minute.

Our next visit would be 9 years later in the FA cup and we took far more travelling supporters than the 8,505 total crowd at Hillsborough back in 1975.

In 1979 two Malcolm Waldron goals gave us a 2-2 home draw against Leeds United and it would be 11 years before the next league game on this date.

1980 saw Liverpool arrive at the Dell in what would be their last title winning season, Alexei Cherednik made his debut for sub in this game, Liverpool took the lead on 15 minutes through John Barnes, Paul Rideout equalised with a header past future Saint Bruce Grobbelaar to make it level at the break.

Jimmy Case shocked his former club when he scored on 48 minutes, but 15 minutes later the visitors were level througha Kevin Moore own goal, with 8 minutes left Ian Rush won it for the visitors.

Not that the result mattered Liverpool romped home 9 points clear of Aston Villa in 2nd.

This was the week that Matt Le Tissier was voted PFA Young player of the year with Rod Wallace coming second.

Photo: Action Images



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TimSaint added 20:08 - Mar 31
Shouldn't your 1980 piece actually be 1990 ?
Seem to remember the 3-2 defeat being at Anfield as well ?
Oh and believe it was Russell Osman who scored the OG from a Liverpool corner - but not totally sure as it was at the Kop end.
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darthvader added 17:10 - Apr 1
Yes i seem to remember being up there for that one in 1990 . I drove there , and back in the company van on the same day , with about four idiots rolling around the back pi$$ed as f.arts my fee was a ticket and a couple of pints .

Never again .

Got into a squabble with a scouser in the away end sat behind me ,nothing much changes there then .
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