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On This Day In History- 2nd April
Thursday, 2nd Apr 2020 14:00

We have already covered two classic games played on this day, so in our third look back at 2nd April we round up some other fixtures to jog your memories of Saints in the past.

I wasn't born back then but back in 1960 we were heading for promotion as Champions of League two, an even that would prompt and open topped bus tour on Portsea Island, but for us we just saw it as a step forward after the dark ages of the 1950;s perhaps the worst period of our history in terms of the fact that we spent 3/4 of it in what was then Division three.

We spent most of the last four months of the season in top spot but on this day we suffered a setback, but not a terminal one Grimsby Town coming to the Dell and getting a draw, also beating us a few weeks later in the penultimate game, but this was not enough to stop us being Champions two points ahead of Norwich, we scored a whopping 106 goals in this season, Derek Reeves getting 39 of them.

Fast forward 6 years and a lot of talk was about the approaching World Cup in England, but in Southampton we were concentrating on promotion to the Top flight for the first time in our history, we had gone 4 games without a win so we needed some impetus, we got it with a 3-1 win with goals from Stuart Williams and two from Terry Paine, the other highlight was a debut for Tommy Spencer a burly centre forward who had signed from Celtic in the summer of 1963, he would play the next two games as well but these would be his only appearances in three seasons and h left for York City in the summer of 1966.

In 1976/77 we were looking back and thinking of all the excitement of the previous year, Luton's arrival at the Dell brought us all back to earth, the start of 13 games in 6 weeks, Luton were chasing promotion and we were not, they brought a decent following, but not that decent given their promotion push, Alan Ball won the game with a goal on 14 minutes, bizarrely I can remember playing football on Green Park in Millbrook when we got home from the Dell on the number 17 bus.

!982/83 was an anti climax season, so I can't remember a thing about a 0-0 draw at Arsenal, Lawrie McMenmy proved prophetical saying to the press afterwards, " This will not be a game that will remain etched on the memory*

In 87/88 football was in the doldrums post Heysel in 1985, only 12,811 turned up to see Wimbledon and a 2-2 draw that probably saw the crazy gang up to their usual antics, this may have been the game when actress June Whitfield had a pre match drink in the Gateway pub in Northlands Road.

Chelsea used to be a hppy hunting ground for us but not back in 1994 as we battled relegation, with Chelsea in mid table the crowd was only 19,801 with around 2,000 Saints supporters housed in the top deck of the East Stand on a cold day, we rarely threatened and went down to a 2-0 defeat meaning we were second from bottom, in another bizarre memory not having taken a coat of Jumper I popped into Tower record pre game in Piccadilly Circus to buy a cheap T shirt to wear under my shirt, the cheapest I could find was one with the logo of a band called Eusebio who don't even bring up any information if you google them.

Our last reflection is back to 2001, two weeks earlier we had beaten Everton at home to go 8th and were dreaming of Europe, but in the International break Glenn Hoddle had defected and Stuart Gray was now in temporary charge.

Ipswich were a decent team that season and did make Europe finishing 5th, when this was selected for a Monday night game on Sky we were full of hope now we were deflated, we lost 3-0, the first goals we had conceded in the league since we had lost at Liverpool on New Years Day, that would be over 90 days without conceding, how we wish we could go 90 minutes these days, what we could do now with Claus Lundekvam and Dean Richards from back then.

Photo: Action Images

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