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On This Day In History - 30th April 2006 Goodbye To Lowe
Wednesday, 29th Apr 2020 09:22

It sounds like a Carpenters song, but on this day 14 years ago the final game of the season seemed to be the day that we were going to say a farewell to Rupert Lowe, little did we know in the words of another song we'll meet again.

Season 2005/05 was our first back in the second tier of English football for 27 years and like our previous relegation back in 1974, although we started as one of the promotion favourites it soon became clear that we were not going to be making a swift return to the Premier League.

Part of the reason was the manager, Harry Redknapp had come to the club for the wrong reasons and was not interested and the other part of the blame was laid at the feet of Rupert Lowe.

So the final day of the season arrived not with much of a battle on the pitch but certainly one in the boardroom, Michael Wilde had appeared on the scene and was mounting a challenge to oust Lowe and take over the club.

In hindsight we should have been more diligent, firstly he was very much modelling himself on Tony Blair, "Call Me Mike" he schmoozed the fans and promised a lot, but as his bid progressed he needed to get more and more people on board to complete it, the warning signs were there, indeed Lowe pointed them out, but the fans weren't listening, Michael Wilde was anyone but Rupert Lowe.

So Leicester City arrived at St Mary's for the final day with both sides playing for absolutely nothing other than finishing above the other in mid table.

One of the biggest crowds of the season turned up 26, 801 and they weren't there to see future World superstar Gareth Bale who was making only his second appearance in a Saints shirt, they were there to sing songs about hanging Lowe from the Itchen Bridge, that being perhaps one of the more polite ditties heard that afternoon.

Certainly the time for Lowe was up, too many had now turned against him, I am not going to go too deeply into it here, but I will say that like most things in life, he did some good things whilst he was at St Mary's and he did some bad, the one thing he did not do was bring the club to it's knees financially, however he did take the blame when he came back for a final year to try and clear up the mess that Michael Wilde had left behind.

Saints side who played Leicester was not that bad, in Bale, , Baird, Bale, Surman, Dyer, McGoldrick & Kenwynne Jones it had players who would go on to play in the Premier League, most of them a substantial number of games and it also had Claus Lundekvam, David Prutton and Jermaine Wright it had seasoned campaigners not to mention Gregorz Raziak a Polish international, it really should have done better that season.

The game was won early on Ricardo Fuller scored after 20 minutes and Andrew Surman after 25, the 2-0 win pushing us up to a final position of 11th but we were way off the play off spots.

The songs were sung and Lowe walked out of the directors box for what we thought was perhaps the last time, but if we thought the last year had been fraught, the next three would be a roller coaster and the perhaps the only truth is that without Lowe, without Wilde and without that trauma of going virtually to the brink, there would have been no Markus Liebherr.

With our current Chairman coming in for a lot of stick at the moment there is a moral or two here, be careful what you wish for and beware of false prophets.

Photo: Action Images



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silverspringsaint added 13:04 - Apr 29
If I am not wrong, this was the game where Peter Rodrigues and some of the 1976 cup winners came on at half time and got a fabulous reception! I also seem to remember the lap of honor from the players including an emotional farewell from Marian Pahars ( not in uniform that day).
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underweststand added 14:54 - Apr 30
Certainly Rupert Lowe had few supporters in his time as Chairman and there are many stories to confirm that he just wasn't ..."football ", but his man-management skills were certainly far above those would later see from Nicola Cortese. However, ..with hindsight Lowe did start the ball rolling towards building St. Mary's Stadium.

Now I can hear voices saying that the club was "gifted" the site by the Council (not that it was much use for anything else) ..but I repeat that he got the project up -and- running, otherwise we might still be playing with a 15,000 crowd at The Dell.
During the previous 30-odd years we continually heard stories about possible new sites here and there around / outside of the City, which always came to nought, and no-one ever dreamed it would ever happen, so that in itself was a legacy to cherish.
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