Saints Need To Break 17 Year Hoodoo Against Manchester United At St Mary's
Wednesday, 25th Nov 2020 10:30
Although Saints have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford twice since our return to the Premier League, we have yet to beat them at St Mary's indeed we have beaten them only once at the stadium since moving their in 2001.
Since our return to the Premier League in 2012 we have had a decent record at Old Trafford, we beat them twice in a row under Ronald Koeman and have also drawn on 3 other occasions with only two defeats making a grand total of 9 points on the road.
But contrast that with our record against them at St Mary's in the same period, that reads 0 wins, 4 draws and 3 defeats, although in recent seasons we have drawn 3 out of the last 4.
But our run of poor form goes back a long way, in the first 4 seasons at St Mary's where we met them in the Premier League, we lost 3 of those games including the final day of the season in 2004/05 when a 2-1 win for Alex Ferguson's team sent us down, this game saw disgusting scenes afterwards when Roy Keane and other United players warming down on the pitch made going down gestures to distressed Saints fans still in the ground.
Add to that 3 FA Cup defeats at the ground and in 15 visits by the Red Devils they have lost only once.
Our only win came in the 2003/04 season when a goal from James Beattie in the final minute gave us a 1-0 win.
The strangest thing was that in the final years at the Dell despite United being all conquering in the Premier League , in the final 7 years of the Dell we won three seasons in a row, all having their moments of controversy, in 95/96 the 3-1 home win saw United change their grey away kit for their blue home kit at half time, the following year it was perhaps one of the best games seen at the old Stadium, 6-3 to Saints with Roy Keane sent off and several contenders for goal of the season.
The following year saw a 1-0 win courtesy of a goal by Kevin Davies, but a nasty tackle ended his season and he was never quite the same player again afterwards.
United were also the visitors in the penultimate competitive fixture at the Dell when Stuart Gray gained his first victory as caretaker manager at the 8th attempt, an OG and a Marian Pahars effort followed by a Ryan Giggs goal giving us a 2-1 win over a United side who had romped to the League title.
But it wasn't a bad record in those final 7 seasons, 3 wins and a draw with just 3 defeats, few teams could match that in the same period.
So what went wrong at St Mary's, the first ever game against them at the new ground started well, James Beattie giving us the lead after 3 mins but went downhill after that, goals fro Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and current manager, for Sunday's game at least Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeing us off by the hour mark.
in 2002/03 something special was stirring at St Mary's but not on 1st February 2002 when United were 2-0 up through Van Nisterooy & Giggs in 22 mins and were never going to let that lead go as they romped to yet another premier League title.
2003/04 saw that 1-0 win courtesy of James Beattie and then of course 2004/05, a disaster day with Harry Redknapp failing to make his mind up whether to be indecisive or not, we took an early lead through a John O'Shea own goal, but we were soon pegged back and a 2-1 defeat saw us relegated.
It would be 7 years before United returned to St Mary's in the Premier League and ironically the closest we got to beating them in the period since then was the first visit, it was the 3rd game of the Premier League season, the first at Champions Manchester City had seen a narrow 3-2 defeat after we had lead twice, the 2nd a dour loss against Wigan at St Mary's and then United arrived a week later.
It would be another pulsating game, Rickie Lambert gave us the lead on 16 minutes, Robin Van Persie evened things up 7 mins later, in the second half Mogan Schneiderlin gave us the lead again on 55 mins and it stayed that way as the game headed towards the 90 minute mark.
With Saints holding on Robin Van Persie denied us our first win of the season with an equaliser, but worse was to come, he completed his hat trick to snatch victory for the visitors from the jaws of defeat.
Since then it has got better, United have lost their iron grip on the Premier League and a succession of United managers have arrived at St Mary's but usually failed to conquer, although we just can't seem to get that elusive win that has now been missing for over 17 years.
It is a sad fat of life that no one under the age of 20 can remember us beating Manchester United , perhaps a little older than that.
Over the years games against Liverpool and Manchester United always had that special edge to them, although we would not go as far as claiming that Manchester United fans considered Saints as rivals in the way that they hate Liverpool, Manchester City or even Leeds or the big London clubs, it has to be said we have been a thorn in their side more often than most of the rest of the League.
Whether it was back in 1973/74 when he helped send them down to the second division, albeit we couldn't save ourselves either, those of a certain age remember that game in April 1974 at the Dell when there must have been 15,000 United fans who took over Milton Road end and indeed the ground and surrounding area.
Then there was the 1976 FA Cup Final and the clash the following season where were were again a thorn in their side before they dispatched us.
In the 1980's we had several notable victories not least a 4-1 win in the League Cup that saw manager Ron Atkinson sacked and Alex Ferguson appointed, funnily enough United fans never thank us for that.
The 90's was United's time to dominate but although we inadvertently got battered at Old Trafford at the Dell it was a different story, and we got right up their noses more than once.
Now we need to beat them at home and let two generations of fans who have never seen that happen enjoy the sheer exuberance of the final whistle blowing on a home victory over them.
Ironically none of will be in the ground to see it if we achieve it on Sunday, but I will take that, i just want to see us beat them whatever the situation.
We have beaten every other Premier League team bar United at St Mary's in the past 9 seasons, albeit Brighton & Leeds United were not in the Premier League but in the promotion season of 2011/12, surely United's time has now come.
Photo: Action Images
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