Glenn Cockerill Receives Forever Saint Award
Monday, 13th Sep 2021 15:46
The Forever Saint award will be made to selected Ex Southampton players from the club itself, Francis Benali was the first recipient and he has been followed by former team mate Glenn Cockerill. Indeed back in 1988 /89 Glenn was the victim of an incident that ultimately was the difference between Arsenal winning the Title from Liverpool
To be presented at Saints home games during the 2021/22 season, the Forever Saint honour celebrates incredible contributions made to the club and community by ex-players, club servants and community champions.
Francis Benali was deservedly the first ex player to be honoured at the first home game of the season against Manchester United and he has been followed by Glenn Cockerill, a player very familiar to Saints supporters in the 1980's & 90's.
Cockerill was the first signing back in 1986 for then new Saints manager Chris Nicholl who knew much about the midfielder from games against him when Nicholl was player/coach at Grimsby Town.
For the next 8 years he was a fixture in Saints first team, only really dropping out of the side through injury as he reached the age of 33 in season 1992/93 and his final game for the club was in November 1993 when he left to join Leyton Orient.
Glenn was also in a select group of players who have played for the club in a Wembley Final, he played in the side that lost 3-2 to Nottingham Forest in the Zenith Data Cup Final of 1991/92, a game that was taken very seriously by both sides.
When you consider Saints side read as follows, a starting XI containing no less than 7 current or future internationals, you can see the quality Saints had in their squad and why the fans thought that they were underachieving under manager Ian Branfoot.
1 GK England ENG Tim Flowers
Cockerill would go on to make 340 starts for Saints plus another 18 as sub in all competitions scoring 39 goals.
He rose to national prominence in he 1988-89 season, after Arsenal’s Paul Davis had fractured his jaw in two places.
Saints were top of the old First Division after 3 games in September 1988 and had raced into a two goal lead at Highbury through Matt le Tissier and Rod Wallace and were good for that lead in the middle of the second half.
Then came an off the ball incident that saw Paul Davis cowardly walk up behind Glenn and smash him in the face, I say the word "Saw" loosely as the referee, linesman and indeed most of the crowd didn't see it and Glenn certainly didn't see it coming either.
Paul Davis stayed on and so did Glenn despite his jaw being fractured in two places.
This moment ultimately won Arsenal the league title, they scored in the 82nd minute and then in time added on for injury that lasted somewhere between 10 -15 minutes Arsenal took an unlikely point from a harshly given penalty.
At the time saw how much this result would mean come the final game of the season.
That game saw a rearranged game on a Friday evening with Liverpool hosting Arsenal, a game originally postponed due to the events at Hillsborough.
Liverpool just had to avoid defeat by more than 1 goal and they were champions, no one gave Arsenal much hope, but in the 53rd minute a quick free kick saw Alan Smith score, there was plenty of arguing about this goal, Liverpool players Smith had not actually touched the ball and it had gone in directly from an indirect free kick .
This left the game on a knife edge, but Liverpool looked to be hanging on comfortably as the game entered the second minute of injury time when suddenly the season ended with a bang, Michael Thomas latched on to a through ball to beat future Saint Bruce Grobbelaar and the title was Arsenal's in the most gripping end to a top flight season before or since.
The season ended with Arsenal & Liverpool tied on 76 points, tied on goal difference + 37 each and the Gunners took the title on goals scored 73 against Liverpool's 65.
But none of this would have happened had Paul Davis not punched Glenn Cockerill nearly 8 months earlier, if he hadn't then Saints might well have hung on and gained the victory they deserved and Arsenal would have gone on to finish second in the league and would have started the game at Anfield 5 points behind Liverpool and forming a guard of honour as the League trophy was presented.
Ironically for Saints that 88/89 season was almost a mirror image of this season, up till December Saints were firmly in the top 6, but a run started that would see them fail to win a League game between mid November and the 1st April, indeed after winning 6 of the first 12 League games they would only win 4 more in the next 26.
Sound familiar !
Anyway I have digressed Glenn Cockerill was a big part of a Saints side that entertained and thrilled in the 1980's and 1990's and truly deserves this recognition by the club.
Photo: Action Images
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