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Magnificent Southampton Away Support Now Needs To Be Replicated At St Mary's
Wednesday, 8th Nov 2023 09:28

As Saints limber up to take on 5th placed West Bromwich Albion at St Mary's stadium, much of the talk has been about the magnificent away following at Millwall and indeed all of this season, now that fervour needs to be replicated at home.

The Saints supporters at the Den on Saturday were magnificent, both in terms of numbers where with over 3,000 present this was one of the largest away followings seen at Millwall, although in fairness this in part is due to the restrictions that the police have imposed on the London club, Leeds had only 2,037 fans present due to this.

But it wasn't just numbers that Saints had on Saturday, it was noise and that got louder as the game went on and Saints started to dominate, the fans believed in the team and that it could get a late winner and they roared the side on.

But this has not been a rarity this season, starting with Sheffield Wednesday when 3,000 Saints supporters made the 450 mile round trip for a televised game on a Friday night, the travelling Saints army has turned up in numbers, the midweek trip to Stoke saw 1,600 travel and that was beaten by the 1,800 who made a 500 round trip on a Wednesday night to Preston.

Most Saints away games this season have been long distances, the trip to Millwall was the first one to be under 150 miles and several have also been on TV, some in an evening or lunchtime on a Saturday.

But whatever the distance or time of kick off Saints fans have travelled and supported their team, astounding give the trials and tribulations of last season, but perhaps the resurgence in supporting the team away from home is because of last season, certainly at both home and away I see some old faces i haven't seen in a while, they had grown tired of the Premier League and what it had become, however the Championship is a different matter.

But if the away support has been magnificent, it good be said that the home support is merely superb, the average attendance so far has been touching 30,000 and that in itself should be applauded, back in 2005/06 the last time Saints were relegated to the Championship, the average was just 23,614, that was a poor season, but the following year as we made the play offs it actually decreased by around 100.

The promotion season of 2011/12 saw some full houses as Saints headed for promotion, but the average was only 26,240, with the lowest being just over 21k.

This season has been a strange one in terms of support, the long term hard core has returned to back it's team and more to the point it has stuck with it.

Indeed the game against West Brom is already heading for another 30,000 attendance, as of Wednesday morning there only remains around 1,500 tickets available in the general seating areas and these are going down at a rate of around 250 a day.

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But although the numbers are there for the home games, the support is not quite yet up to the loudness of the away following, that is perhaps natural, after all away from home you get the away support in one block whilst at home games it is diluted.

Since the opening of the stadium the Northam End has always been the place where the most noise and singing emits from, in recent years the Itchen North has added a stereophonic effect and has added something to the atmosphere and we also now have The Back Of The Chapel a group of fans looking to open up a third front in the noise stakes in the stadium.

In the Championship there are few clubs who can boast such a large section of supporters backing their team, but it is still not as good as the away team, it just needs a little more effort in terms of keeping the noise going for the duration of the match as happens at away matches.

Indeed everyone in the stadium can do their bit, not everyone wants to sing and shout at home games, I appreciate that, but words of encouragement can help ramp up the levels, too many sit in silence the whole game, I look around where I am sat and some barely utter a word of support, not even a "Come on Saints" every now and then, surely that is not too hard to do once in a while.


Those with the best home supports didn't achieve it in a day, they worked at it and created a culture over a period of time, Southampton fans are creating that culture now and it is great to see.

Photo: Action Images

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dirk_doone added 11:23 - Nov 8
At Millwall, we had a whole end whereas at St Mary's, as you point out, our vocal support is divided into 3 small groups in the corners. We've divided to be ruled by the away fans. If the singers joined together at one end our home support would be as good as our away support. The Northam will always be the away end because that's what the police insist on so the logical place for this is the Chapel.

Bowlercow added 11:42 - Nov 8
We must be the only club anywhere that doesn't have an"end" Either we persuade (possibly by financial incentive)our noisy corner from the Kingsland and Northam to move to the Chapel or we move the away support
If the police want them at that end then why not blocks 1 to 4 They can exit straight to their buses from there

dirk_doone added 12:13 - Nov 8
Bowlercow, yes it's embarrassing that we don't have a proper home end. Away fans find it quite amusing, especially for big FA Cup games when they take over nearly all of the Northam and our singers disappear almost completely.

stmichael added 12:24 - Nov 8
We do have an end.
The chapel.
Our dinlos choose to sit as close as poss to the away fans for the banter and then complain that we don’t have an end or they can’t use their seats for cup games.
We have an end we always have had an end we just choose not to sit in it and then complain we don’t have an end 🙈

SanMarco added 12:26 - Nov 8
Yes - the away end is the ridiculous aspect of all this. I don't get to home games nearly as often as I did but when I do enter the stadium the first thing I notice is the prominence of the away supporters. They should be moved to a corner area (Chapel) like at, say, Villa, Leicester, Norwich and then there would be a whole Northam end as the main home end for us to kick towards in second half.

There is also, of course, a chicken and egg thing with home atmosphere. So many disappointments and poor play over the past two or three years have dampened things...

SanMarco added 12:29 - Nov 8
Sorry that Chapel in brackets should of course say Itchen or even Kingsland...

LondonSaint76 added 16:02 - Nov 8
This might be an interesting exercise to undertake; the Ticket office must have the details of all the supporters who purchase away tickets throughout the season - take the magnificent support at Millwall for example - why not write to / email everyone who purchased a ticket and ask if them if for next season they would be interested in moving into a dedicated ‘home end’ as a group and replicating that level of support at every home game. I would suggest it would be the Chapel as I doubt the police will be happy to see the away fans moved very far from where currently reside. I am sure that a database could be built based on the details of away ticket purchasers that could identify at least a couple of thousand away regulars who could be potential candidates to establish a new home end next season. If established, it could lift the atmosphere at SMS. Of course, there is no guarantee everyone would want to move, at away games you don’t have a choice, you go where you are put. At SMS as a home supporter you do have an element of choice. Might be worth investigating though - who knows?

ItchenNorth added 13:39 - Nov 9
The club sort this out easily. Just put safe standing rail seats into a couple of blocks behind the goal in The Chapel Stand and a lot of vocal fans will want to be there.

highfield49 added 15:59 - Nov 9
My instinct is to follow Bowlercow's suggestion. However I don't have anyone in my circle of friends who sits in blocks 1-4 (i.e. the Itchen Centre -- Itchen North corner) but I'd have thought a shift across to the present away fans blocks wouldn't disrupt their match experience and might even improve the view. That would leave blocks 47 - 48 (Itchen North) available for additional away seating when required.
I don't intend to do an actual seat count to see how the blocks relate numbers wise but with a bit of tweaking it should work without shifting support from Northam to Chapel en masse.
I presume some new barriers might be required to separate supporters in refreshment areas and entering and leaving the ground but that shouldn't be insurmountable.

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