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.
Adult tickets can be bought for as little as £20 by clicking on Southampton FC
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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