Saints History

Glenn Hoddle replaced Dave Jones as manager in 2000 and steered Saints to safety but stayed little more than a year, leaving in March 2001 for his spiritual home to take over the vacant manager's position at Tottenham Hotspur.

First team coach Stuart Gray stepped up in a caretaker capacity for the final few games of the season including the memorable final league game at The Dell where Saints triumphed 3-2 over Arsenal thanks to Matthew Le Tissier's unforgettable last minute winner.

Chairman Rupert Lowe acted swiftly dismissing Gray and his assistant Mick Wadsworth in October 2001 after a poor start to the season and brought in former Coventry manager Gordon Strachan to revive the team's fortunes and he promptly led the side to 11th place. The fourth time in five years that Saints had been safe well before the end of the season.

In his second season in charge the wee Scot went on to surpass all expectations as he guided the team to a record breaking 8th place in the Premier League and the FA Cup Final, which Saints lost out in to Arsenal at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The runners-up spot was good enough to earn Saints a place in the UEFA Cup in 2003/4 season. A tricky first round tie against Steaua Bucharest meant their European tour was a brief one however and a couple of months later Saints' season looked even more shaky when Gordon Strachan announced his decision to leave the club at the end of the season to spend time with his family.

Eventually a successor was found in the shape of former Plymouth boss Paul Sturrock who guided the team to a respectable finish of 12th in his first season in charge but at the start of the 2004/5 season he parted company with the club after just two games.

Steve Wigley was also unable to transform the team's fortunes, notching just one win against Portsmouth in 14 Premiership matches in charge. Saints then pulled off what seemed a massive managerial coup as they snapped up former Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp after he had left their bitter rivals only weeks earlier.

However Redknapp was unable to halt the decline despite bringing in five new players during the January transfer window and, after a 27-year stay in the top flight, Saints were relegated on the final day of the 2004/05 season. They lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United to finish bottom of the Premier League.

The 2006/07 Championship campaign was a roller coaster one which built up to a thrilling finale as Saints won five of their last seven matches to secure sixth spot and a play-off place, but they would ultimately lose out to Derby County in the semi-finals, leaving Southampton to face a third season in the Coca-Cola Championship but now without a parachute payment.

As a result, Saints struggled and narrowly avoided relegation in 2007-08 after manager George Burley left midway through the campaign to take charge of Scotland.

In May 2008, Rupert Lowe returned to St Mary's as chairman of the PLC with Michael Wilde taking over as chairman of the football club. Dutchman Jan Poortvliet was named as Saints' new Head Coach with Mark Wotte coming in as Academy Director, but after a disastrous year the club lost its Championship status and the Holding Company (Southampton Leisure Holdings PLC) went into administration.

Following confirmation of relegation Saints were subsequently deducted ten points going into their first campaign in the third tier of English domestic football in nearly 50 years.

The Club was virtually on its knees as administration lingered over Saints for the early part of the summer in 2009. The positive news that everyone had been waiting for finally arrived however, when Nicola Cortese, a man who had built his reputation in Swiss finance, introduced German businessman Markus Liebherr to the idea of buying the Club.

Negotiations with the administrators eventually saw Liebherr complete the purchase of Southampton Football Club on 8th July 2009, with Cortese taking on the day-to-day running of the Club.

A new manager was swiftly appointed in Alan Pardew, while players such as Dan Harding from Ipswich, experienced Tunisian international Radhi Jaidi and striker Rickie Lambert – a £1million acquisition from Bristol Rovers – were quickly recruited.

The psychological burden of ten-point penalty took until early October to clear, with Saints moving off the foot of the League 1 table later that month. By Boxing Day, they had reached mid-table.

More high-profile signings were made in January, as defender José Fonte dropped down a division from Championship side Crystal Palace and winger Jason Puncheon abandoned a loan spell with high-flying MK Dons to switch to St Mary's.

While progress continued to be made in the league, it was in the final of Johnstone's Paint Trophy that – after a succession of dark years – the club would get a long-awaited day in the sunshine.