Saints History

Saints were briefly forced to switch home matches to their local rivals Portsmouth's ground at Fratton Park during World War II when a bomb landed on the Dell pitch, leaving an 18-foot crater which damaged an underground culvert and flooded the pitch.

Promotion was narrowly missed in 1949 and 1950 by a margin of one point and then goal average as Charlie Wayman rattled in a total of 56 goals. Then relegation in 1953 sent Saints sliding back into Division 3 (South).

It took until 1960 for Saints to regain Second Division status, Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions' 106 League goals. In 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1-0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.

The dream of Division 1 football at The Dell for the first time was finally realised in 1966 when Ted Bates' team were promoted as runners-up. It was a never-to-be-forgotten achievement.

For the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season and Saints stayed among the elite for eight years. Twice they qualified for Europe before becoming the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974.

The most memorable day in Southampton Football Club's history came in 1976 when the Second Division side, managed by Lawrie McMenemy, won the FA Cup for the first time with a sensational 1-0 victory at Wembley over odds-on favourites Manchester United.

In 1978 Saints gained promotion back to Division 1 and a year later they were back at Wembley, losing 3-2 to Nottingham Forest in the League Cup Final. Alan Ball was in the Saints team, one of several star names to join the club.