1996–97 Southampton F.C. season

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Southampton F.C.
1996–97 season
Chairman Rupert Lowe
Manager Graeme Souness
Stadium The Dell
FA Premier League 16th
FA Cup Third round
League Cup Quarter-finals
Top goalscorer Le Tissier (13)
Average home league attendance 15,099

In the 1996–97 season, Southampton Football Club competed in the FA Premier League.

Season summary[edit]

For the fourth time in five seasons, Southampton managed to avoid relegation. Manager Dave Merrington had been dismissed at the end of the previous season to be succeeded by Graeme Souness, who brought in quality new players including Claus Lundekvam and Egil Østenstad. A 6-3 win over Manchester United in late October, which saw Ostenstad scoring a hat-trick, was the highlight of the season, and Southampton entered the final game of the season only needing a draw to confirm their survival. Survival was achieved, but it did not prevent Souness from quitting the club after just one season, handing over the reins to Stockport's Dave Jones.

Ali Dia incident[edit]

After receiving a phone call purporting to be from Liberian international and former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah, Graeme Souness signed Senegalese "international" striker Ali Dia. "Weah" had told Souness that Dia was his cousin, had played for Paris Saint-Germain and had played 13 times for his country. None of this was true: the phone call was made by a fellow university student of Dia's to Souness, suggesting that he should give Dia a chance with the Saints.[1] Nonetheless, Souness was convinced, and signed Dia on a one-month contract.

Dia played just one game for Southampton, against Leeds United on 23 November 1996; he had originally been scheduled to play in a reserve friendly against Arsenal, but the match was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch. In the match against Leeds, he came on as a substitute for Matt Le Tissier after 32 minutes but his performance was spectacularly below Premier League quality. He was later substituted for Ken Monkou after playing for 53 minutes;[2] Leeds won the match 2–0.

Le Tissier himself recalled the story in a television interview, telling that Dia spent only a weekend at the club. He first came down to train with the team on Friday morning; according to Le Tissier he "didn't look very good" and the players thought that they would "never see him again", but the next day Dia was surprisingly named on the bench. His performance on the field after he came on to replace Le Tissier "was unbelievable. He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice, it was very very embarrassing to watch." Yet, according to the team's physiotherapist, on Sunday morning Dia "turned up for treatment of an injury" and "then he left, and we never saw him again . . . nobody knows where he went."[3] Dia was released by Southampton two weeks later.

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1. Manchester United 38 21 12 5 76 44 +32 75
2. Newcastle United 38 19 11 8 73 40 +33 68
3. Arsenal 38 19 11 8 62 32 +30 68
4. Liverpool 38 19 11 8 62 37 +25 68
5. Aston Villa 38 17 10 11 47 34 +13 61
6. Chelsea 38 16 11 11 58 55 +3 59
7. Sheffield Wednesday 38 14 15 9 50 51 -1 57
8. Wimbledon 38 15 11 12 49 46 +3 56
9. Leicester City 38 12 11 15 46 54 -8 47
10. Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 7 18 44 51 -7 46
11. Leeds United 38 11 13 14 28 38 -10 46
12. Derby County 38 11 13 14 45 58 -13 46
13. Blackburn Rovers 38 9 15 14 42 43 -1 42
14. West Ham United 38 10 12 16 39 48 -9 42
15. Everton 38 10 12 16 44 57 -13 42
16. Southampton 38 10 11 17 50 56 -6 41
17. Coventry City 38 9 14 15 38 54 -16 41
18. Sunderland 38 10 10 18 35 53 -18 40
19. Middlesbrough *** 38 10 12 16 51 60 -9 39
20. Nottingham Forest 38 6 16 16 31 59 -28 34

Note: Middlesbrough deducted 3 points for failing to fulfil a fixture.

Key
Qualified for the Champions League
Qualified for the UEFA Cup
Qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup
Relegated to Division One

Results[edit]

Southampton's score comes first[4]

Legend[edit]

Win Draw Loss

FA Premier League[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
18 August 1996 Chelsea H 0-0 15,186
21 August 1996 Leicester City A 1-2 17,562 Le Tissier (pen)
24 August 1996 West Ham United A 1-2 21,227 Heaney
4 September 1996 Nottingham Forest H 2-2 14,450 Dryden, Le Tissier
7 September 1996 Liverpool A 1-2 39,189 Magilton
14 September 1996 Tottenham Hotspur H 0-1 15,251
23 September 1996 Wimbledon A 1-3 8,572 Oakley
28 September 1996 Middlesbrough H 4-0 15,230 Oakley, Le Tissier (2), Watson
13 October 1996 Coventry City A 1-1 15,485 Le Tissier
19 October 1996 Sunderland H 3-0 15,225 Dodd, Le Tissier (pen), Shipperley
26 October 1996 Manchester United H 6-3 15,253 Berkovic (2), Le Tissier, Østenstad (3)
2 November 1996 Sheffield Wednesday A 1-1 20,106 Le Tissier (pen)
16 November 1996 Everton A 1-7 35,669 Østenstad
23 November 1996 Leeds United H 0-2 15,241
30 November 1996 Blackburn Rovers A 1-2 23,018 Østenstad
4 December 1996 Arsenal A 1-3 38,033 Berkovic
7 December 1996 Aston Villa H 0-1 15,232
21 December 1996 Derby County H 3-1 14,901 Watson, Oakley, Magilton (pen)
26 December 1996 Tottenham Hotspur A 1-3 30,549 Le Tissier
29 December 1996 Liverpool H 0-1 15,222
11 January 1997 Middlesbrough A 1-0 29,509 Magilton (pen)
18 January 1997 Newcastle United H 2-2 15,251 Maddison, Le Tissier
1 February 1997 Manchester United A 1-2 55,269 Østenstad
22 February 1997 Sheffield Wednesday H 2-3 15,062 Østenstad, Le Tissier
26 February 1997 Wimbledon H 0-0 14,418
1 March 1997 Newcastle United A 1-0 36,446 Le Tissier
5 March 1997 Everton H 2-2 15,134 Slater, Short (own goal)
12 March 1997 Leeds United A 0-0 25,913
15 March 1997 Arsenal H 0-2 15,144
19 March 1997 Chelsea A 0-1 28,079
22 March 1997 Leicester City H 2-2 15,044 Østenstad, van Gobbel
5 April 1997 Nottingham Forest A 3-1 25,134 Magilton, Evans
9 April 1997 Derby County A 1-1 17,839 Powell (own goal)
12 April 1997 West Ham United H 2-0 15,244 Evans, Berkovic
19 April 1997 Coventry City H 2-2 15,251 Evans, Østenstad
22 April 1997 Sunderland A 1-0 21,521 Østenstad
3 May 1997 Blackburn Rovers H 2-0 15,247 Slater, Le Tissier
11 May 1997 Aston Villa A 0-1 39,339

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1996–97 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R3 4 January 1997 Reading A 1-3 11,537 Østenstad

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R2 First Leg 18 September 1996 Peterborough United H 2-0 14,467 Le Tissier, Watson
R2 Second Leg 25 September 1996 Peterborough United A 4-1 8,220 Watson, Charlton, Magilton, Dryden
R3 23 October 1996 Lincoln City H 2-2 14,516 Le Tissier, van Gobbel
R3R 12 November 1996 Lincoln City A 3-1 10,523 Jim Magilton (pen), Watson, Berkovic
R4 26 November 1996 Oxford United A 1-1 9,473 Dryden
R4R 18 December 1996 Oxford United H 3-2 10,737 Berkovic, Dryden, Østenstad
QF 22 January 1997 Stockport County A 2-2 9,840 Østenstad (2)
QFR 29 January 1997 Stockport County H 1-2 13,428 Le Tissier

Squad[edit]

[5] Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Dave Beasant
2 England DF Jason Dodd
3 England DF Francis Benali
4 Northern Ireland MF Jim Magilton
5 England DF Barry Venison
6 Suriname DF Ken Monkou
7 England MF Matt Le Tissier (captain)
8 Republic of Ireland FW Mickey Evans
10 England MF Neil Maddison
13 England GK Neil Moss
14 England DF Simon Charlton
15 Wales DF Alan Neilson
16 Wales MF David Hughes
17 England MF Paul Tisdale
18 England MF Matt Oakley
No. Position Player
19 England DF Richard Dryden
20 Australia MF Robbie Slater
22 Norway DF Claus Lundekvam
23 England GK Darryl Flahavan
24 England MF Christer Warren (on loan to Brighton & Hove Albion and Fulham during playing season)
25 Scotland MF Paul Sheerin
26 England DF Matthew Robinson
27 England FW Steve Basham
28 England MF Russell Watkinson
29 Israel MF Eyal Berkovic
30 Norway FW Egil Østenstad
32 Netherlands DF Ulrich van Gobbel
33 Northern Ireland GK Maik Taylor (from January)

Left club during season[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
8 England FW Gordon Watson (to Bradford City)
9 England FW Neil Shipperley (to Crystal Palace)
11 England MF Neil Heaney (until November; to Manchester City)
12 England DF Graham Potter (to West Bromwich Albion)
No. Position Player
21 England MF Frankie Bennett (to Bristol Rovers)
31 England GK Chris Woods (on loan from Colorado Rapids)
33 Senegal FW Ali Dia (released)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Never again...". BBC Sport. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology. pp. 248 & 504. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X. 
  3. ^ Matt Le Tissier recounts the Ali Dia saga on youtube
  4. ^ http://www.statto.com/football/teams/southampton/1996-1997/results
  5. ^ http://www.footballsquads.co.uk/eng/1996-1997/faprem/southam.htm