Matthew Le Tissier

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Matt Le Tissier
Matthew Le Tissier.jpg
Matt Le Tissier in 2010.
Personal information
Full name Matthew Le Tissier
Date of birth (1968-10-14) 14 October 1968 (age 46)
Place of birth St. Peter Port, Guernsey
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Guernsey
(Honorary President)
Youth career
1975–1984 Vale Recreation
1985–1986 Southampton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–2002 Southampton 443 (161)
2002–2003 Eastleigh 17 (3)
2013 Guernsey 1 (0)
Total 461 (164)
National team
1988–1990 England U21 21 (3)
1990–1998 England B 6 (3)
1994–1997 England 8 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Matthew "Matt" Le Tissier (/ləˈtɪsi./) (born 14 October 1968) is a Guernsey-born English former professional footballer and football television presenter. He works as a football pundit for Sky Sports and is the honorary president of Guernsey F.C..

Le Tissier spent his entire professional club career with Southampton and won eight caps for the England national football team before turning to non-League football in 2002. In spite of interest from clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur in 1990 and Chelsea in 1996, Le Tissier remained at Southampton for his entire professional career, his loyalty garnering special affection from Southampton's fans who nicknamed him "Le God".[2]

An attacking midfielder with exceptional technical skills,[3] Le Tissier is the second-highest ever scorer for Southampton behind Mick Channon and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1990. He was the first midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League. He is notable for his record at scoring penalty kicks – converting from the spot 47 times from 48 attempts – and is considered one of the greatest ever from the 12 yard spot.[4]

Following his retirement as a player, Le Tissier became a football pundit, and currently works as a panelist on the Sky Sports show Soccer Saturday. In 2011 he became honorary president of Guernsey F.C., for whom he briefly registered as a player in May 2013 to help with the club's fixture congestion.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Le Tissier was born in Guernsey, and played youth football on the island with Vale Recreation between the ages of seven and sixteen. At fifteen, he had a trial at Oxford United, but nothing came of it.[5]

Southampton[edit]

Signing for Southampton on YTS forms in 1985 and then signing professional forms in October 1986, Le Tissier made his club debut in a 4–3 defeat at Norwich City in the Football League First Division, and by the end of that season had scored six goals in 24 league games, including a hat-trick against Leicester City in the league. He scored his first two competitive goals in a League Cup third round replay at home to Manchester United on 4 November 1986, a game which Southampton won 4-1 and was Ron Atkinson's last in charge of the visitors, his sacking coming within 48 hours of the result. He made 19 first team league appearances in 1987–88, failing to score, but in 1988–89, scored nine times in 28 league games.

He was voted PFA Young Player of the Year for the 1989–90 season, in which he was one of the league's top goalscorers with 20 goals as Southampton finished seventh in the First Division, the club's highest finish for five years.[6]

Le Tissier's highest scoring league season was 1993–94, when he scored 25 league goals.[7] The following season he won the Match of the Day Goal of the Season award for his drifting 40-yard lob against Blackburn Rovers, scoring against his long term friend, and former Southampton keeper, Tim Flowers.

Le Tissier's goal tally for the season regularly went well into double figures for the league alone throughout the 1990s, playing a major role in Southampton preserving their top flight status into the new millennium as they came close to relegation on no less than five occasions in the first seven seasons of the Premier League – including one occasion when they only survived on goal difference. He was the subject of interest from many big clubs in England and overseas during this time, particularly from Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, but the transfer never happened and Le Tissier would ultimately remain a Southampton player until his retirement.

On 2 April 2000, Le Tissier scored a last minute penalty for Southampton in a 2–1 defeat to Sunderland. This brought his tally of Premiership goals to 100, making him only the sixth player and first midfielder to reach this milestone.[8][9]

He scored the last goal in the final competitive match played at The Dell on 19 May 2001, against Arsenal.[10] This turned out to be his last goal for Southampton. He played several games for the club during 2001–02, the first season at the new St Mary's Stadium, in an eventual 11th-place finish. His final competitive appearance for the Saints came against West Ham on 30 January 2002.[11] He announced on 29 March 2002 that he would retire from playing at the season's end after limping off with a recurrence of a calf strain during a reserve team game against Charlton.[12]

His final match, a testimonial against an England XI in May 2002, ended in a 9–9 draw, with Le Tissier playing 45 minutes for each side, while his 10-year old son Mitchell came on as a substitute in the second half, scoring four times.[13]

Throughout his career, Le Tissier had a fearsome reputation for scoring from the spot, converting 47 of the 48 penalties that he took for Southampton.[14][15] His sole failure to convert came on 24 March 1993 in a match against Nottingham Forest, his spot kick being saved by Forest keeper Mark Crossley, the feat being so unique that Crossley describes it as the save of which he is most proud.[16]

Eastleigh[edit]

After leaving Southampton, he had a 2-season-long spell with non-league side Eastleigh, where he played alongside his former Southampton teammate David Hughes.[17][18] He made his debut in a 3-0 victory over Newport (IOW) in the Hampshire Senior Cup in October 2002.[19] He played his last match for the club early in August 2003, starring in the Hampshire Chronicle Cup Final second leg victory against Winchester City.[20]

Guernsey[edit]

On 7 April 2013, ten years after retiring from football, Le Tissier announced he had come out of retirement and signed with his hometown club Guernsey. A number of fixture postponements meant that they had to play 17 league fixtures in a month, and Le Tissier announced that he would be able to play in four or five games, also saying he was unable to play Saturday games due to his job as a television pundit on Soccer Saturday.[21] He made his debut for the club on 24 April, as a substitute for Ollie McKenzie, in a 4–2 defeat in their Combined Counties League Premier Division clash with Colliers Wood United.[22] The fixture would be his only appearance for the club.

International career[edit]

As a Channel Islander, he was eligible for any of the Home Nations teams. Electing to play for England, he earned eight caps over three years, but failed to score at international level.

Le Tissier was picked by the then manager Terry Venables to start the ill-fated friendly match against the Republic of Ireland at Lansdowne Road, on 15 February 1995. With Ireland leading from a 22nd minute goal by David Kelly, a group of England fans began to riot, causing the Dutch referee Dick Jol to abandon the match.[23]

In the run up to the 1998 World Cup, Le Tissier scored a hat-trick in a 4–1 victory for England B against Russia B, at Loftus Road;[24] despite this, he was controversially overlooked by manager Glenn Hoddle for the final squad, a decision that the player himself cited as a hiatus in his career after which his form never fully recovered.[25]

Career statistics[edit]

[26]

Season Club League League Cup League Cup Full Members Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1986–87 Southampton First Division 24 6 1 0 4 2 2 2 31 10
1987–88 19 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 22 2
1988–89 28 9 2 0 4 2 2 0 36 11
1989–90 35 20 2 1 7 3 44 24
1990–91 35 19 3 2 4 2 1 0 43 23
1991–92 32 6 7 1 6 1 6 7 51 15
1992–93 Premier League 40 15 1 1 3 2 44 18
1993–94 38 25 2 0 0 0 40 25
1994–95 41 20 5 5 3 5 49 30
1995–96 34 7 5 1 4 2 43 10
1996–97 31 13 1 0 6 3 38 16
1997–98 26 11 1 0 3 3 30 14
1998–99 30 6 1 0 2 0 33 6
1999–00 18 3 0 0 3 0 21 3
2000–01 8 1 0 0 2 1 10 2
2001–02 4 0 1 0 0 0 5 0
2002–03 Eastleigh Wessex Premier Div. ? ? ? ? ? ?
2003–04 Southern Lge. Eastern Div. ? ? ? ? ? ?
2012–13 Guernsey C.Counties Premier Div. 1 0 0 0 1 0
Career total 444 161 33 12 52 27 12 9 540 209

Honours[edit]

Southampton

Post-retirement[edit]

Le Tissier had one of the hospitality suites at the St Mary's Stadium named after him, and also an apartment block built on the old site of The Dell.

On 7 February 2007, he had a plane in the Flybe fleet named after him, on his home island of Guernsey.[27][28] It was withdrawn from use in July 2011.[29]

On 29 June 2009, he made his debut as the guest in Dictionary Corner on the Channel 4 game show Countdown, hosted by Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling.

After Southampton's relegation to level three in 2008–09, Le Tissier initially offered to help with a bid to take over the club, but later withdrew,[30] amidst some controversy.[31] In September 2009, Le Tissier revealed in his autobiography that he had placed a spread bet on a match he was involved in during his playing career. During an April 1995 match at Wimbledon, Le Tissier stood to win "well into four figures" after betting on the time of the first throw-in. After kicking off, he tried to overhit a pass to unsuspecting teammate Neil Shipperley, but due to nerves, underhit it and Shipperley was able to keep the ball in play. Le Tissier revealed he had "never run so much" in his life as he tried to put the ball out of play to avoid losing money, with the ball eventually going out of play after 70 seconds, meaning Le Tissier and his associates neither won nor lost money.[32] The event was investigated by Hampshire Police but the Crown Prosecution Service refused to take the case further, citing that it did "not represent appropriate use of police resources" and "would not be in the public interest".[33]

Le Tissier made a cameo appearance for Southampton in Claus Lundekvam's testimonial against Celtic, on 18 July 2008.[34] Lundekvam had previously played with him at Southampton from 1996 to 2002.

In 2010, Spanish superstar Xavi revealed that Le Tissier had been one of his childhood inspirations, claiming that: "His talent was simply out of the norm. He could simply dribble past seven or eight players but without speed - he just walked past them. For me he was sensational".[35]

In 2011, he accepted the position of Honorary President of Guernsey F.C.

Personal life[edit]

Le Tissier is of French descent through his paternal great-grandfather Olivier Arnaud Le Tissier, who first came to Guernsey from his hometown of Lorient in the early 1900s.[citation needed]

Le Tissier married childhood sweetheart Cathy and had two children; Mitchell and Keeleigh, but the couple divorced in 1997 and Cathy and the children moved back to Guernsey, after which he had a relationship with Home and Away and Emmerdale actress Emily Symons.[36] He then married Angela Nabulsi in 2008, and the couple have another child, Ava.[37] All three of Le Tissier's brothers – Mark, Kevin and Carl – also played football, but never professionally.[38] Mark is currently secretary of Guernsey FC.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott, Brough (2002-05-18). "Regrets too few to mention for the Saint who did it his way". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  2. ^ "Premier League Heroes - Le Tissier: Le God". ESPN. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Matthew Le Tissier". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "THE LIST: Football's greatest penalty kings - Nos 10-1". Daily Mail (London). 
  5. ^ "Succeeding was hard - Le Tissier". BBC. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Matthew Le Tissier (Part 1) 1986/87–1989/90". Football Heroes. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  7. ^ "KickOff.co.uk". Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Ged, Scott (3 April 2000). "Inspired United put the hammer down". The Birmingham Post. 
  9. ^ "Schole joins century club". The Premier League. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "Le Tissier caps Dell farewell". BBC. 19 May 2001. Retrieved 7 December 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Fernandes sinks Hammers". BBC. 30 January 2002. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Did Le Tissier fulfil his potential?". BBC News. 29 March 2002. 
  13. ^ "Goal feast at Le Tissier farewell". BBC. 14 May 2002. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology. p. 539. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X. 
  15. ^ Weekes, Richard (7 November 2008). "Who's the Daddy from 12 yards out?". London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  16. ^ "How to...save a penalty". London: The Observer. 6 January 2002. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "Eastleigh lure Le Tissier". BBC. 13 August 2002. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  18. ^ Wigmore, Simon (22 October 2002). "Le Tissier coup for Eastleigh". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "Le Tissier: It was good to be back". Daily Echo. 31 October 2002. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Le God's Final Farewell". Non-League Daily. 5 August 2003. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Matthew Le Tissier, 44, will make his Guernsey debut on Sunday". BBC Sport. 7 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "No winning return for Le Tiss". Daily Echo. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "EnglandStats.com | A database of England Internationals since 1872". Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  24. ^ "Le Tissier hat-trick fires England B". BBC News. 22 April 1998. Retrieved 22 April 1998. 
  25. ^ Little, Tony (25 June 2010). "Matt: I was Tissed Off". London: The Sun Newspaper. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  26. ^ In That Number. pp. 196, 201, 206, 213, 219, 223, 228, 235, 241, 245, 250, 255, 259, 264, 269 & 277; 386–413; 290–296; 301. 
  27. ^ "Tiss takes off". www.saintsfc.co.uk. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2008. 
  28. ^ Olding, Peter (23 February 2007). "Photo of FlyBe plane". De Havilland Canada DHC-8Q-402 Dash 8, G-JECT, Flybe (BE / BEE). Southampton Airport: Air Britain Photographic Images Collection. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  29. ^ http://www.planespotters.net/Production_List/De-Havilland-Canada/DHC-8_Dash-8/4144,G-JECT-Flybe.php G-JECT Withdrawn]
  30. ^ Fifield, Dominic (30 June 2009). "Southampton on the brink as Matthew Le Tissier pulls out of takeover". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  31. ^ Szczepanik, Nick (1 July 2009). "Football League deny Matthew Le Tissier claims". The Times (London). Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  32. ^ "Le Tissier in failed betting scam". BBC Sport. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  33. ^ "Le Tissier bet inquiry is dropped". BBC. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  34. ^ "Friendlies round-up". www.skysports.com. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008. 
  35. ^ Kastrinakis, Antony (5 June 2010). "Matt's Amore". London: The Sun Newspaper. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  36. ^ "Matt Le Tissier". Daily Echo. 19 June 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  37. ^ Template:Cite twitter
  38. ^ "Succeeding was hard - Le Tissier". BBC Sport. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2009. 
  39. ^ "Green light for Green Lions". This Is Guernsey. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 

External links[edit]