|Full name||Southampton Football Club|
|Founded||21 November 1885
as St. Mary's YMA
|Ground||St Mary's Stadium
|2012–13||Premier League, 14th|
|Website||Club home page|
Southampton Football Club is an English football club, nicknamed The Saints, based in the city of Southampton, Hampshire. The club compete in the Premier League, having gained promotion in the 2011–12 season, finishing as runners up in the Championship.
The Saints' home ground is the St Mary's Stadium, where the club moved to in 2001 from The Dell. The club has been nicknamed "The Saints" since its inception in 1885 due to its history as a church football team, founded as St Mary's Church of England Young Men's Association (or St Mary's Y.M.A) and has since played in red and white. The club has a long standing rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity and both cities' respective maritime history. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast Derby.
The club has won the FA Cup once in 1976, and their highest-ever league finish was second in the First Division in 1983–84. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on 15 May 2005 ending 27 successive seasons of top division football for the club.
After three seasons playing in the Championship, including losing to Derby in the play-off semi final in 2007, The Saints were further relegated to League One in 2009. After two years playing football in the third tier, the club secured back to back promotions under the management of Nigel Adkins. Despite leading Southampton to 15th in the Premier League, Adkins was replaced by former Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino in January 2013.
Foundation and Southern League 
In 2001 the move from The Dell to the new Friends Provident St Mary's Stadium was a homecoming for Southampton F.C., because of the new stadium's proximity to St Mary's, the church where the club was founded on 21 November 1885 by members of the St Mary's Church of England Young Men's Association.
St Mary's Y.M.A., as they were usually referred to in the local press, played most of their early games on The Common where games were not infrequently interrupted by pedestrians insistent on exercising their right to roam. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Mary's Road.
The club was originally known as St. Mary's Young Men's Association F.C. (usually abbreviated to "St. Mary's Y.M.A.") and then became simply St. Mary's F.C. in 1887–88, before adopting the name Southampton St. Mary's when the club joined the Southern League in 1894. After winning the Southern League title in 1896–97, the club became a limited company and was renamed Southampton F.C.
Southampton won the Southern League championship for three years running between 1897 and 1899 and again in 1901, 1903 and 1904.
That success spanned some major changes for the Saints as they moved to a newly-built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, to the North-West of the city centre in 1898. Although they would spend the next 103 years there, the future was far from certain in those early days and the club had to rent the premises first before they could stump up the cash to buy the stadium in the early part of the 20th century.
Good omens were quick to arrive though and before the 19th century was out the South Coast was given a taste of things to come as they reached the first of their four FA Cup Finals in 1900. On that day they went down 4–0 to Bury and two years later they would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Sheffield United as they were beaten 2–1 in a replay of the 1902 final, but it had given the club a thirst for the big occasion—albeit one that would not be truly satisfied for over seven decades.
Joining the Football League 
After the First World War, when many teams were broken up by the call of National Service, Saints joined the newly-formed Football League Division 3 in 1920 which split into South and North sections a year later. The 1921–22 season ended in triumph with promotion and marked the beginning of a 31-year stay in Division 2.
In 1925 and 1927, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 and 2–1 to Sheffield United and Arsenal respectively.
Saints were briefly forced to switch home matches to the ground of their local rivals Portsmouth F.C. at Fratton Park during the Second World War when a bomb landed on The Dell pitch in November 1940, leaving an 18-foot crater which damaged an underground culvert and flooded the pitch.
Post-war years 
Promotion was narrowly missed in 1947–48 when they finished in third place, a feat repeated the following season (despite having an eight point lead with eight games to play) whilst in 1949–50 they were to be denied promotion by 0.06 of a goal, missing out on second place to Sheffield United. In the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons, 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 Division 2 status with Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions’ 106 league goals. On 27 April 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1–0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.
Reaching the First Division 
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, with Martin Chivers scoring 30 of Saints' 85 league goals. Promotion was a never-to-be-forgotten achievement.
For the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season as Saints scored 74 league goals, conceding 92. Saints stayed among the elite for eight years, with the highest finishing position being seventh place in 1968–69 and again in 1970–71. These finishes were high enough for them to qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969–70 (going out in Round 3 to Newcastle United) and its successor, the UEFA Cup in 1971–72, when they went out in the First Round to Athletic Bilbao.
In December 1973, long term manager Ted Bates stood down to be replaced by Lawrie McMenemy who was unable to prevent The Saints becoming the first victims of the new 3-down relegation system in 1974 when they were relegated, along with Manchester United and Norwich City.
Cup glory 
Under Lawrie McMenemy's management, Saints started to rebuild in Division 2, capturing players such as Peter Osgood, Jim McCalliog, Jim Steele and Peter Rodrigues (captain) and what many people feel was the team's greatest moment (to date) came in 1976, when they reached the FA Cup Final, playing Manchester United at Wembley, and surprised all observers by beating much-fancied United 1–0 thanks to a goal from Bobby Stokes. Southampton had finally broken their major honours duck and finally laid to rest memories of defeats in the 1900 FA Cup Final against Bury and more agonisingly the 1902 FA Cup Final against Sheffield United. However more pain was yet to be inflicted in the 2003 FA Cup Final against a phenomenal Arsenal side.
Southampton returned to cup success with the demolition of Carlisle United in the 2010 Football League Trophy Final. This saw the South Coast Club pick up their First Trophy (albeit a minor success) since the 1976 FA Cup Final, Southampton also equalled the largest winning margin by a team at Wembley and would have stood alone if not for a late Carlisle consolation. Southampton also took 44,000 fans to the final. This would have been many more if the Carlisle unused allocation had been given to the club. The 44,000 fans provided Southampton with the largest following to any domestic game at Wembley.
Return to Division One 
In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in Division 2 (behind Bolton Wanderers) and returned to Division 1. They finished comfortably in 14th place in their first season back in the top flight. The following season they returned to Wembley in the final of the League Cup when they acquitted themselves well, losing 3–2 to Nottingham Forest.
In 1980, McMenemy made his finest signing, capturing the "European Footballer of the Year" Kevin Keegan. Although Keegan's Southampton career only lasted two years, Saints fielded an attractive side also containing Alan Ball, prolific scorer of goals Ted MacDougall, (who still holds the record for the largest number of goals in an FA Cup game – 9 – for Bournemouth against Margate in an 11–0 win), MacDougall's strike partner at Bournemouth and Norwich Phil Boyer, club stalwart Mick Channon and Charlie George and in 1980–81 they scored 76 goals, finishing in sixth place, then their highest league finish.
Southampton continued to progress well under McMenemy's stewardship, and with a team containing Peter Shilton, Nick Holmes, David Armstrong, top-scorer Steve Moran and Danny Wallace reached their highest ever league finish as runners-up in 1983–84 (3 points behind the champions Liverpool) as well as reaching the semi-final of the FA Cup losing 1–0 to Everton at Highbury Stadium.
They finished fifth the following year, but as a result of the Heysel Disaster all English clubs were banned from European competition – had it not been for this, then Southampton would have qualified for the UEFA Cup once again.
After McMenemy 
Lawrie McMenemy left at the end of the 1984–85 season to be succeeded by Chris Nicholl, who was sacked after six years in charge despite preserving the club's top flight status. He was replaced by Ian Branfoot, who until the end of the 1990–91 season had been assistant manager to Steve Coppell at Crystal Palace. By this stage a key player in the Southampton line-up was Guernsey-born attacking midfielder/striker Matthew Le Tissier, the best-loved player in Saints' recent history. He was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1990 and later made eight appearances for the England team – he finally retired in 2002 at the age of 33.
Southampton in the Premier League 
Southampton were founding members of the Premier League in 1992–93, having played in the top flight of English football since 1978.
Ian Branfoot was sacked in January 1994 with Southampton battling relegation. He was replaced by Exeter City manager Alan Ball. Ball secured the Saints' survival for the 1993–94 season and guided them to a respectable tenth-place finish in the Premiership in 1994–95, with performances from Matthew Le Tissier. But amidst rumours of lack of support from the Board, Ball was lured to Manchester City in the summer of 1995 and Southampton turned to long-serving coach David Merrington to take charge of the team in 1995–96. Southampton finished 17th with 38 league points, avoiding relegation on goal difference. Two important wins during the final weeks of the season did much to ensure that Saints and not Manchester City would achieve Premiership survival. First came a 3–1 home win over eventual double winners Manchester United, then came a 1–0 away win over relegated Bolton Wanderers. Merrington was dismissed a few days after the end of the season and replaced by former Liverpool and Rangers manager Graeme Souness.
Southampton fared little better in 1996–97 despite the arrival of Souness, whose track record included three Scottish league titles with Rangers and an FA Cup victory with Liverpool. Souness brought in quality foreign players with Egil Østenstad and Eyal Berkovic. The highlight of the season was a 6–3 win over Manchester United at the Dell in October, when both his signings scored twice. However, he had to deal with criticism over the Ali Dia debacle. He resigned after just one season in charge following a dispute over transfer funds, after he had overseen Southampton's 16th place finish in the Premiership. Southampton's directors turned to Dave Jones—one of the most respected managers outside the Premiership who had won promotion to Division One with Stockport County as well as reaching the League Cup semi finals.
With such an inexperienced manager, Southampton were tipped by many observers to be relegated from the Premiership in 1997–98. But thanks to the addition of young striker Kevin Davies, and the acquisition of a few others, Southampton achieved a respectable eleventh place finish in the table and managed a home win over Manchester United for the third consecutive season. Their form seriously dipped in 1998–99 as they were rooted to the bottom of the table for much of the first half of the season, but they again avoided relegation on the last day of the season after a late run of good results, helped by the intervention of Latvian Marian Pahars and old hero Le Tissier (The so-called "Great Escape"). In 1999 Southampton were given the go-ahead to build a new 32,000-seat stadium in the St Mary's area of the city, a welcome move after playing in the cramped Dell since 1898.
During the 1999–00 season, Dave Jones quit as Southampton manager to concentrate on a court case after he was accused of abusing children at the children's home where he had worked during the 1980s. The accusations were later proved to be groundless but it was too late to save Jones' career as Southampton manager and he was succeeded by ex-England team manager Glenn Hoddle.
Glenn Hoddle helped keep Southampton well clear of the Premiership drop zone but having received an offer he moved to Tottenham Hotspur just before the end of the 2000–01 season. He was replaced by first-team coach Stuart Gray, who oversaw the relocation to the St Mary's Stadium for the 2001–02 season. At the end of the 2000–01 season, in the last competitive match at the Dell, Matthew Le Tissier came on late to score the last ever league goal at the old stadium with a half volley on the turn. Southampton finished the match 3–2 against Arsenal, providing a fairy-tale ending to the days at The Dell. Gray was sacked after a disastrous start to the following season, and in came ex-Coventry manager Gordon Strachan as his replacement. Gordon Strachan did much to revitalise Southampton during the 2001–02 season, and they finished in a secure eleventh place in the final table. They did even better in 2002–03, finished eighth in the Premiership and coming runners-up in the FA Cup to Arsenal (after losing 1–0 at the Millennium Stadium), thanks in no small part to the metamorphosis of James Beattie, who fired home 24 goals, 23 in the league. Consistency followed in the next season, as a side led in attack by Beattie and Kevin Phillips secured twelfth place and yet again defeated Manchester United on their own soil.
Strachan resigned in March 2004 (to take a break from football) and was replaced by Paul Sturrock, who had been in the process of guiding Plymouth Argyle to their second promotion in three seasons. However, rumours of player dissatisfaction and personal problems dogged Sturrock, and he was replaced just five months later by reserve team coach Steve Wigley. Wigley's tenure proved disastrous, with Southampton slipping further and further down the Premiership table during 2004–05. Frenchman Christian Damiano was brought in to assist, but after a run of only one win in 14 games, both men's contracts were terminated.
Chairman Rupert Lowe risked the ire of Saints fans when he appointed Harry Redknapp as manager on 8 December 2004. The news shocked much of the football world, as Redknapp had resigned as manager of Saints' arch-rivals Portsmouth just days previously. He brought in a number of new signings, including his own son Jamie Redknapp in the attempt to survive relegation. However, Redknapp's efforts were all in vain as West Bromwich Albion secured survival at Southampton's expense. Having survived for many years on a budget a fraction of most of their Premiership rivals, Southampton were finally condemned to relegation.
Relegated after 27 years 
Saints made a disappointing start to life back in the second tier of English football, with the emergence of young star Theo Walcott as a rare cause for optimism.
On 24 November 2005, Portsmouth manager Alain Perrin, the man who himself replaced Harry Redknapp at Southampton's arch-rivals, was sacked by chairman Milan Mandaric. Rumours gradually grew apace that Mandaric and Redknapp had resolved the dispute that caused Redknapp to walk out in the first place, and that he was poised to rejoin his former club.
With these rumours seemingly reaching breaking point in the media—not to mention the bookmakers—Redknapp walked out on Southampton on 3 December 2005. The two rival clubs found themselves at loggerheads over legal compensation, which threatened to leave Redknapp in limbo, but with the dispute eventually resolved, Redknapp rejoined Portsmouth on 7 December 2005. After three matches under caretaker manager Dave Bassett and assistant Dennis Wise, George Burley was unveiled as the club's new head coach on 23 December to work alongside Clive Woodward, who was promoted from Performance Director to Director of Football.
In the wake of overwhelming calls for him to stand down, Lowe eventually resigned on 30 June 2006, a few days before an Extraordinary General Meeting that was predicted to see him removed from the club's board. He was replaced as Chairman by Jersey-based businessman Michael Wilde who had become the club's major shareholder.
During the 2006–07 season, the board set about trying to secure new investment in the club. However, on 26 February 2007, it was announced that Michael Wilde would step down as chairman of the football club on 28 February. On 2 March, it was announced that Leon Crouch would take the role of "acting Chairman" until the end of that season, when the Board would reassess the situation. Crouch was reportedly fired on 21 July 2007.
In April 2007, it was rumoured that Paul Allen, the American entrepreneur who formed Microsoft with Bill Gates, might launch a takeover bid for the club. These rumours were later confirmed when the club announced that Allen had made a preliminary offer although Allen subsequently denied any such interest.
On 22 October 2007, it was announced the club's p.l.c. board had received a takeover bid from an unknown investor which would purchase 55% of the shares in the company. Two days later, a London-based hedge fund, SISU Capital, was named as the potential new owner. The self-described "special situations investment fund management company" has previously attempted to gain control of Derby County and Manchester City; former footballer Ray Ranson was involved with both bids, and SISU intended to nominate him for a place on the Southampton board. However, on 14 December it was confirmed that SISU had completed a takeover of Coventry City, effectively ending their interest in Southampton.
The day before a proposed EGM to reinstate Lowe along with Wilde was to take place, the remaining board room members bar David Jones resigned, allowing Lowe and Wilde to return; Wilde as Chairman of Southampton Football Club and Rupert Lowe as Chairman of Southampton Leisure Holdings p.l.c.
In the Championship 
Southampton's off-the-field controversy affected their on-the-field fortunes substantially during 2005–06, and at one point they were in real danger of a second successive relegation. But their form improved during the final weeks of the season and they finished a secure twelfth.
The good form which secured Southampton's Championship status in 2005–06 was carried through to the start of the 2006–07 season, and the turn of the year saw the team in fourth place in the table. The new board of directors had spent a club record £6 million on transfers. Polish strikers Grzegorz Rasiak and Marek Saganowski and 17 year-old left back Gareth Bale all had great runs in form. A drastic loss in the team's form overall, coupled with poor displays against fellow promotion hopefuls, saw the team drop to eighth place by mid–March 2007, and rapidly losing touch with the promotion race. However, with other promotion rivals dropping points and a small run of form in late April, Southampton were able to reach sixth place, the last play-off position. They lost the home leg of their playoff semi-final to Derby County, and on 15 May achieved parity on aggregate but lost on penalties in a thrilling encounter.
Since relegation, the club has had to sell players to meet the shortfall in income. A number of players from the club's academy have been sold for large sums, such as Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale.
The 2007–08 season went much worse for Southampton with George Burley revealing that players such as Gareth Bale and Kenwyne Jones had to be sold to stop the club going into administration and that not getting promoted put the club in serious financial troubles. New players such as Youssef Safri and Stern John were brought in, but Southampton made an inconsistent start to the season being lodged in mid-table around the Christmas period. However, manager Burley left the club in January to take over as Scotland manager and in the January transfer window two more important players in Grzegorz Rasiak and Rudi Skacel were loaned out. Jason Dodd and John Gorman took charge initially for what was intended to be the rest of the season. However, they failed to win a league game, and the team slipped alarmingly near to the relegation zone. In February Southampton appointed Nigel Pearson as manager. Under Pearson's management Southampton narrowly avoided the drop by beating Sheffield United 3–2 on the final day of the season.
Even though Pearson kept the Saints up, the Southampton board did not renew his contract, because of financial constraints. By now, Michael Wilde and Rupert Lowe had replaced Leon Crouch as chairmen, and the new board brought in the relatively unknown Dutchman Jan Poortvliet as manager. The Club's financial troubles continued to mount, resulting in more players being sold or loaned out to lower the wage bill and parts of St Mary's were closed off to reduce costs. Due to their financial troubles, the club had to rely on youth and put out a very young side. Although they had a poor first half to the season, young players such as Andrew Surman, Adam Lallana and Morgan Schneiderlin emerged as potential stars.
Administration and relegation to League One 
On 23 April 2009, Southampton were handed a 10 point deduction, following their parent company going into administration. This deduction ensured that Southampton were relegated from the Football League Championship and played the 2009–10 season in League One. Although the rules of the Football League state that a 10 point deduction would only be incurred if the club went into administration, an enquiry reported that the finances of the parent company and the club were linked to an extent that they were practically the same company/club. However the administrators and the club lawyers believed that the sanction given was unfair and "completely against the rules."
After failure to beat Burnley in the penultimate game of the season on 25 April 2009, which ended in a 2–2 draw, Southampton confirmed their relegation from the Championship. This also meant that they would start in League One (third tier of English Football) for the first time in 50 years with minus 10 points, within six years of being FA Cup runners-up, UEFA Cup participants and the eighth placed team in the Premier League.
By the end of May 2009, the club was unable to meet its staff wages commitments, and asked employees to work unpaid as a gesture of goodwill. Despite his statement opposing the sanctions a month earlier, administrator Mark Fry warned that the club now faced imminent bankruptcy unless a buyer was found. The following day, the Matt Le Tissier backed Pinnacle consortium paid a non-refundable fee of £500,000 to gain "exclusivity" for 21 days, which meant that the employees at the club could be paid. That period of exclusivity lapsed on 19 June without a deal being completed as the Football League refused to give the necessary approval of the proposed take-over unless Pinnacle waived any right to appeal against the ten-point deduction. The decision was confirmed by a meeting of the Football League Board on 21 June
On 26 June 2009, administrator Mark Fry made a statement in which he said he had negotiations with two other groups of investors. He also confirmed that no group had an exclusivity deal and potential buyers will have to move straight away to purchase the club. This was followed by a statement from the Pinnacle group that they would accept the ten point penalty enforced by the Football League in order that the takeover of the club may be completed.
On 30 June 2009 it was reported that the Matt Le Tissier-backed Pinnacle Consortium had withdrawn their offer for the club. They "up-turned tables" after a mystery overseas consortium announced that they were close to a deal after lawyers were in negotiations for the club.
The Liebherr era 
On 8 July 2009 the administrators confirmed that the club had been sold to a buyer "owned and controlled by Markus Liebherr". On 9 July 2009 Mark Wotte was sacked as Head Coach with Stewart Henderson taking temporary charge. The club confirmed that the search for the new manager had already begun. They said in a statement that the decision is part of a wider strategic plan being implemented to improve all aspects of the club's operations, both on and off the field.
On 17 July 2009 the club confirmed the appointment of Alan Pardew as the new First Team Manager. On the opening day of the season Saints forced a 1–1 draw against Millwall, with Matthew Paterson netting the club's first goal in League One. Following this, the Saints made their first big signing under Markus Liebherr as they unveiled new striker Rickie Lambert who was purchased on 10 August 2009, for an initial £800,000, which could rise to £1m subject to appearances, from fellow League One side Bristol Rovers.
Markus Liebherr has also brought in Italian businessman Nicola Cortese to look after the club's business interests on his behalf.
As well as Rickie Lambert, Pardew was given the funds to complete a string of other signings to rebuild the squad including: Dean Hammond [undisclosed], Radhi Jaïdi [free], Graeme Murty [free], Dan Harding [free], David Connolly [free], Michail Antonio [loan], Papa Waigo [loan], Lee Barnard [undisclosed], José Fonte [£1.2M], Danny Seaborne [undisclosed], Jon Otsemobor [free] and Jason Puncheon [believed to be £198,000], meaning that by the end of the January transfer window, Southampton had spent over £3 million on players, a significantly larger amount than any other League One club.
Southampton finished the 2009–10 season in 7th place, 7 points from the last play-off position in League One.
In celebration of the club's 125th anniversary a new home shirt was unveiled on 10 June 2010. The design was based on the original St. Mary's YMA kit used in 1885 and featured the new anniversary crest as well being without a sponsor's logo. The away kit was released a short time later. This kit had a black shirt, black shorts (both with red trim) and red socks (with black trim). As with the home kit the away kit contained no main shirt sponsor and new crest.
It was announced on 11 August 2010 that Markus Liebherr had died; however the club's future had been assured and planned for before Liebherr's death.
On 30 August 2010, Alan Pardew was sacked as first team manager. Dean Wilkins was installed as caretaker manager for a three game period while the club started its search for a new manager. On 12 September, Nigel Adkins was announced as the new Southampton manager, joining from Scunthorpe United on a three-year deal along with his assistant Andy Crosby. The two had a positive impact early on as they guided Southampton into the League One Play-Off positions for the first time after a 4–0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge at St Mary's on 2 November 2010 going on to enter the top two on New Year's Day 2011 after a 4–0 win at home to Exeter City. The great start to the year continued as they knocked out Premier League Blackpool with a 2–0 win in the third round of the FA Cup and three days later got an amazing 6–0 away win at Oldham Athletic and in the process securing a fifth straight victory.
On 2 May 2011, Southampton effectively achieved promotion to the Championship after a 3–1 win at Plymouth Argyle, which was confirmed on 7 May with a 3–1 victory over Walsall.
Return to Championship 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)|
On return to the Championship, Southampton made a blistering start to the season and stormed to the top of the table winning their first four league games for the first time in their history. They beat Leeds 3–1 and Millwall 1–0 at home, and beat Barnsley 1–0 and Ipswich 5–2 away. This also extended their club record to 10 consecutive league victories. Southampton soon secured their best start to a season for 75 years when they beat Nottingham Forest 3–2 at St Mary's, taking 15 points from a possible 18 and then beat Birmingham City 4–1 at home to go top of the league and extend their winning run at St Mary's to 13 league games, creating a new club record. They then avoided defeat for another week thanks to an 80th minute goal from Morgan Schneiderlin against Burnley which secured them a 1–1 draw against the side at Turf Moor. The Saints' convincing start to the campaign continued until home form wavered, with a 2–2 draw with Blackpool on 10 December, the first time all 3 points had not been claimed at home since drawing 0–0 to Notts County on Saturday 15 January 2011. This was following an injury to keeper Kelvin Davis which brought Bartosz Białkowski back into the starting 11, and who gave a poor performance, letting a 30 yard effort from Chris Basham slip between his hands and legs and roll into the back of the net. The Saints' then entered the first South Coast Derby league game for 6 years against bitter rivals Portsmouth on Saturday 18 December on doubtful form, having only taken 1 point in the last 2 games, but still managed to secure a point after Rickie Lambert gave the Saints the lead following a headed goal from a Fox free kick. Joel Ward headed in from a corner to equalise late in the game and the match finished 1–1. Despite a 2–0 Boxing Day home win over Crystal Palace, the Saints' poor form continued into the new year, where they were dubbed by the media as having a 'New Years Hangover', entering 2012 with a 3–0 away defeat to South coast rivals Brighton, which saw talisman Rickie Lambert sent off with a straight red card.
The 2012 January transfer window brought Japanese striker Tadanari Lee to the South coast side along with Doncaster talisman striker Billy Sharp for a rumoured fee of £1.8m. Sharp had previously snubbed Southampton's interest in the 2011 transfer window, and promotion favourites Leicester in January, and chose to sell his service to the Saints where promotion to the Premier League seemed most likely. Sharp scored his first goal for Southampton on his home debut in a 2–0 win over Burnley on 11 February 2012. He then scored twice in a 2–0 home victory over former club Doncaster Rovers on 24 March. Lee scored his first Southampton goal in fantastic style, with a rocket strike at home against Derby County. The goal was the 4th of the afternoon and secured a 4–0 victory, and later voted by the club as goal of the season.
Whereas home form continued to waver with a 2–0 defeat to Leicester, away form picked up dramatically, with a convincing 3–0 away win at struggling Nottingham Forest, despite Lambert's absence. A draw at home to Cardiff at the end of January would see Saints' home form start to turn around while they continued to take points on the road, with welcomed draws against promotion pushing Birmingham and West Ham, a 3–0 win, and Lambert's third hat-trick of the campaign at Watford, and an emphatic 3–2 victory at The Den, where Saints had trailed 2–1 to Millwall until 2 Lambert penalties in the last 5 minutes saw Lambert secure his fourth hat-trick and another key 3 points for what seemed like Southampton's inevitable promotion, as they were 2 points clear at the top of the table and 5 points clear of the 3rd spot. By now the Saints' home form had been near restored, with victories in the league against Burnley, Derby, Barnsley and Doncaster, and a draw against Ipswich Town.
The home leg of the South Coast Derby between Southampton and Pompey came on Saturday 7th, where table topping Saints were clear favourites against Portsmouth who sat in 23rd place and seriously threatened by relegation. A first half goal from Billy Sharp gave Saints the lead until they were pegged back before half time by an impressive left-footed strike by Chris Maguire at the opposite end. When another 1–1 draw looked inevitable, Sharp nodded in from a corner and St Mary's erupted as it looked like Southampton would defeat their bitter South coast rivals for the first time since January 2005 in the FA Cup. However, with one minute left of added time, David Norris vollied the ball from 30 yards in front of the Northam end, to blast past Kelvin Davis and send the blues back to Portsmouth with a much welcomed point.
Southampton's run in would prove dramatic, as Reading's impeccable form continued, with 6 consecutive league wins prior to their meeting with Saints on Friday 13 April, a match that was believed by many to be the Championship title decider. Reading ran out 3–1 victors as Saints stumbled to their first home defeat in the league since mid-January and Reading celebrated going 3 points clear at the top of the table.
The Saints however were back to winning ways with a 3–1 victory away at Peterborough on Tuesday 17 April, which meant that promotion to the Premier League could be sealed with a win at Middlesbrough as West Ham had only managed a draw away to Bristol City. 4,000 away fans made the 300 mile journey to the Riverside Stadium and the celebrations started early, when Sharp netted after just 46 seconds after a square pass played unselfishly by Lambert was tapped home. However, two Boro goals saw the Saints left bitterly disappointed. It also meant that the Saints could no longer catch Reading who were confirmed as champions. But the Saints left with the knowledge that promotion could be sealed by a win on home soil against Coventry.
Promotion to the Premier league after the Saints' 7 year absence was achieved after a 4–0 demolition of relegated Coventry, with goals from Lallana, Sharp, Hooiveld, and Jose Fonte, which was his first goal of the campaign. The game also set a record attendance at the St Mary's Stadium, of 32,363 fans. Rickie Lambert finished the season as the Championship's top goalscorer with 27 league goals. This was his third 'Golden Boot' in four seasons. He also won the Championship Player of the Year award for 2011–12.
Return to the Premier League 
On 28 April 2012, a 4–0 home win over Coventry City secured the club's return to the Premier League. Southampton finished as runners-up in the Championship with 88 points, having not fallen out of the top two since their 3–1 victory over Leeds United on the opening day of the season.
After much speculation about the player, on 10 June 2012, the official club website announced the completion of the £7 million signing of Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez, Saints' first signing of their top flight return. This also broke the club's record transfer fee spent on a single player, previously £4 million for Rory Delap from Derby County. This record was then broken by the £12 million signing of Uruguayan winger/striker Gastón Ramírez from Bologna just before the transfer deadline, one of a clutch of eight new signings for the team before the transfer window closed. Another signing, Zambian forward Emmanuel Mayuka, has also excited great interested, as did the signing of Japanese striker Lee in the previous season. A difficult set of opening fixtures did not go well, Southampton conceded 24 goals in their first eight games and picked up just 4 points. This left them 18th in the table and in the relegation zone.
Southampton's form improved as the season went on, and following a 2–2 draw against Chelsea on 16 January 2013 they were placed 15th, three points clear of the relegation zone.
Southampton's results improved after Pochettino's arrival and they recorded 3-1 wins against champions Manchester City and Liverpool and a 2-1 win versus Chelsea.
On 14 May 2013 Southampton confirmed their saftey in the Premier League for at least another season after Wigan Athletic lost 4-1 to Arsenal relegating them in the process
- As of 27 April 2013
First-team squad 
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Overaged Players not in First Team 
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan 
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Academy and Under 21s 
Non-playing staff 
- Owner Katharina Liebherr
- Chairman Nicola Cortese
- Executive Director Nicola Cortese (Executive Chairman),
- Directors Brendan McGlinchey, Gareth Rogers, Les Reed
- Honorary President Terry Paine MBE
- Head of Football Development and Support Centre Les Reed
- First Team Manager Mauricio Pochettino
- First Team Assistant Manager Jesús Pérez
- First Team Coach Miguel D'Agostino
- First Team Goalkeeping Coach Antonio Jiménez Sistachs
- First Team Technical Support Coach Fran Alonso
- Elite Under 21 Coach Martin Hunter
- Development Goalkeeping Coach Vince Bartram
- Senior Squad Scout Bill Green
- International Development Scout Radhi Jaïdi
- Youth Recruitment Scout Rod Ruddick
- Academy Recruitment Coordinator Chris Welman
- Academy Manager Mathew Crocker
- Under 18 Youth Coach Jason Dodd
- Assistant Academy Manager Terry Moore
- Assistant Academy Coaches Graeme Murty, Paul Williams
- Senior Physiotherapist Matt Radcliffe
- Sports Medicine & Science Manager Mo Gimpel
- Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach Nick Harvey
Stadium and training facilities 
St Mary's Stadium has been home to the Saints since August 2001. It has a capacity of 32,689 and is one of only a handful of stadia in Europe to meet UEFA's Four Star criteria. In the 2004–05 season, attendances never fell below 30,000, although in more recent seasons attendances have inevitably been in decline. In 2012 the Saints returned to the Premier League and in doing so recorded their biggest attendance on 28 April against Coventry City of 32,363.
The stadium has also been host to a number of internationals including England's qualifying game against FYR Macedonia in 2002 where the teams drew 2–2, with David Beckham and Steven Gerrard scoring for England.
The club's previous home was The Dell, to which it moved in 1898 and at which it remained for 103 years.
The club's training facilities, known as Staplewood are located in Marchwood, on the edge of the New Forest. They have received significant investment over the last 10 years, most notably during the time Sir Clive Woodward was employed by the club between 2005 and 2006, and are now considered to be among some of the best in the country. However on 8 December 2009, it was confirmed that these facilities would be ripped down and replaced with a new "state of the art" two-storey building.
The Club also for the 2012–13 season and for the forceable future agreed a deal with Eastleigh F.C., currently of the Conference South, for the use of their stadium, The Silverlake Stadium, for The Saints' U21 team fixtures. This continues a partnership with Eastleigh that has lasted for the last decade.
On 18 October 2011, a record attendance of 32,152 watched the 1–0 victory against West Ham United, beating the previous record set on 29 December 2003 when 32,151 watched the 1–0 Premier League defeat by Arsenal. However, this was broken for the second time in the same season when 32,363 watched the 4–0 victory against Coventry on 28 April 2012.
The Saints' anthem is the popular sport tune When the Saints Go Marching In, and since the club's official nickname is "the Saints", they are one of only a few teams who do not change the original lyric.
Originally, the club used the same crest as the one used by the city itself. However during the 1970s a competition was run for fans to design a new one.
The winning design, designed by Rolland Parris, was used for around 20 years, before being modified slightly by Southampton design agency The Graphics Workshop in the 1990s for copyright reasons.
From top-to-bottom, the halo is a reference to the nickname "Saints", the ball to the nature of the club, the scarf to the fans and the team colours. The tree represents the nearby New Forest and the water Southampton's connections with the rivers, seas and oceans. Below that is a white rose – the symbol of the city which is also present on the city crest. In the mid-1990s the ball was changed from a vintage style ball (such as those used in the 1960s) to the current ball with black and white panels, for copyright reasons.
On 13 May 2010, the official crest for the 125th year anniversary was released: "The black outline and halo feature will now appear in gold, whilst the all important years 1885 and 2010 are scripted either side of the shield, with the figure 125 replacing the ball". The badge was used on Southampton's shirts for the 2010–11 season.
The Saints Academy 
Southampton runs a highly successful youth academy, with a number of teams from ages nine to 18 years. Recent products of the club's youth system include the England internationals Arsenal winger/forward Theo Walcott, Arsenal winger/midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and defender Wayne Bridge, Wales and Spurs left-winger Gareth Bale, and Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird. Other players who have come through the ranks are Nathan Dyer, Andrew Surman and Adam Lallana.
South Coast derby 
The South Coast Derby is the name given to matches between the Saints and their fierce nearby rivals, Portsmouth F.C., from the city of the same name 17 miles from Southampton. The matches are also referred to as the Hampshire Derby. Including Southern League games, there have been 70 games between the clubs, with Southampton winning 34 and Portsmouth 21.
Hagiology Publishing 
Hagiology Publishing, formed in 1998, is a collective of fans of Southampton F.C. committed to the collection and dissemination of accurate information on the history of the club. They produce books both for entertainment and reference purposes on various aspects of the club's history. The name refers to the term hagiology – the study of saints – since the club is nicknamed The Saints. Two members of the collective, Gary Chalk and Duncan Holley, also serve as the official historian and statistician to the club.
Club honours 
- Runners-up: 1983–84
- Champions: 1921–22
- Finalists: 1979
- Finalists: 1976
- Winners: 2010
- Finalists: 1992
- Finalists: 1976
- Finalists: 1975
- Winners: 1983
Most league goals 
Mick Channon, who had two spells with the club, currently holds the record for the number of Football League and Premier League goals scored for The Saints. During his times with the club between 1966 and 1977, and 1979 and 1982, he netted 185 times in league competition. The next highest scorer is Matthew Le Tissier, an attacking midfielder who spent his entire career with the club between 1986 and 2002, scoring 161 goals in 442 league appearances. He was the first midfielder to reach 100 goals in the Premier League. Third highest is winger Terry Paine, who played at The Dell between 1956 and 1974. He scored 160 goals for the club.
The full list of the club's top ten all-time Football League and Premier League scorers are:
- 185 Mick Channon 1966–1977 & 1979–1982
- 161 Matthew Le Tissier 1986–2002
- 160 Terry Paine 1956–1974
- 156 Bill Rawlings 1920–1927
- 154 George O’Brien 1959–1966
- 145 Derek Reeves 1954–1963
- 145 Eric Day 1945–1957
- 134 Ron Davies 1966–1973
- Martin Chivers 1962–1968 97
- Rickie Lambert 2009–Present 93
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)|
Seven companies have sponsored the club, thus appearing on the player's shirts, over the course of its history. The first company to do so was photocopier manufacturer Rank Xerox who sponsored the club for three years from 1980. Air Florida briefly sponsored Southampton in 1983 before Draper Tools, who have a large factory in nearby Eastleigh sponsored the club for nine years between 1984 and 1993. Millbrook based company Dimplex, who produce electrical goods such as heaters were the next brand name to appear on the club's shirts and merchandise. They began sponsoring in 1993 before the deal ended in 1995. The Sanderson Group PLC took up the mantle, for four years from 1995, also sponsoring Sheffield Wednesday at the same time.
Investment company Friends Provident were the final sponsors of the club's time at The Dell. Their deal began in 1999 and was renewed shortly before the naming of St. Mary's Stadium, to which they also bought the naming rights. However they chose not to renew either deal in 2006, after which budget airline Flybe.com stepped in.
On 2 February 2010, Southampton announced that they would be without a main shirt sponsor for the 2010–11 season for the club's 125th anniversary. Nicola Cortese said Southampton could do this due their strong financial position.
In the summer of 2011, Southampton agreed a three-year deal with aap3 to become the main club sponsor; the partnership with the Southampton based business and IT solutions provider started at the beginning of the 2011–12 season and runs until June 2014.
Former Saints players 
Club records 
Longest winning run
- 10 matches, 16 April 2011 – 20 August 2011 (League)
- 11 matches, 16 April 2011 – 20 August 2011 (All Comps)
Longest unbeaten run
- 19 matches, 5 September 1921 – 31 December 1921
Longest home winning streak
- 19 matches, 12 February 2011 – 29 November 2011 (League)
- 21 matches, 12 February 2011 – 29 November 2011 (All Comps)
Highest scoring Football League game
Most appearances Terry Paine – 815 : 1956–1974
Most goals Mick Channon – 228 : 1966–1977, 1979–1982
Most goals in one season Derek Reeves – 44 : 1959–60
- Spent: Gastón Ramírez, £12,000,000 from Bologna
- Received: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, £15,000,000 to Arsenal, payable by instalments. (£12 million down, £3 million add ons).
Record home attendance 32,363 against Coventry City, 28 April 2012
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