Oh, when the Saints go marching in… it’s unlikely we’ll be there to meet them; we’re just not on the same level as Southampton. The south coast club did spend a bit of time in League One. But we ended up missing them by one season. They were promoted from the third tier in summer 2011, while we were promoted into the third tier. But it wouldn’t prevent us from clocking up a first-ever meeting a year later. It came in August 2012 – and it ended in a convincing victory for the Saints.
Southampton: The Facts
St Mary's Stadium
Britannia Road, Southampton, SO14 5FP
For now, the story of where it all started for Southampton Football Club. The year is 1885 and St Mary’s Church of England Young Men’s Association are after something to fill their time. A football club comes to life, and it’s St Mary’s YMA. The name is not one that’ll last, though. There is some refining to be done; St Mary’s (1887) and Southampton St Mary’s in 1894, before all reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary is dropped in 1897. So, this is a club whose nickname refers to a part of their name that no longer exists. It sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?
The Saints win the Southern League for a second time in 1898; the first under their new moniker. Overall, they win the title six times in the period between 1894 and 1904. In 1907, there’s an appearance in the FA Cup semi-finals. Not bad for non-leaguers. And then, at last, comes a place in the League; one of the founder members of Division Three South in 1920. It takes just two seasons for them to reach Division Two, but it was back to Div Three South in 1953. After escaping the third tier again in 1960, the curve took a turn for the upward.
Now, to rattle through this. In 1966, Southampton made it to the top tier for the first time. They were there for eight years, relegated and then back within a further four years. After that, the Saints would remain in the top flight between 1979 and 2005. Let’s face it, however. If it wasn’t for Matt Le Tissier, they’d have been relegated from the Premier League much sooner. In 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1999, the Saints clung on for dear life. In 2001, their current St Mary’s home opened and a bit of a renaissance; four successive mid-table finishes.
How to get to Southampton – Travel Information – Distance: 101 miles
A relatively comfortable driving distance from Stevenage, the journey to Southampton will take around two hours on a good day. The best route is to travel anti-clockwise around the M25 and join the southbound M3, which will take you a fair whack of the way.
At Junction 14, the motorway ends and dives off in two directions for the M27 or straight on into Southampton. It is the latter option you want, and will be signposted A33. Follow this road into the city over three roundabouts, the last of which will feature a Jury’s Inn at its centre.
Continuing on the A33, bear left for St Andrew’s Road and then again for the A3024 Northam Road. The stadium will certainly be visible by now and, after 0.3 miles, take the right hand turn for the B3038 Britannia Road. This road is shut on matchdays, however.
Away fans might find it hard work to park up at the stadium or in the surrounding areas. Options include the Marina area, which is around 10 minutes on foot. Alternatively, use city centre car parks or a Park and Ride facility at Junction 8 of the M27.
Station: SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL
Services to: LONDON VICTORIA/WATERLOO
Southampton Central is the nearest station to the ground and is 1.2 miles on foot. There will be shuttle buses in operation, although walkers can do it themselves by leaving along Western Esplanade on the south side of the station.
Head up the hill to the traffic lights and go more or less straight across onto New Road. After 0.3 miles, continue onto the A3024 Northam Road, then right for Britannia Road after a further 0.3 miles.
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