|Nickname(s) The Saints|
Owner Katharina Liebherr
Manager Claude Puel
Training ground Staplewood
|Ground Capacity 32,505|
Chairman Ralph Krueger
Arena/Stadium St Mary's Stadium
CEO Gareth Rogers (Jan 2014–)
|Full name Southampton Football Club|
Founded 21 November 1885; 131 years ago (1885-11-21) as St. Mary's Y.M.A.
Location Southampton, United Kingdom
Parent organization St Mary's Football Group Limited
Southampton Football Club /saʊθˈæmptən, -hæmptən/ is a professional association football club based in Southampton, Hampshire, England, which plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football.
- Foundation and Southern League
- Joining the Football League
- Reaching the First Division and cup win
- Return to First Division
- Southampton in the Premier League
- Outside the top flight
- Return to the Premier League
- Current squad
- Out on loan
- The Saints Academy
- Player records
- Stadium and training facilities
- South Coast derby
- Club honours
Their home ground since 2001 has been St Mary's Stadium, before which they were based at 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, and play in red and white shirts. Southampton 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. They returned after a seven-year absence, and have played there ever since.
Foundation and Southern League
Southampton were founded at St. Mary's Church, 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 frequently 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.
For the start of their League career, Saints signed several new players on professional contracts, including Charles Baker, Alf Littlehales and Lachie Thomson from Stoke and Fred Hollands from Millwall. 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. During this time, they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, to the northwest 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. The club 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.
Joining the Football League
After World War I, Saints joined the newly formed Football League Third Division 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 the Second Division.
The 1922–23 season was a unique "Even Season" – 14 wins, 14 draws and 14 defeats for a total of 42 points, or one point per game. Goals for and against statistics were also equal and the team finished in mid-table.
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 at Fratton Park during World War II 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.
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 Second Division 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 and cup win
In 1966, when Ted Bates’ team were promoted to the First Division as runners-up, with Martin Chivers scoring 30 of Saints' 85 league goals.
For the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season. 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, Bates stood down to be replaced by his assistant Lawrie McMenemy. The Saints were one of the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974.
Under McMenemy's management, Saints started to rebuild in the Second Division, capturing players such as Peter Osgood, Jim McCalliog, Jim Steele and Peter Rodrigues (captain) and in 1976, Southampton reached the FA Cup Final, playing Manchester United at Wembley, and beat much-fancied United 1–0 with a goal from Bobby Stokes. The following season, they played in Europe again in the Cup Winners' Cup, reaching Round 3 where they lost 2–3 on aggregate to Anderlecht.
Return to First Division
In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in the Second Division (behind Bolton Wanderers) and returned to the First Division. 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 where they acquitted themselves well, losing 3–2 to Nottingham Forest.
In 1980, McMenemy made his biggest 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 goal-scorer Ted MacDougall, (who still holds the record for the largest number of goals in an FA Cup game – nine – for Bournemouth against Margate in an 11–0 win), MacDougall's strike partner at Bournemouth and Norwich City 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. The following season, Kevin Keegan helped lift the club to the top of the First Division. Southampton led the league for over two months, taking top spot on 30 January 1982 and staying there (apart from one week) until 3 April 1982. But in a disappointing end to the season, in which Keegan was hampered by a back injury, Southampton won only two of their last nine games and finished seventh. The winners of a wide-open title race were Keegan's old club Liverpool, who were crowned champions on the final day of the season. Keegan scored 26 of Southampton's 72 goals that season, but was then sold to Newcastle.
Southampton continued to progress under McMenemy's stewardship, and with a team containing Peter Shilton (the England goalkeeper), Nick Holmes, David Armstrong, striker Steve Moran and quick winger Danny Wallace reached their highest ever league finish as runners-up in 1983–84 (three points behind the champions Liverpool) as well as reaching the semi-final of the FA Cup losing 1–0 to Everton at Highbury Stadium. McMenemy then added experienced midfielder Jimmy Case to his ranks.
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 again qualified for the UEFA Cup.
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, who broke into the first team in the 1986–87 season. 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. Another exciting young player to break into the Southampton team just after Le Tissier was Alan Shearer, who at the age of 17 scored a hat-trick against Arsenal in a league match in April 1988. Shearer was a first team regular by 1990, and stayed with Southampton until July 1992, when he was sold to Blackburn Rovers for a national record of more than £3 million. He then became the most expensive footballer in the world when Blackburn sold him to Newcastle for £15 million in 1996. He also scored 30 times for England internationally.
Southampton in the Premier League
Southampton were founding members of the Premier League in 1992–93, but spent most of the next ten seasons struggling against relegation. 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. Former Liverpool and Rangers manager Graeme Souness, was brought in, signing foreign players such as 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, being replaced by Dave Jones who had won promotion to Division One with Stockport County as well as reaching the League Cup semi-finals.
In 1998–99, they were rooted to the bottom of the table for much of the first half of the season but 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, having been playing in the Dell since 1898. The stadium had been converted to an all-seater format earlier in the decade, but had a capacity of less than 16,000 and was unsuitable for further expansion.
During the 1999–2000 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 manager Glenn Hoddle. Hoddle helped keep Southampton well clear of the Premier League 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 in a 3–2 win against Arsenal. Gray was sacked after a poor start to the following season, and he was replaced by ex-Coventry City manager Gordon Strachan, who steered Southampton to safety and a secure 11th-place finish.
In 2002–03, Southampton finished eighth in the league and finished 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. Strachan resigned in March 2004 and within eight months, two different managers – Paul Sturrock and Steve Wigley – had come and gone. Chairman Rupert Lowe risked the ire of Saints fans when he appointed Harry Redknapp as manager on 8 December 2004, just after his resignation at South Coast rivals Portsmouth. He brought in a number of new signings, including his son Jamie in the attempt to survive relegation. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on the last day of the season, ending 27 successive seasons of top flight football for the club. Their relegation was ironically confirmed by a 2–1 home defeat to Manchester United, who had been on the receiving end of many upsets by Southampton over the years, namely in the 1976 FA Cup final and since then on a number of occasions in the league, as well as inflicting a heavy defeat on them in a November 1986 League Cup tie which cost United manager Ron Atkinson his job.
Lowe and Southampton continued to make headlines after former England Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward joined the club—eventually being appointed technical director in June 2005.
Outside the top flight
In November 2005, early in the club's first season in the Football League Championship, manager Harry Redknapp resigned to rejoin Portsmouth. After a brief period of caretaker management George Burley was appointed to the post of Head Coach to work alongside Sir Clive Woodward, as Director of Football. At one point during the 2005–06 season, Southampton were in danger of a second successive relegation but their form improved during the final weeks of the season for the team to finish in a secure 12th place.
Rupert Lowe resigned as Chairman in June 2006. There were changes to the membership of the Board and the new chairman was Jersey-based businessman Michael Wilde, who had become the club's major shareholder. On the pitch, the good form which secured Southampton's Championship status in 2005–06 was carried through to the start of the 2006–07 season. 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 performing well. Southampton finished in sixth place, the last play-off position. They lost the two-leg of playoff semi-final to Derby County on penalties at the end of the second leg.
During the 2006–07 season, there were indications that there were financial difficulties with the board seeking to secure new investment in the club. In February 2007, Michael Wilde stepped down as chairman to be replaced by local businessman, Leon Crouch as "acting chairman". Crouch retained that role until 21 July 2007.
In the 2007–08 season, George Burley revealed that players such as Gareth Bale and Kenwyne Jones had to be sold to stop the club going into administration and that failing to achieve promotion had put the club in serious financial difficulty. Burley left the club in January 2008 to take over as Scotland manager. After another short period of caretaker management, Southampton appointed Nigel Pearson as manager in February 2008. Under Pearson's management, Southampton narrowly avoided relegation by beating Sheffield United 3–2 on the final day of the season.
In July 2008, the board members, bar one, resigned allowing Rupert Lowe and Michael Wilde to return; Wilde as chairman of Southampton Football Club and Rupert Lowe as Chairman of Southampton Leisure Holdings plc and under their leadership the club entered 2008/09,their third season in the Championship. Although Pearson kept the team up, the Southampton board did not renew his contract due to financial constraints. Under Michael Wilde and Rupert Lowe 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.
In January 2009, Poortvliet resigned with the club one place from bottom in the Championship, with Mark Wotte taking over managerial duties.
In April 2009, Southampton's parent company was placed in administration. A 10-point penalty was imposed but as the team was already being relegated due to finishing one place from bottom of the Football League Championship this points deduction was to apply to the 2009/10 season.
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. The football club was placed in administration for which the Football League imposed a 10-points deduction which would take effect in the next season. The 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.
In June 2009, administrator Mark Fry confirmed negotiations with two groups of investors but that no group had an exclusivity deal and potential buyers would need 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 but subsequently it was reported that the Le Tissier-backed Pinnacle Consortium had withdrawn their offer for the club. At this point it was announced that a mystery overseas consortium were close to a deal.
In 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. On 17 July 2009, the club confirmed the appointment of Alan Pardew as the new first-team manager. The Saints made their first big signing under Liebherr, striker Rickie Lambert who was purchased on 10 August 2009 from fellow League One side Bristol Rovers. Liebherr also brought in Italian businessman Nicola Cortese to look after the club's business interests on his behalf.
Southampton started the 2009/10 season in the third tier of English football for the first time in 50 years with −10 points. This was within six years of being FA Cup runners-up, UEFA Cup participants and the eighth placed team in the Premier League. The points deduction meant the team started the season in bottom place but under Pardew's management and with new players they gradually climbed the table through the season. In March 2010, Southampton won their first trophy since 1976 when they defeated Carlisle United 4–1 at Wembley to claim the Football League Trophy. Southampton finished the season in 7th place, 7 points from the last play-off position.
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 Y.M.A. 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, although 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. Southampton achieved promotion to the Championship on 7 May 2011 with a 3–1 victory over Walsall.
On return to the Championship, Southampton made a strong start to the season, winning their first four league games for the first time in their history (this also established a club record of 10 consecutive league victories following a successful spell at the end of the previous League One season). Southampton soon secured their best start to a season for 75 years when they beat Nottingham Forest 3–2 at home, 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, setting a new club record.
On 13 April, Southampton lost 3–1 at home to fellow-challengers for promotion Reading in a match which effectively decided the Championship title. This was the Saints' first home defeat in the league since mid-January. The team however confirmed promotion to the Premier League with a 4–0 defeat of relegated Coventry, with goals from Adam Lallana, Billy Sharp, Jos Hooiveld and José Fonte. The game set a record attendance at St Mary's Stadium at 32,363 fans. Rickie Lambert finished the season as the Championship's top goalscorer with 27 league goals, his third "Golden Boot" in four seasons. He also won the Championship Player of the Year award.
Return to the Premier League
Southampton returned to the Premier league for season 2012–13 initially under manager, Nigel Adkins. Substantial sums were spent to strengthen the playing squad with a clutch of eight new signings for the team before the transfer window closed. Early in the season, Adkins was sacked and replaced by Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino. After his arrival, Southampton recorded some impressive results, with home wins against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Southampton finished the season in 14th place, four places above the relegation zone, with 41 points.
The club was active again in the transfer market in preparation for next season. Southampton improved on their position in the final league table, ending the season in eighth place, with 56 points.
Pochettino departed the club in the close season for Premier League rivals Tottenham. The club subsequently appointed Ronald Koeman as his replacement on 16 June 2014, signing a three-year deal.
At the end of the 2013–14 season, Southampton made a number of high-profile sales – including Rickie Lambert, captain Adam Lallana and Lovren all joining Liverpool for estimated fees of £4 million, £25 million and £20 million respectively, left-back Luke Shaw to Manchester United for a club record fee in the region of £27 million, and right-back Calum Chambers joined Arsenal for approximately £16 million.
The club replaced the departing players with a number of signings including the Serbian midfielder Dušan Tadić, from Dutch side Twente, and Italian striker Graziano Pellè from Feyenoord. Chelsea left-back Ryan Bertrand was also recruited, initially on a season-long which was eventually converted to a full purchase. Other players brought in were goalkeeper, Fraser Forster, for £10 million from Celtic, Romanian defender Florin Gardoș from Steaua București, and Irish striker Shane Long from Hull City. Southampton also signed Senegalese winger Sadio Mané from Red Bull Salzburg for £10 million and Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld on a season-long loan from Atlético Madrid.
The club earned several new accolades in the 2014–15 season: A record 8–0 victory over Sunderland in October 2014, and their first league victory since 1988 at Old Trafford against Manchester United in January 2015, after Dušan Tadić scored the only goal of the game. In their final home game of the season, a 6–1 victory against Aston Villa, Sadio Mané scored three goals in the space of 176 seconds, making it the fastest hat trick in the history of the Premier League. The club finished seventh, their highest ever Premier League rank, with 60 points. The club qualified for the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League following Aston Villa's 4–0 defeat to Arsenal in the 2015 FA Cup Final, as Arsenal had already secured a place in the UEFA Champions League. Despite securing 3–0 and 2–0 victories home and away respectively against Vitesse in the Europa League, the club failed to make it past the playoff stage after a 1–1 draw and 1–0 loss home and away respectively to Midtjylland, which resulted in 2–1 goal aggregate and consequential elimination.
Over the next transfer window, Southampton sold Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool for an estimated £12.5 million and Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United for an estimated £27 million. The club signed Dutch centre back Virgil van Dijk for an estimated £13 million from Celtic, as well as right back Cuco Martina and Spanish defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu. Steven Caulker and Maarten Stekelenburg were signed on loan from Queens Park Rangers and Fulham, respectively.
On 2 December 2015, the club endured their biggest defeat in three years after losing 6–1 to Liverpool at home in the quarter-finals of the League Cup. Fraser Forster, who had been absent since March 2015 due to injury, returned to the main squad in a home game against Watford on 13 January 2016, which ended in a 2–0 victory. The club later signed striker Charlie Austin for £4 million, who debuted in an away game against Manchester United, scoring the only goal of the game at the 87 minute mark to secure Southampton a back-to-back league victory at Old Trafford, a feat last achieved in 1969. Southampton also made headlines following a 3–2 victory over Liverpool at St. Mary's on 20 March 2016, despite Liverpool leading 2–0 after just 22 minutes and with Southampton scoring all three goals in the final 30 minutes. Southampton once again set new records for the club at the end of the season, finishing in sixth place, their highest yet, with 63 points. They once again qualified for the Europa League, although this time immediately entered the group stages, as opposed to the playoff rounds.
On 14 June 2016, manager Ronald Koeman left Southampton to join Everton. On 23 June, Victor Wanyama left to join Tottenham for a fee believed to be around £12 million and on 28 June, Sadio Mané left to join Liverpool for a fee of around £34 million but which could rise to £38 million with add-ons. On 25 June, Southampton announced the signing of Nathan Redmond from Norwich for approximately £10 million, while on 30 June, the club appointed Claude Puel as its new manager on a three-year contract. Eric Black was named his assistant manager and Pascal Plancque his assistant first team coach. On 11 July, Graziano Pellé left to join Shandong Luneng for an estimated fee of £13 million and on the same day Southampton signed Pierre-Emile Højbjerg from Bayern München for £12.8 million.
Off the pitch, in December 2016, Southampton became implicated in the United Kingdom football sexual abuse scandal after former players Dean Radford and Jamie Webb told the BBC about incidents they said happened when they were in their teens. Four, later six, players alleged abuse by an ex-Southampton employee, Bob Higgins, who was still working in football at non-league Fleet Town.
Current squadAs of 31 January 2017
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Players (excluding scholars) who will qualify as U23s in season 2016–17 (i.e. born on or after 1 January 1993) and who are outside the first team squad.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
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 England internationals Adam Lallana, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wayne Bridge and Luke Shaw, Wales winger Gareth Bale and Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird.
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
Most goals in one match Albert Brown – 7 : against Northampton Town, 28 December 1901
Youngest player Theo Walcott– 16 years 143 days. Against Wolverhampton Wanderers, 6 August 2005
Highest transfer fees
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. The stadium has also been host to a number of international games. The ground's record attendance is 32,363, set in a game between Southampton and Coventry City in April 2012.
From 1898 to 2001 Southampton played their home games at The Dell. The purpose-built stadium was redeveloped a number of times through its 103-year history, with two of the stands being completely rebuilt after fires and in 1950 it became the first ground in England to have permanent floodlighting installed. Following the Taylor report The Dell was converted to an all-seated stadium and, with a capacity of approximately 15,000, became the smallest ground in England's top flight, precipitating a move to a new home. Prior to The Dell the club's home grounds were the Antelope Ground, from 1887 to 1896, and the County Cricket Ground, from 1896 to 1898.
The club's training facilities, Staplewood, are located in Marchwood on the edge of the New Forest. The current facilities were opened in November 2014, at a cost of almost £40m. The main building was named after the club's late owner, Markus Liebherr.
For the 2012–13 season, and for the foreseeable future, the club 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.
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 Southampton Common, with the water representing 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.
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 just over 18 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.
Ten 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. Flybe.com was shortly followed by aap3, a business that specializes in IT engineering.
On 9 May 2014, Southampton announced a two-year deal with local based global consumer electronics firm Veho to become the main club sponsor from 1 July 2014.
On 8 June 2016, with Veho's sponsorship contract expired, Virgin Media were announced as the new club sponsors after signing a three-year deal.
Longest winning run
Longest unbeaten run
Longest home winning streak
Highest scoring Football League game
Record home attendance 32,363 against Coventry City, 28 April 2012