Southampton Football Club History 1918-1951
Saturday, 8th Sep 2007 16:02
Football League:- After the Great War Saints only played one season in the Southern League. Then, along with the rest of the first division, they applied en masse to join the Football League,Saints Football League career had begun.
The Third Division was thus formed for the 1920-21 season and Saints were the first side to become runners-up. Sadly only the champions were promoted back then. The following term Division Three (South) was instituted, with the formation of the Third Division (North). Saints squeezed Plymouth Argyle out of first place on goal average after defeating Newport County 5-0 at the Dell in the ultimate game of the season.
The Second Division:- Having reached Division Two Saints stayed there until the abortive 1939-40 season, which was abandoned after three games due to the outbreak of World War Two. In that period of sixteen years they rarely threatened to move either up or down, despite featuring some remarkable players. These included Tom Parker, Arthur Dominy, Bill Rawlings, Fred Titmuss and Ted Drake. The most significant signing, with the benefit of hindsight, was that of that of the young Eddie Bates in 1936, brought to the Dell by Tom Parker when he left Norwich City to manage Southampton.
Nearly up:- Bill Dodgin took up the managerial reigns in 1946, after an eventful war which saw The Dell bombed. Saints finished in mid-table and were looking fairly certain to finish similarly placed the following term until Charlie Wayman arrived from Newcastle in November. He was an instant hit with the supporters and the back of the net, scoring seventeen goals and steering Saints into, an ultimately tragic, third place.
In both 1948-49 and '49-50 Saints missed out on promotion by a whisker: 0.038 goal average in the latter case, by which time Sid Cann was manager. His promising start turned sour that summer when Charlie Wayman was reluctantly granted a transfer to Preston North End and Saints slumped back into pre-War form. Sid Cann was prevailed upon to resign in October 1951, and, after a period when a committee of players was set up to advise the board on team selection Exeter City Manager George Roughton was brought in to fill the hot seat.
Photo: Action Images
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