FA Cup A Distraction For Saints Supporters
Wednesday, 14th Feb 2018 08:49
It was 42 years ago today that 12,000 Saints supporters travelled to West Brom for a 5th round FA Cup Tie that was the catalyst for the revival of Southampton Football Club, could this be the case again.
On the morning of Saturday 14th February 1976, there could not have been one Saints supporter who could have dreamed of what the next three months and indeed decade would hold, yet over 12,000 Saints fans were enthused to make the trip up to the Hawthorns in what was the biggest travelling army from the Dell to an away fixture since the late 1960's
There are many comparisones to be drawn from that season and this, the manager Lawrie McMenemy was far fro popular, having taken Saints down in his first season, strugged in the second tier the following year and now despite the likes of Mike Channon and Peter Osgood in the side, Saints were on the fringes of promotion rather than up there with the front runners.
Then as now there was an air of despondency around the club with dwindling crowds and disenchantment rife, but there was something in the air and looking back it's hard to fathom why so many went to this game, indeed there were probably only around 2,000 less Saints fans in the Hawthorns that day than had been at the Dell for the last home game 2 weeks previously when 14,294 turned up to watch us play Oldham.
The FA Cup s much maligned these days, but it seems not with Saints supporters, for the crunch relegation battle with West Brom only a fortnight ago there were several hundred seats empty in the away section, but now only a fortnight later all 2,800 seats have been sold out with five days to go before the game.
So like 1976 the puzzle is why a lot more Saints fans are willing to go up to the Hawthorns for this FA Cup game than were willing totravel to the league game two weeks ago, a game that was a lot more important in the grand scheme of things than this one.
Perhaps it's several reasons, perhaps it is just the distraction of getting away from the League woes, perhaps its that Saints fans are realising that if we win this one and we are only one game away from a Wembley semi final, or maybe some are waking up to the fact that we need to forget the issues for a minute and just get behind the team for the final months of the season !
I don't know, probably a combination of all three, but the truth is there are more Saints fans going than did so two weeks ago and that although good is also strange.
But although the allocation will only be around a quarter of the travelling support of 76, that is a downside of the modern game, but hopefully it will give the team it's full backing and like yesteryear help the revival of the team in both League and cup.
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