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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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underweststand added 09:15 - Feb 14
Good article Nick, although I suspect that a lot of the "so-called fans" who complain about the current situation weren't even born in 1976. Aside from those regular calls for McMenemy's sacking we survived to go onto greater things. There were times in the Golden Years that followed. that our start line up looked like it came from "an old players home", rather than a Youth Academy, but we still survived.
FA Cup games are "a one-off" , a chance to make history, and go further in the most exciting football competition in the country. Right now, the team has nothing to lose.

There are not 3 points to win/lose and we need to see the very best from everyone before we re-start the Prem. programme and "park the bus" in all those away games in the hope of keeping a clean sheet and snatching a goal to win those games.

We can only think about the next game ..and this one is down to "Death or Glory".
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ThereIn76 added 09:37 - Feb 14
Tickets being cheaper and more plentiful may have something to do with it.
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saintmark1976 added 10:01 - Feb 14
Bang on the button article Nick.

I hate to admit it as it reflects my advancing years but I remember the match well.

Perhaps the sell out on Saturday reflects that there is more to football than just the Premier League, together with cheaper admission prices.

Out of interest bearing in mind that 2800 seats have been sold already could not W B A have allocated us more tickets.? I doubt very much that the game will be a sell out overall.

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petedoors1 added 11:30 - Feb 14
Here is a reader letter from the daily Echo that many of us would agree wi http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/sport/saints/15991292.READER_LETTER__I_ve_had_a_Saint
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petedoors1 added 11:32 - Feb 14
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petedoors1 added 11:32 - Feb 14
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darthvader added 11:41 - Feb 14
Saints should have taken the extra 1300 or so tickets for this I can't believe they didn't . 5th round fa cup cheaper tickets.? They would have been sold I'm sure. We took over 5000 to fulham FFS.
The extra noise we could have made could actually make a bit of a difference . Whoever made the decision not to take the extra allocation is a phucking bellend .
Let's hope we get through , play well and get a good couple of goals for us to shout and cheer about for a change. Don't forget to take balloons 🎈🎈🎈
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helpineedsomebody added 11:50 - Feb 14
dont remember much of the game as i was just going down with flu
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kingolaf added 12:12 - Feb 14
A new low for you Nick.

Catalyst, like our 1 league win in 12 against a weakened WBA team was.

Absolute horsesh*t.
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ItchenNorth added 13:21 - Feb 14
Fans travel for FA Cup games because it is a great competition. One of the few knockout competitions left in football. They also know that Cup Finals don’t come along too often, so despite poor league form, they will likely be the fans that qualify for Cup Final tickets. Even if we do get relegated, if we won an FA Cup it would be talked about forever. Those with tickets will be able to say ‘I was there’ to the envy of thousands. I can’t understand those that say that they don’t care about the FA Cup or results in the cup when league form is poor. It is a chance to win and potentially make history and any new found form in the cup can also be taken into the league.

Ask yourself this: if you had to take relegation:

Would I take relegation and a FA Cup win
Would I take relegation and a limp cup exit

I know which I would choose !
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SanMarco added 13:34 - Feb 14
ItchenNorth - I would take an FA Cup win AND survival!!

Those who say Saturday doesn't matter should imagine what a defeat at the bottom club would mean for morale.
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SAINTSNIL added 14:08 - Feb 14
It can get lower???!
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BoondockSaint added 16:09 - Feb 14
While I usually agree with you San Marco, in this instance I beg to differ: We have been losing to "bottom clubs" all year, and it has had no effect on morale.--The majority of players don't give a sh!t about the Saints or results, as they showed after losing to the Scouse.

Compare their play with the way you saw Newcastle and Huddersfield players play last week. The majority of our players have been just going through the motions all year.

if we stay up, they will not lose their spots because just surviving is good enough for the owners and board, and if the club is relegated, they are off to new clubs. So they are fine whatever happens.

It's obvious the losing culture and lack of pride of the board has infected the whole club.
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