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Valentine's Day Massacre 1994 Style
Wednesday, 14th Feb 2018 15:27

Who was at the Dell on February 14th 1994 when Liverpool visited and Saints ent them home with their tail between their legs.

When Liverpool arrived at the Dell on Valentine's Day 1994 they were a team who were still considered one of the best in England, they had last won the title only four years earlier and it was not expected to be too long before they won another their first Premier League title.

Saints for their part were 19th in the Premier League and relegation was looking a certainty, the hated Ian Branfoot had gone a month previously and Alan Ball was now in charge, his first game had seen a win at Newcastle United, but his second at Oldham had resulted in a 2-1 defeat to relegation rivals Oldham Athletic, so Ball walked along the track towards the dugout for his first game in charge with a big task on his hands.

The game was a Monday evening and on Sky TV and it opened in explosive style Mathew Le Tissier smashed in a 20 yard screamer after only 28 seconds and then on 8 Minutes new signing the returning old boy Craig Maskell made it two.

Just before the break Maskell was fouled and Le Tiss fired home the penalty to make it a 3-0 home lead.

But if Saints fans thought that was great, within four minutes of the restart Le Tissier struck again from the spot for his hat trick after ex Saint Mark Wright had handled.

BUt if Saints fans thought that it would not be plain sailing they were wrong, as the snow got heavier Julian Dicks scored the third penalty of the game to reduce the arrears with 20 minutes left and when Rush brought the score to 4-2 with five minutes left it was all lined up for a shock with Saints reeling.

But they hung on for a famous victory that lifted them out of the bottom three.

Things would get a little beter for Saints when they beat Wimbledon in their next game, but then that was followed by 7 winless games that dragged us back into the relegation dog fight, before a couple of grandstand wins against first Norwich away 5-4 and then title chasers Blackburn 3-1.

It would still go to the last day, but Saints just about did enough to stay up by 1 point.

An epic Valentines Day victory that is still remembered by all that were there, ironically neither side is yet to win the Premier League still.

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Photo: Action Images

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underweststand added 16:22 - Feb 14
Nice reminder for the "fans" who have never bothered to read up on the Saints history.

The last 3-4 years have been some of the most successful years in the club's long history,
and we have been "punching above our weight" for much of that time.
We previously spent 27 consecutive seasons in the top tier (prior to 2005) and rarely finished in the top half , and for half of those seasons we struggled to stay in the Prem. until the last few games. Despite the disasterous start to the 1998-99 brought the best out of the squad and those fans who supported them to through those final matches.
It truly was " the Great Escape ".
IF, as I hope, we survive this season, we are better prepared now than we were then.
The bulk of the VvD fee is still untouched, and gives us a springboard to strenthen the squad for the future, by which time I also expect to see a few more of the Academy lads in the first team squad. Some of them have developed well, despite being so young.
It may take time to re-build, and much more patience is needed.

For those who have (apparantly) given up the ghost already, and will soon threaten to burn their season tickets in protest, they should read up on the Great Escape season and a tribute to those Dell fans ..all 15,000 of them... who cheered the team over the finish line and rarely a " boo" was heard. We may well be in for another finish like that.

kingolaf added 19:00 - Feb 14
Great article. Loved Alan Ball when he was down here. Got the best out of Matty.

Difference between then and now was that we genuinely were a small club continually punching above our weight to stay up. Players always gave their all.

This season is different. We have the resources, but the club don't seem to give a toss. That apathy has infected the fans. It really would be the most ridiculous relegation ever.

SaintBrock added 21:22 - Feb 14
We didn't need to read up on our history some of us lived through and suffered all of our recent history

ericofarabia added 05:40 - Feb 15
Saint Brock .... not really sure what your point is, but some of us have been through a lot more than just our recent history. I, like many of a certain age on here have been through 3 relegations, numerous relegation battles including several which were only settled on the final nail biting day of the season. In my 1st 25 years we had 3 managers, in the last 25 years ... 25 managers. If we'd turned into precious snow flake melting princesses's each time we were poor we'd all be in looney bins a long time ago. It is worth looking at our past history and seeing that with the right attitude from fans and players alike we can pull through this easily. sadly at this moment in time it would be hard to find a bigger contrast in The4-2 Valentines Day Massacre in The Snow and the pitiful pathetic display served up on Sunday against the same side.

oldeastterrace added 07:45 - Feb 15
I remember this night very well, it was snowing as i recall. My missus was not impressed that she was left at home on Valentines evening with my two week old son to look after! As for the game, it was one of those 'Dell nights' , the crowd were up for it and so were the players. As mentioned above we looked doomed at Easter, especially after a 1-0 home defeat to Man City who believe it or now were struggling then. We turned it around and pulled ourselves out of it somehow because the fans backed the club and they had a manager that they believed in!

I would just like to reply to underweststand above. The difference between the 1990's struggles and the current struggle is that the fans always believed in the 90's that we were fighting against the odds to stay up and escaping was always a real achievement!

The situation now is that the fans feel we are 'under performing' and we should be a premier league club in a much better financial state than we were then. We were well run back then but never had two pennies to rub together! Now we have massive TV money and considerable money in the bank from the sale of Van Dyke that SHOULD have been used to buy a striker and at least one centre half in the transfer window. The club FAILED abysmally in the window and that 'lack' of activity in January could go a long way towards seeing us relegated.

When you add to that the generally 'negative' tactics of the last two managers, the rumours of interference in team affairs from 'others' at the club, a chairman and board who do not seem to grasp the seriousness of our predicament and owners who say 'f--k all' to re-assure the fans about their long term plans. Is it any wonder that the fans feel flat and are resigned to our impending fete?

In short the current situation is a MILLION MILES from the relegation dogfights of the 1990's.

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