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Saints Need To Break 17 Year Hoodoo Against Manchester United At St Mary's
Wednesday, 25th Nov 2020 10:30

Although Saints have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford twice since our return to the Premier League, we have yet to beat them at St Mary's indeed we have beaten them only once at the stadium since moving their in 2001.

Since our return to the Premier League in 2012 we have had a decent record at Old Trafford, we beat them twice in a row under Ronald Koeman and have also drawn on 3 other occasions with only two defeats making a grand total of 9 points on the road.

But contrast that with our record against them at St Mary's in the same period, that reads 0 wins, 4 draws and 3 defeats, although in recent seasons we have drawn 3 out of the last 4.

But our run of poor form goes back a long way, in the first 4 seasons at St Mary's where we met them in the Premier League, we lost 3 of those games including the final day of the season in 2004/05 when a 2-1 win for Alex Ferguson's team sent us down, this game saw disgusting scenes afterwards when Roy Keane and other United players warming down on the pitch made going down gestures to distressed Saints fans still in the ground.

Add to that 3 FA Cup defeats at the ground and in 15 visits by the Red Devils they have lost only once.

Our only win came in the 2003/04 season when a goal from James Beattie in the final minute gave us a 1-0 win.

The strangest thing was that in the final years at the Dell despite United being all conquering in the Premier League , in the final 7 years of the Dell we won three seasons in a row, all having their moments of controversy, in 95/96 the 3-1 home win saw United change their grey away kit for their blue home kit at half time, the following year it was perhaps one of the best games seen at the old Stadium, 6-3 to Saints with Roy Keane sent off and several contenders for goal of the season.

The following year saw a 1-0 win courtesy of a goal by Kevin Davies, but a nasty tackle ended his season and he was never quite the same player again afterwards.

United were also the visitors in the penultimate competitive fixture at the Dell when Stuart Gray gained his first victory as caretaker manager at the 8th attempt, an OG and a Marian Pahars effort followed by a Ryan Giggs goal giving us a 2-1 win over a United side who had romped to the League title.

But it wasn't a bad record in those final 7 seasons, 3 wins and a draw with just 3 defeats, few teams could match that in the same period.

So what went wrong at St Mary's, the first ever game against them at the new ground started well, James Beattie giving us the lead after 3 mins but went downhill after that, goals fro Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and current manager, for Sunday's game at least Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeing us off by the hour mark.

in 2002/03 something special was stirring at St Mary's but not on 1st February 2002 when United were 2-0 up through Van Nisterooy & Giggs in 22 mins and were never going to let that lead go as they romped to yet another premier League title.

2003/04 saw that 1-0 win courtesy of James Beattie and then of course 2004/05, a disaster day with Harry Redknapp failing to make his mind up whether to be indecisive or not, we took an early lead through a John O'Shea own goal, but we were soon pegged back and a 2-1 defeat saw us relegated.

It would be 7 years before United returned to St Mary's in the Premier League and ironically the closest we got to beating them in the period since then was the first visit, it was the 3rd game of the Premier League season, the first at Champions Manchester City had seen a narrow 3-2 defeat after we had lead twice, the 2nd a dour loss against Wigan at St Mary's and then United arrived a week later.

It would be another pulsating game, Rickie Lambert gave us the lead on 16 minutes, Robin Van Persie evened things up 7 mins later, in the second half Mogan Schneiderlin gave us the lead again on 55 mins and it stayed that way as the game headed towards the 90 minute mark.

With Saints holding on Robin Van Persie denied us our first win of the season with an equaliser, but worse was to come, he completed his hat trick to snatch victory for the visitors from the jaws of defeat.

Since then it has got better, United have lost their iron grip on the Premier League and a succession of United managers have arrived at St Mary's but usually failed to conquer, although we just can't seem to get that elusive win that has now been missing for over 17 years.

It is a sad fat of life that no one under the age of 20 can remember us beating Manchester United , perhaps a little older than that.

Over the years games against Liverpool and Manchester United always had that special edge to them, although we would not go as far as claiming that Manchester United fans considered Saints as rivals in the way that they hate Liverpool, Manchester City or even Leeds or the big London clubs, it has to be said we have been a thorn in their side more often than most of the rest of the League.

Whether it was back in 1973/74 when he helped send them down to the second division, albeit we couldn't save ourselves either, those of a certain age remember that game in April 1974 at the Dell when there must have been 15,000 United fans who took over Milton Road end and indeed the ground and surrounding area.

Then there was the 1976 FA Cup Final and the clash the following season where were were again a thorn in their side before they dispatched us.

In the 1980's we had several notable victories not least a 4-1 win in the League Cup that saw manager Ron Atkinson sacked and Alex Ferguson appointed, funnily enough United fans never thank us for that.

The 90's was United's time to dominate but although we inadvertently got battered at Old Trafford at the Dell it was a different story, and we got right up their noses more than once.

Now we need to beat them at home and let two generations of fans who have never seen that happen enjoy the sheer exuberance of the final whistle blowing on a home victory over them.

Ironically none of will be in the ground to see it if we achieve it on Sunday, but I will take that, i just want to see us beat them whatever the situation.

We have beaten every other Premier League team bar United at St Mary's in the past 9 seasons, albeit Brighton & Leeds United were not in the Premier League but in the promotion season of 2011/12, surely United's time has now come.

Photo: Action Images

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ElijahK added 10:37 - Nov 25
I mean out of all the times we’ve had to beat them, this certainly has to be up there as one of our best chances! I mean if it wasn’t for Ings being out injured, I’d be tempted to say that we’d be favourites, but seeing that he is I’m not as sure about it. I mean they’ve just beaten West Brom, but by the closest of margins and needed a penalty (which no surprise, as they didn’t score they got to retake), which is both good and bad as it shows that they’re certainly not at their greatest seeing how close it was with West Brom, but at the same time could be the start of their return back to form! All I can say for a fact is that it’ll certainly be an interesting game and will help both teams to see of what sort of seasons we’re going for, as if we do win this game then I can certainly see us at least getting the Europa League for next season

A1079 added 12:49 - Nov 25
A couple or so weeks ago I would have put us in a strong position and I still think we have a good chance but with Ings out and Man Utd just showing an improvement in the last couple of weeks I fancy a draw as a more likely outcome.

SanMarco added 22:47 - Nov 25
"we inadvertently got battered at Old Trafford" - a rogue autocomplete methinks. Thanks for this comprehensive account of us vs Manure. I am so old I remember that 2-5 at the Dell v George Best and the like. I do remember an excellent 3-0 win at the Dell in the early 80s. May have been in our second place season.

IanRC added 22:56 - Nov 25
The first Saints game I attended was our 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, my dad took me thinking we would get hammered and I would turn to his sport rugby. Those were in the days of Best and Charlton and it was magical thanks to Ron Davies.

saintpete01 added 06:41 - Nov 26
What a game what a result I also was lucky enough
To attend also if my memory serves me correctly
Dennis law scored fist
Then great service from John sydenam and Terry Paine
To Ron Davies secured a memorable victory

Berber added 15:34 - Nov 26
I expect that Rashford will once again be the classiest payer on their team and do for us again. But fingers crossed.

underweststand added 17:45 - Nov 26
Along with ..San Marco " and "Ian RC " above ..my boyhood memories go back even further to the 0-1 defeat in the FA Cup Semi Final at Villa Park in April 1963.
A degrading finish to an historic cup run that- whilst struggling at the bottom of Division 2 - saw us beat (the then First Division giants) Sheffield United and Notts Forest (over 3 memorable games) ..only to lose to a sloppy goal that bounced in off Denis Law's knee.

Ever since then we've nearly always been second best in games v MU and even Jose Mourinho (in his United time) felt himself lucky to come away from SMS with one point, but we never quite managed a win. Some consolation from the likes of Charlie Austin and Dusan Tadic who got us all 3 points from their visits to Old Trafford.

Sorry Ole..I have no sympathy for a club who can spend hundreds of millions every year and still can't put a decent team together...yet still "steal results ".
A win on Sunday would be a perfect birthday present for my grandson and a nice early Christmas present for all Saints fans.

SanMarco added 23:22 - Nov 26
Underweststand: I am a few years too young to remember the 63 Cup run directly but grew up on stories from my gran and dad about queuing up in the snow for tickets (probably for an earlier round than the semi but it was THAT cold winter.) It was the big story until we played Manure again 13 years later!!

SaintPaulVW added 06:10 - Nov 27
There is the possibility of a bit of football alchemy here, given we have 'form' in getting Utd managers sacked.

Beat Utd, Ole goes,.....MoPo appointed?!?

underweststand added 09:24 - Nov 27
to San Marco...I was trying to think back those 57 years (ouch)...and queueing for tickets.

The early rounds of the Cup were home matches v. York and Watford ..(none of those were big crowd pullers) but next we beat Sheffield United at home, and then came those three legendary matches v. Notts Forest. The first game (away) must have been an all ticket game, but we drew 1-1 and the replay the following Wednesday at The Dell was too short notice to sell tickets... and the gates were closed with around 30,000 . The full story of that 3-3 draw AET is too long to write about here, but the second replay at neutral White Hart Lane would need a whole chapter to tell...but we finally won 5-0 with everyone who travelled up paying on the night. I certainly remember queueing for my Semi Final ticket but that would have been in April and the snow had gone by then...so the ticket queue in the snow (?) might have been for the Sheffield home game (16th March) or for the first Forest game which was played 30th March.
Always a great disappointment that great Cup runs nearly always end up as a "damp squib ", but anyone in my generation could still recite those players names - by heart.

SanMarco added 19:18 - Nov 27
Or me dad was exaggerating underweststand!!! I think it must have been the Sheffield game. Don't think he went to the semi. Anyway, who cares if we win on Sunday...

saintpete01 added 11:22 - Nov 28
Re Utd v saints semi in 63 at villa
We had to travel to the villa to get tickets
Along with several thousand other saints fans
Happy days

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