Southampton FC was founded in 1885 and play their home games at St. Mary's Stadium. The stadium opened in 2001 and has a capacity of 32589, which makes it the biggest stadium in the south of England, outside of London. The stadium was built to replace 'The Dell', where Southampton played between 1898 and 2001. The current manager is Claude Puel, who is managing in the Premier League for the first time this season after successful spells with Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice in his native France. Southampton's nickname is 'The Saints', and the team plays in red shirts with thin white stripes, red shorts, and red and white socks.
"The Saints mean a lot to me. Don't forget that I was with Southampton from nine years of age until I was 17, so they are always going to be a club close to my heart. And I still have so many close friends on the south coast." Gareth Bale, ex-Southampton player.
Southampton have played in the Premier League for a total of 16 seasons, they have been relegated once, in 2004-05, but were promoted back to the Premier League in 2011/2012. They reached the Premier League after back to back promotions from the third and second divisions of English football. In each of those promotion seasons, Rickie Lambert (now with West Brom) was Southampton's top scorer, before moving to Liverpool. Until 2014/15 when they finished 7th, the highest Southampton had ever finished in the Premier League was 8th place in 2002-2003 and 2013-2014 but they did finish 2nd in the league in 1983-84, which is their highest ever finish in the top division. Southampton have won one major trophy in their history; they won the FA Cup in 1976. In the final, they beat Manchester United 1-0 in one of the greatest ever FA Cup shocks, as Southampton were a second division team at that time.
Southampton’s strongest rivalry is with Portsmouth, which is another city very close to Southampton on the south coast of England. The first league game between Southampton and Portsmouth was played in 1920 and won 2-0 by Southampton. There probably won't be another league match for some time, as Portsmouth are currently playing in League 2, which is the fourth level of English football.
The club has been nicknamed “The Saints” since the club was founded in 1885. This is because it was founded as a church football team and was originally called St Mary’s Young Men’s Association. The club was renamed Southampton F.C. after the club won the Southern League in 1897, but the nickname has endured.
In 2015/16, Southampton finished 6th in the Premier League, their best ever Premier League finish, after a fantastic season. Southampton also qualified for the Europa League. Italian international, Graziano Pelle and Senegalese international Sadio Mane were top scorers, with 11 goals each. Both players have left the club this summer along with last season's manager - Ronald Koeman. Puel will be hoping to rebuild the Southampton squad in the transfer market and has already bought Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Bayern Munich. The Saints will need to make quite a few new signings this season if they want to improve on last season's performances. Will they be able to continue their impressive progress?
Prediction 2016/17: 15th
Key player: Dusan Tadic
Did you know......?
Rickie Lambert scored all 34 penalties he took for Southampton!
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