Southampton Football Club is a professional association football club based in Southampton, Hampshire, England, which plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Their home ground since 2001 has been St Mary's Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell.
The club has been nicknamed "The Saints" since its inception in 1885 due to its history as a church football team, founded as St. Mary's Church of England Young Men's Association, and play in red and white shirts. Southampton has a long-standing rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity and both cities' respective maritime history. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast derby.
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In 1889-90 the team sported red and white quartered shirts and were known as "The Cherry and White Squares." These were changed two seasons later to halved shirts.
By 1894 the club had grown sufficiently to join the Southern League and was renamed Southampton St Mary's FC. In 1896 the "St Mary's" suffix was dropped, although the club's nickname of "the Saints" recalls its church origins. Professionals were employed and the now traditional striped shirts first appeared at this time.
2010-2011 season saw Southampton play in white with a red band diagonally from right shoulder to left hand side of waist like a sash.
After finishing as runners-up, the Saints returned to the Championship for 2011-12. They won promotion again the following season and for their return to the Premier League, a radical all-red strip was introduced.
To the surprise of many (and the discomfort of more than a few supporters) when Adidas took over from Umbro the following season the first-choice strip remained all-red with metallic gold detailing while the crest was rendered in gold and red rather than the familiar full-colour version. To the delight of supporters, striped shirts and black shorts were reinstated for the 2014-15 season, produced in house and without branding.
Originally, the club used the same crest as the one used by the city itself. However, during the 1970s a competition was run for fans to design a new one. The winning design, designed by Rolland Parris, was used for around 20 years, before being modified slightly by Southampton design agency The Graphics Workshop in the 1990s for copyright reasons.
From top-to-bottom, the halo is a reference to the nickname "Saints", the ball to the nature of the club, the scarf to the fans and the team colours. The tree represents the nearby New Forest and Southampton Common, with the water representing Southampton's connections with the rivers, seas and oceans. Below that is a white rose – the symbol of the city which is also present on the city crest. In the mid-1990s the ball was changed from a vintage style ball (such as those used in the 1960s) to the current ball with black and white panels, for copyright reasons.
On 13 May 2010, the official crest for the 125th year anniversary was released: "The black outline and halo feature will now appear in gold, whilst the all-important years 1885 and 2010 are scripted either side of the shield, with the figure 125 replacing the ball". The badge was used on Southampton's shirts for the 2010–11 season.
The South Coast Derby is the name given to matches between the Saints and their fierce nearby rivals, Portsmouth F.C., from the city of the same name, just over 18 miles from Southampton.
The matches are also referred to as the Hampshire Derby. Including Southern League games, there have been 70 games between the two clubs, with Southampton winning 34 and Portsmouth 21.
Matthew Paul Le Tissier (born 14 October 1968) is a football television presenter and former professional footballer. He represented England at international level. He works as a football pundit for Sky Sports and is the honorary president of Guernsey F.C. Le Tissier spent his entire professional club career with Southampton and won eight caps for the England national team before turning to non-League football in 2002; his loyalty garnered special affection from Southampton's fans who nicknamed him "Le God". A creative attacking midfielder with exceptional technical skills, Le Tissier is the second-highest ever scorer for Southampton behind Mick Channon and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1990. He was the first midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League. He is notable for his record at scoring penalty kicks – converting from the spot 47 times from 48 attempts – and is considered one of the greatest ever from the 12-yard spot.
Francis Vincent Benali (born 30 December 1968) is an English former professional footballer and coach who spent most of his playing career at Southampton. Benali made his first team debut on 1 October 1988, coming off the bench against Derby County, in a 0-0 draw at The Dell. His first start came soon after on the 25 October 1988 at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-1 win. He soon became a mainstay in the Saints team, going on to make a total of 389 appearances for the club, including 243 Premier League appearances. His only FA Premier League goal came on 13 December 1997 with a header from a Matthew Le Tissier free-kick against Leicester City at The Dell. Benali was named as one of "Southampton's Cult Heroes," in a book by Jeremy Wilson in October 2006.
Rickie Lee Lambert (born 16 February 1982) is an English former professional footballer. Lambert was known for his large stature and physical performances, drawing comparisons with former Southampton player Matt Le Tissier for his ability in front of goal and penalty record. Lambert proved a key signing for Southampton, becoming their top scorer as they were promoted to the Championship from League One in 2011 and to the Premier League the following season, scoring 117 goals for the team across all competitions.
Michael Roger Channon (born 28 November 1948) is an English former professional footballer who played as a striker, most notably for Southampton, and went on to represent the English national team in the 1970s. Scoring over 250 goals in his career, he also became known for his trademark windmill goal celebration. Channon stayed loyal to Southampton despite obvious concerns for his international chances and was rewarded in 1976 which was a special year for Channon. Southampton were still in the Second Division but nevertheless enjoyed a dream run to the FA Cup final where they played Manchester United. Southampton won 1–0, with Channon playing a part in the winning goal scored late in the game by Bobby Stokes. It was his first domestic honour in the game.
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