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Saints: timeline

1952-53

Saints endure the first relegation in their history – to Division Three (South).   

1948-49

Saints finish the season third – denied promotion by one point.

1949-50

Saints finish the season fourth – denied promotion on goal average!  

1945-46

The FA Cup is re-introduced but league football remains regionalized. Saints compete in League South, with the likes of Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth.

The championship is won by Second Division Birmingham City.

1950-51

31 OCTOBER

The Dell’s floodlights – the first permanent instillation at a British football ground – are unveiled for an exhibition match against Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic.

1951-52

1 OCTOBER

The Dell becomes the first venue to host a competitive soccer match under floodlights in the UK: a Football Combination fixture between  Southampton Reserves and Tottenham Hotspur Reserves. Spurs won one-nil.

SUMMER

Saints tour Brazil and fail to overawe their hosts.

1953-54

Saints finish sixth in Division Three (South)

1954-55

Saints finish third in Division Three (South)  – 11 points behind champions Bristol City – there is only one promotion place.

1946-47

The Football League is reintroduced, Saints finish the season 14th in Division Two.

1947-48

Saints finish the season third in Division Two – pipped for promotion by four points.

1955-56

3 SEPTEMBER

Saints defeated 3-2 by Northampton Town at The Dell.


Manager George Roughton resigns to be replaced by reserve team coach and former player Ted Bates.

28 APRIL

Saints finish the season 14th, having won 3-1 at Walsall.

4 MAY

Saints finish the season fourth in Division Three (South) after defeating Newport County 3-0 at The Dell

1960-61

Saints finish  eighth in Division Two .

1961-62

Saints finish sixth in Division Two

20 MAY

The 1962-63 season ends, 19 days behind schedule.

Saints defeat Division Two champions Stoke City 2-0 at The Dell, Terry Paine scoring both goals.

1956-57

16 MARCH

The 17 year-old Terry Paine makes his debut in a 3-3 home draw with Brentford.

1957-58

The Football League decree that Division Three (North) and Division Three (South) will be merged at the end of the season. Top 12 in each division to join the new Division Three and bottom 12 to become founder members of Division Four.


Saints complete the season in sixth place.

1958-59

Saints finish first Division Three season 14th in the new Division Three

Ted Bates places 14 players on the transfer list.

1959-60

FA Cup Third Round: Saints defeat First Division Manchester City 5-1 at Maine Road.  

30 APRIL

Saints defeat Bradford City at The Dell and clinch the Third Division Championship, three points ahead of Norwich City having scored 106 goals in 46 matches and conceded 75.

1962-63

22 DECEMBER

Saints’ Division Two fixture at Bury is postponed because of fog, one of 16 games called off or abandoned on the day.

It’s the Big Freeze!

23 FEBRUARY

Saints lose 1-0 at Preston North End, in their first League match since Boxing Day.

8 APRIL

FA Cup Sixth Round second replay: Saints defeat First Division Nottingham Forest 5-0 at White Hart Lane. Attendance 42,256 – mostly from Southampton!

27 APRIL

FA Cup semi-finals: Saints defeated 1-0 by eventual Cup winners Manchester United at Villa Park.

1963-64

27 APRIL

Saints end the season with a 6-1 defeat of Rotherham United at The Dell, taking their goals for column to 100!

They finish fifth – 15 points behind runners-up Sunderland (two points for a win) .

1965-66

27 April

Saints draw 0-0 at Manchester City and are promoted to Division One for the first time in their history.



30 JULY

England win the World Cup

The rise and fall and  rise of . . .  1945–1966

Charlie Wayman was Saints’ brightest star of the immediate post-War era. Bought from Newcastle United for an astounding £10,000, he scored 77 goals in 107 matches over three seasons before being transferred to Preston North End. His departure was followed by a steep decline in Saints’ fortunes.    

BELOW: the 1951 Census and Saints’ 29-year residency in Division Two inspired this Orf cartoon in the Football Echo.

Saints’ Henry Horton celebrates his late equaliser at Bloomfield Road, in the 5th Round of the 1952-53 FA Cup. Blackpool defeated Saints 2-1 in the replay at The Dell.

BELOW: Saints, ’65-66

Enthusiastic Saints fans at Villa Park, where a disappointing Saints were defeated 1-0 by Manchester United.

Saints were handed an opportunity for instant revenge when the third round draw the following year delivered United to The Dell. Saints lost 3-2 after taking a 2-0 lead into half-time.

Saints ’59-60, Third Division Champions

As seen in the Football Echo: Orf portraits of Bryn Elliott and Sid Cann.

Bryn put in eight seasons as a half-back at The Dell,

Mr Cann was promoted from physiotherapist to manager in 1950. An undoubtedly clever man, he was not a success.  



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