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Saints: timeline

An in depth programme feature – 1962-63 season.

Actually, George O’Brien was a phenomenal striker from the inside-right position and a perfect foil for the creative genius that was Terry Paine

Terry Paine got his fourth England cap at Wembley on 23 October 1963, against the Rest of the World. The match was to celebrate the centenary of the Football Association. Terry scored in the 2-1 home victory.  

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Ted’s appointment triggered a gradual improvement. Saints finished the 1955-56 season 14th in Division Three (South). It took time for him to rebuild the team and the bank’s confidence in the Club, but that is what transpired over the first five years of his tenure. Hindsight identifies the 1956-57 season as the turning point of Saints’ fortunes, with the debuts of two local lads who would dictate Ted’s tactics for more than a decade: Terry Paine and John Sydenham.    

Ted eventually piloted Saints back to Division Two as Division Three champions in 1960, with Derek Reeves leading the attack. Ably assisted from the wings by Paine and Sydenham he scored 39 of Saints’ 106 goals that season. Reeves’s tally remains a record for the tier. Saints’ goals-for column is not a record; but their defensive record is: the 75 goals against remains the worst defensive performance of any promoted side in the history of the Football League.

Saints maintained their remarkable scoring rate in Division Two. Ted had a talent for spotting players who could make the best of the opportunities provided by Paine and Sydenham. Following the Reeves’ tradition George O’Brien and Old Tauntonian Martin Chivers were both leading goalscorers in Division Two; in ’64-65 and ’65-66 respectively.

Ted’s Southampton was first and foremost about goals. They were never in short supply at either end. In the space of four days in September 1965 Saints lost 5-1 at Coventry City and then massacred Wolverhampton Wanderers 9-3 at The Dell.

The major feature of the ’65-66 season was an injury plague that could have halted a war, never mind a promotion campaign. At the death, with Chivers carrying a back injury, it was Terry Paine’s goals that clinched First Division status. He struck nine times in the last 11 matches – a respectable tally for a winger.

Saints’ last act in Division Two was confronting Manchester City at Maine Road. City were already champions. Saints needed to avoid a 6-0 defeat to pip Coventry City for promotion on goal average. They got a goalless draw.

Younger supporters, having so recently experienced Saints’ return to the Premiership from League One in successive season under Nigel Adkins might feel that Ted’s achievement, which took 11 seasons, lacks a certain sensation factor, but Ted started out with a poor team, small gates; no transfer kitty; an antiquated stadium; and a cynical supporter base. The belief that the directors did not want to see their club in the First Division was widespread.  

When Saints did reach Division One, they had a useful side with two outstanding wingers and the financial reserves to make a splash in the transfer market. Ted blew most of it on a callow centre-forward with a few caps for Wales and no First Division experience.     

Ted Bates was appointed manager in time for the fixture at Newport County on Thursday 8 September 1955. The question is: why Ted Bates?

The teenage Edric Thornton Bates had followed Tom Parker to The Dell from Norwich City in May 1937, former Saint Parker having been lured from Carrow Road to manage Saints the previous February. A brave, and decisive goalscoring inside-forward, young Eddie would play in every position for the Saints at one time or another.

The veteran Ted graduated from player-coach to trainer in December 1952 having already acquired FA coaching qualifications and gained experience training local schoolchildren and clubs, including Southampton University. Saints reserves, with Ted now established as “2nd team coach & trainer” won the Combination Cup in 1954.

One explanation for Ted’s appointment is that he had demonstrated a lot of potential in a short time. Add to this his loyalty to the Club and the fact that he, and his wife Mary (who had been the Saints’ Assistant Secretary), were well known to the directors, who could be confident that Ted was unlikely to prove in anyway demanding or difficult. Conversely: the Club had run out of luck and money, Ted was available on a reasonable wage and, if he proved a disaster, he would not cost a fortune to get rid of.    

LEFT: Tony Knapp, Saints centre-half and skipper during the 1965-66 promotion season.

RIGHT: John Sydenham, a key player in Saints’ promotions of 1960 and ’66.

Three stellar attackers from early in the ’57-58 season. Johnny Walker was transferred to Reading that December; Derek Reeves ended the season with 31 League goals and Terry became a living legend.  

Arthur Palmer (known to Football Echo readers as Orf) tackled the life of Ted Bates in February 1948, when Ted was still Charlie Wayman’s strike partner.