Based in the Hampshire province in England, Southampton FC was originally founded at St. Mary’s Church on 21st of November 1885 by members of the St. Mary’s Church of England Young Men’s Association. The club was first named as St. Mary’s Young Men’s Association F.C. after which it was simply called as St. Mary’s F.C. in 1887–88 before being instilled as Southampton F.C in 1896–97 after winning the Southern League title.
Being one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992-93, the club did face some tough times to remain in the top tier of English football. After 27 years of continuously competing in the First Division, Southampton were relegated from the Premier League in 2005. The club however returned to the top division seven years later in 2012 and have remained afloat ever since.
The Saints have been crowned the champions of Football League One once in 1960 and have also won the prestigious FA Cup in 1976. Given their rich history and past roots, we have witnessed some of the finest talents from across the globe represent the Saints in the years gone by who have given moments that shall forever be etched in the hearts of their supporters. Here’s a countdown to the Top 12 greatest Southampton players of all time.
The 12 Greatest Southampton Players Of All Time are –
12 IVAN GOLAC
Golac was one of Southampton’s first foreign imports. Ask any Saints fan over 40 as to their favourite overseas signing and it’s a fair bet that Ivan Golac would be near the top of the list. McMenemy largely built his reputation by building successful and entertaining sides that were packed with experienced players. But one of his most successful signings was a player from Yugoslavia, in an age when overseas players were almost unheard of. The year of 1978 would prove to be a watershed in Golac’s career. He had reached the age of 28, when Yugoslavia’s Communist authorities would allow players to move abroad; it was also the year in which English football’s restrictions on foreign players were lifted.
Golac was an instant hit. His play was skillful yet aggressive and attacking, taking the role of overlapping full back to a new level. He played in the 1979 League Cup final, losing to Brian Clough’s Forest, 3-2, and played alongside Keegan, Channon and Ball. In February 1982, he netted the best of his four goals, against West Bromwich Albion, an unstoppable 25-yard half-volley. McMenemy described the shot as “the sweetest strike he’d ever seen, like Concorde taking off”.
11 STEVE MORAN
Moran was one of the finest strikers that Southampton has possessed. He had a knack of scoring some crucial goals for the club. Some of his goals were memorable – a late strike at Anfield in 1981 to hand Saints a win at then invincible Liverpool, his hat-trick in the 8-2 demolition of Coventry in 1984 and, above all, his injury-time winner at Fratton Park in the fourth round of the 1984 FA Cup.
Moran attended Prices School in Fareham and appeared regularly for his school team, where he was spotted by scouts. He signed for Southampton in August 1979 and made his debut as a substitute in a 4–1 home win against Manchester City in January 1980, scoring with his very first touch of the ball. He was blessed with having Channon and Keegan amongst his team mates and scored 18 goals from 30 starts in his first full season. Voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1982.
10 DANNY WALLACE
Wallace made his debut aged only 16 years and 313 days on 29 November 1980 at Old Trafford, thus becoming the youngest player to be picked for Southampton. Small, compact and lightning quick, Danny wowed Dell crowds with his pace and superb individual goals. He burst into national prominence with both goals in the first match televised live from The Dell against Liverpool in March 1984. His first was an overhead scissors-kick and for the second, he threw himself in front of Alan Hansen to head home a superb cross from Mark Dennis. The first goal was named Goal of the Season.
Danny’s fine form continued after that Liverpool game, and in April 1984, both he and Moran scored hat-tricks in an 8-2 defeat of Coventry City. His career culminated with him being picked to play for England and scoring in his only appearance in a 4-0 victory, over Egypt in January 1986. He eventually went to Man United for £1.2 million, then a record fee for a Southampton player, but in 1996 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
9 DAVID ARMSTRONG
Armstrong joined Southampton in August 1981 and scored 15 league goals in his first season alongside Kevin Keegan, as the Saints led the table for most of the first three months of 1982 before finishing seventh. He came close to a league title medal again in 1984, as the Saints finished runners-up to Liverpool in the league and were also semi-finalists in the FA Cup.
Aged 27, he was in his prime and Saints got six great seasons from the freescoring bald midfield dynamo. He was Southampton’s Player of the Season in 1983-84, and he also won three England caps, including the last home international, against Wales in 1984, when he lined up with Saints’ colleagues Shilton and Mark Wright.