Up the Saints!

“It’s a bit written in the stars, sometimes it’s not meant to be.” — Daniel Farke (Leeds Manager)

The Saints defeated Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley and have been promoted to the English Premiere League. The Saints appointed Russell Martin last summer after a “complicated” departure from Swansea. It was a rough start. The Saints were bounced from the Carabao Cup against League 2 Gillingham 3-1 and stumbled in early matches. They also lost homegrown talent like James Ward-Prowse after relegation.

The club eventually thrived under Russell Martin and went on to set a club-best unbeaten record. I was in London for work in February and saw them play Huddersfield at St Mary. This MATCH was a sizzler, and the recap is worth watching. The Saints trailed 2-0 in the first half but rallied to WIN to preserve their unbeaten run. The run would end 1 match later against Bristol City so being there for Huddersfield was extra special.

Even though they finished the campaign with 87 points they missed automatic promotion. They stumbled in February, briefly regained form in April, and were woeful at the ‘business end’ of the season in a stretch against Cardiff City, Leicester City, and Stoke City that cost them a legitimate chance at automatic promotion.

The road to the final at Wembley included away/home matches against FIFTH PLACE West Brom Albion. The first leg ended 0-0 but the Saints WON 3-1 at St Mary’s in the second leg to advance to the FINAL. Leeds United defeated Norwich in a similar fashion with an equally convincing 4-0 win at home.

Elated I was ‘in that number’ 4 times this year. I spent Christmas in the UK and saw 2 matches at St Mary’s and 1 in Norwich. I was in London for work for the aforementioned match against Huddersfield.

In that number
Southampton (5) versus Swansea City (0), December 25th @ St Mary’s
Southampton (2) versus Plymouth Argyle (1), December 29th @ St Mary’s
Norwich City (1) versus Southampton (1), January 1st @ Carrow Road
Southampton (5) versus Huddersfield Town (3), February 10th @ St Mary’s

I had tickets for the home match against Stoke in March but couldn’t get to Southampton because of work travel.

From the BBC via Neil Johnston (BBC Sport at Wembley):

What a difference a year makes…

May 2023: Southampton’s 11-season stay in the Premier League is ended after defeat at home to Fulham with two games still to play.

May 2024: Southampton make an immediate return to the Premier League despite finishing nine points off automatic promotion.

Source: BBC Sport

Related
Southampton 5-3 Huddersfield (YouTube)
Southampton Saints FC Relegation Day (May 13, 2023) (Limestone Roof)
8 GOAL Sizzler (Flickr)
Football: A Very Personal Post (Limestone Roof)
Southampton FC (Flickr)
Canaries (Flickr)

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