Southampton FC have been established in the Premier League for some time now but having been forced to sell some of their best players, most notably to Liverpool, the club must now be wary of being sucked into a relegation battle.
England’s elite division carries the biggest prize money and attracts the best players so it’s vital for the Saints to stay where they are. In turn, bookmakers will also focus almost exclusively on the Premier League and here are details of some of the price boosts that we can look forward to as we take a closer look at Southampton football club.
The club that eventually became Southampton started life way back in 1885 and have been through more name changes than most during their existence. Originally, they were known as St Mary’s Young Men’s Association FC after the district of Southampton in which they were formed and then became St Mary’s FC and later Southampton St Mary’s.
As plain ‘Southampton’ they officially joined the football league in 1920 and went straight into the third division. They had enjoyed some success as a non-league outfit, most notably reaching the FA Cup finals of 1900 and 1902 but found it hard to replicate those achievements as a professional club.
The Saints did reach the semi finals of the FA Cup on two occasions in the 1920s but it wasn’t until the middle of the 1960s that the club finally began to make their mark. Aided by the firepower of Martin Chivers, they were promoted to the first division in 1966.
Relegation followed in 1974 but this was just prior to Southampton’s greatest ever achievement when, as a second division side, they won the FA Cup, beating the great Manchester United in the 1976 final. A return to the first division followed and there have been some good achievements since but on the whole, the Saints have been something of a ‘yo-yo’ side, dropping back into the second tier on a number of occasions.
For now, Southampton look to be established as a Premier League outfit but they must be wary of a slow start to 2017/18 as this historic club needs to be in the top flight.
Southampton have won just one major trophy in their time as they captured the FA Cup in 1976. Promotion back to the old first division then followed at the end of the 1977/78 campaign but were the mid-1970’s the strongest period for the club?
They finished runners up in the division in 1983/84 and across those few seasons could field some top players including England internationals Mick Channon, Mick Mills, Dave Watson, Peter Shilton and the World Cup Winner Alan Ball. From there, Southampton fielded arguably their best player in the supremely gifted Matt Le Tissier and they were a joy to watch when he was in the side during the Premiership era.
All through those years they were a match for any side in the English top division and were unlucky to have been excluded from European competition in the mid-1980s, along with other English sides as part of a countrywide ban.
So, the 1970s may have yielded the greater success but the better Southampton sides arrived just a little later.
Here is Southampton’s record across each of the last few seasons in English domestic competitions.
What really stands out from that set of figures is Southampton’s impressive record in the Premier League, prior to that slump in 2017/18. For two of the three previous campaigns, the club qualified for the Europa League group stages. The Saints didn’t progress too far in Europe but that’s a substantial achievement for a club of Southampton’s size that has had to sell some of its best players recently.
In the knockout competitions, the FA Cup had yielded poor results prior to that semi final appearance but the Saints clearly love the EFL Cup, making the final in 2016/17 and the quarter finals for two seasons prior to that. In any final there will be lots of price boosts floating around so everyone will hope for a repeat performance.
In 2017/18, Southampton could field two strikers that hold the key to success in terms of individual games and the club’s long term ambitions. However, they don’t always play Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini in the same starting line up.
Austin is a typical English striker who has suffered with injury problems recently while Gabbiadini brings some Italian flair into the Saints set up. Both men are likely to be the focal point for any Southampton price boosts as they are the most obvious scorers in any game where the club are involved. For the 2018/19 campaign, the club moved to sign Danny Ings from Liverpool and if he stays fit after being hampered by injuries himself, he may become first choice striker from this point onwards.
In goal, the former Reading player Alex McCarthy is a reliable stopper and a full England international but the defence used to rely heavily on Virgil Van Dijk and it’s probably no coincidence that their Premier League slump came around the time that the Dutchman left to join Liverpool.
In Van Dijk’s absence, the Saints will look to rely on fellow Dutch defender Wesley Hoedt and a new signing for 2018 – Danish International Jannik Vestergaard .
Southampton are an attractive side to watch and therefore one that the TV cameras are happy to pick them up for live broadcasts and that exposure will lead to a lot of price boosts and enhanced odds deals from around the sportsbooks. Keep reading as we will bring you the best of these as they arrive for the club’s most important games.