Written by Guest Author – Martin Gjorgjievski
Southampton FC may not have a history as that of a giant club, but they have something that many big clubs lack – a loyal fan base. Based in the same-named city in Hampshire, with only one trophy, the FA Cup, in their shelves, Saints have a long list of laurels to check off it. Through the times of good, bad and worse, the Saints have had a great craving for success. One legend named Matt Le Tissier has been one of the greatest player in club’s history.
From the commencement of his career, to the last match he played, Matt le Tissier wore the same red and white jersey.
1968: It all goes back to 1968 when on 14th of October in Guernsey, England, Matthew le Tissier was born. He was only eight years old when Southampton won the FA Cup in 1976.
1976: The same year, the Saints won the FA Cup, he first started kicking the ball towards the goal for Vale Recreation FC in his home island. His talent was first noticed by the Oxford United Football Club, but they failed to arrange a deal.
1985: Saints came banging on his door and they were quite keen to bring him to The Dell and they did so by getting him sign the so called YTS forms, with professional forms in October 1986.
Debut: Matt le Tissier became a Southampton player. His debut, in the Football League First Division, was an away game against Norwich that Southampton lost 4-3.
His first two goals were against Manchester United on 4th November 1986 in a League Cup replay and his first hat-trick against Leicester city the league.
He finished the season with 24 league appearances and six goals. The next two seasons he didn’t play a lot. He played only 19 games and didn’t score any goal in the 1987-1988 season and 28 games and nine goals in the 1988-1989 season.
1989-1993: The breakthrough of his career came in the season 1989-1990 as he scored 20 goals and was one of league’s top goal scorers. He also received the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Southampton finished 7th in the league, which was their best result in the last five years.
1993-2000: His next big feat was the 1993-1994 season as he scored 25 league goals, and was the top scorer of the league.
The same season he won the Match of the Day Goal of the Season for the following goal against Blackburn Rovers, and his friend and former Southampton keeper, Tim Flowers.
His career in the 1990s was all about scoring goals and it helped the team put up a fight and finish just in the top half of the table. He certainly made a difference for Southampton, and helped them stay in the top tier of English league. His abilities were well known to all the clubs in England and Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United were keen to get his signature, but it never happened as Le Tisser remained a Southampton player until the day he retired from professional football.
2000-02: His last minute penalty against Sunderland on April 2, 2000 helped him reach the 100th goal landmark in the Premiership, making him the sixth player and the first midfielder to reach that number of goals.
He played a few more games in the 2001-2002 season at the St Mary’s Stadium, in which they finished 11th on the table. His last game for the club was against West Ham on January 30, 2002.
Retirement: In, March 2002 he announced his retirement from professional football after injuring his calf in a reserve team game against Charlton. The Southampton faithful chanted “Le God” and thanked him for his services to the club.
Testimonial: His testimonial game was against an England XI in May 2002. The game ended 9-9 and the midfielder played 45 minutes for each side. His 10 years old son Mitchell came from the bench and scored four times.
2002-03:Alongside with his Southampton teammate David Hughes, he played two more years for a non-league team Eastleigh.
2013: He signed for his hometown team Guernsey, 10 years after his retirement from professional football. He played only one game which ended in a 4-2 loss against the Colliers Wood United.
The Englishman was known for his ability to score spectacular goals. He also had an expertise in taking penalties, having scored 47 out of 48 attempts. In a game against Nottingham Forest in 1993 Mark Crossley saved his shot. Later that day, the goalkeeper remarked that it was been the best save and best experience of his life.
Stats: Appearances in all competition: 540. Goals Scored: 209. (This includes his 6 goals in 35 appearances for the England national team.)
He is currently a football television presenter and honorary president of Guernsey F.C.