Saints' Best Wembley Days
Bobby Stokes Lifting the FA Cup Trophy. Southampton 1-0 Manchester United. FA Cup Final 1976, Wembley Stadium, Saturday 1st May 1976. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
  • 1902 FA Cup Final

  • Sheffield United 2-1 Southampton (replay).
  • 19th April 1902.

The first memory included on this list takes us back to the very early stages of the 20th century, only a year after Queen Victoria had left the throne, where Southampton faced Sheffield United in an FA Cup final replay at (the old) Wembley. Saints had already made their first ever final only two years earlier in 1900, but sadly that match won't be remembered fondly as it ended with a very disappointing 4-0 defeat to Bury. The 1902 final therefore represented a chance for redemption, and the first match ended 1-1 with a late equalizer for Saints in the 88th minute. The following replay was played at Wembley again in front of a crowd of over 33,000 with Saints looking to claim their first FA Cup trophy. Sadly this final ended in a 2-1 defeat (3-2 over the two legs) but it was a much improved show from 2 years prior and had the club tantalisingly close to that all important trophy for the first time. 

Jack Robinson, Charles Burgess Fry, George Molyneux, Samuel Meston, Tommy Bowman, Bert Lee, Archie Turner, Harry Wood (C) Albert Brown, Edgar Chadwick, Joe Turner.

Manager: Ernest Arnfield.

  • 1979 Football League Cup Final

  • Nottingham Forest 3-2 Southampton.
  • 17th March 1979.

Saints reached the League Cup final in 1979 under manager Lawrie McMenemy, 3 years after the famous 1976 visit to Wembley (featured later in VAVEL's look-back). This cup final was played against very tough opposition in Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest and in front of almost 100,000 fans (96,952). Forest were the favorites to win as they were the current holders of the trophy as well as reigning First Division champions - however as you'd expect from McMenemy's team, Saints gave them a very good game at Wembley. In the end, the result went to Nottingham Forest 3-2 after a hotly contested encounter, with Southampton's goals coming from David Peach and Nick Holmes. It wasn't quite good enough to lift the trophy, but Saints gave a good account of themselves on the big occasion.

Terry Gennoe, Ivan Golac, David Peach, Steve Williams, Chris Nicholl, Malcolm Waldron, Alan Ball (C), Phil Boyer, Austin Hayes, Nick Holmes, Terry Curran.

Substitute: Tony Sealy.

Manager: Lawrie McMenemy.

  • 2017 Football League Cup Final

  • Manchester United 3-2 Southampton.
  • 26th February 2017.

This one still very much hurts Saints fans in the days just before VAR. In 2017, the club deservedly reached the League Cup final by beating Premier League opposition in every round and without conceding a single goal to boot. This is the same season Saints were in Europe and beat Inter Milan 2-1, so due to their European commitments they started the League Cup a stage later than usual, in the Third Round. The run also saw Saints reach the final with two famous 1-0 victories over Liverpool in both legs of the semi-final. The final was then against Manchester United at (the new) Wembley in front of 85,264. In true fashion, Saints really couldn't have played much better on the day and dominated the match in large stages, but eventually lost out 3-2 with a heart-breaking 87th winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Manolo Gabbiadini could really have had a hat-trick on the day if not for his goal after 10 minutes being cruelly (and wrongly) ruled out for offside pre-VAR. Saints were also missing one of their best ever players - Virgil Van Dijk - through injury, and hit the post with Oriol Romeu in the second half which would have seen them go 3-2 up. However, the match is remembered fondly by fans for the terrific performance of the team and the scenes around Wembley after Gabbiadini equalized to make it 2-2.

Fraser Forster, Cedric, Maya Yoshida, Jack Stephens, Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis (C), James Ward-Prowse, Dusan Tadic, Nathan Redmond, Manolo Gabbiadini.

Substitutes: Sofiane Boufal, Shane Long, Jay Rodriguez.

Manager: Claude Puel.

  • 2010 Football League Trophy (Johnstone's Paint Trophy)

  • Carlisle United 1-4 Southampton. 
  • 28th March 2010.

In terms of recent silverware, this is Southampton's claim to fame (and that's really meant in endearing terms). Wembley was packed out with  an estimated 44,000 Saints fans who were there to witness a very special day. After a tough few years supporting Southampton, including the 2005 relegation from the Premier league, 2009 relegation from the Championship, and starting this 2009/10 season in League One on -10 points after administration, Saints fans finally felt like they had their club back. It was a close call as to whether they'd even have a club to support for the 2009/10 season, after the club almost went out of existence following administration. However, as it happened Saints were saved by Markus Liebherr who bought the club and had them dreaming of climbing the football ladder back up to the top. The beginning of that journey started here with a 4-1 win over Carlisle United to claim the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The team featured Saints legends such as: Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Jose Fonte, Kelvin Davis and Dean Hammond; who would all go on to play pivotal roles in back-to-back successive promotions from League One to the Premier League (where they've remained since). This was one of the most special periods to be a Saints fan, and the scenes after the final whistle of Markus Liebherr taking pictures with his camera, will hold long in the memories of fans forever. He gave way to a true Southampton legacy before his untimely passing later that year and will never be forgotten. 

Kelvin Davis, Dan Harding, Radhi Jaidi, Jose Fonte, Joseph Mills, Michail Antonio, Paul Wotton, Dean Hammond (C), Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Papa Waigo.

Substitutes: Chris Perry, Simon Gillett, David Connolly.

Manager: Alan Pardew.

1976 FA Cup Winners

  • Manchester United 0-1 Southampton.
  • 1st May 1976.

The 1976 FA Cup win over Manchester United - remembered as the greatest day in Southampton's history ever. This day out at Wembley in the long, hot summer of '76 remains the only major trophy Southampton hold to their name. Fierce underdogs as a Second Division side, Lawrie McMenemy's boys dared to dream they'd return to Southampton victorious, and that they did. This was also the last time that The Queen attended a final and presented the trophy to the winners, in front of a 99,115 strong crowd. However, it wasn't all plain-sailing for Saints as goalkeeper Ian Turner had to make a string of saves early on to keep Utd at bay. In fact, Man Utd dominated the early stages and Saints were almost lucky to keep it at 0-0. But as the game went on, Saints grew with it and felt destined they'd be lifting the trophy at full-time. The late, great Bobby Stokes (a man now famously known as coming from Portsmouth) scored the only goal in the 82nd minute to win the FA Cup for Southampton, after turning down the opportunity to go to Pompey earlier on in the season. He's now rightly remembered as the scorer of Saints' greatest ever goal, and in fact, he won himself a car by scoring in the final. It's one of the most romantic stories in the history of the FA Cup, and the celebrations on the open-top bus through the city that followed will never be forgotten. Neither will any of the players, or the manager Lawrie McMenemy, who were part of that famous team. 

Ian Turner, Peter Rodrigues (C), David Peach, Nick Homes, Mel Blyth, Jim Steele, Paul Gilchrist, Mick Channon, Peter Osgood, Jim McCalliog, Bobby Stokes. 

Substitute: Hugh Fisher.

Manager: Lawrie McMenemy.

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