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When Saints shocked Man Utd


Southampton celebrate their 1976 FA Cup triumph

By Chris Bevan

Do you remember the long hot summer of 1976? No Southampton fan will ever forget the way it started.

As Britain basked in a heatwave on 1 May, Tommy Docherty's swashbuckling young Manchester United team were expected to sweep aside Second Division Saints at Wembley in what looked like being a one-sided FA Cup final.

Southampton boss Lawrie McMenemy had other ideas, and his experienced team withstood United's pressure before delivering a classic sucker punch through Bobby Stokes's disputed late goal to win the game and lift the Cup.


With Saints back in the second tier of English football, it will be a similar sized shock if they come out on top when the two teams meet again on Sunday in the third round of this season's competition.

Ahead of that tie, BBC Sport speaks to the heroes and villains of Wembley '76 and finds out what happened to the players who lined up on that day 33 years ago.


Manager - Lawrie McMenemy

Archive - Sportsnight previews the 1976 FA Cup final

"It is the only major thing Southampton have ever won, and it was totally unexpected," McMenemy said of his side's Cup triumph. "That is why people in this area, whether they were Saints fans or not, enjoyed it so much.

"I get grandmothers stopping me on the street telling me where they were for the parade on the Sunday. They didn't have to be football supporters, they all came out - more than 250,000 of them.

"The big clubs are expected to win a cup every now and again but with Southampton it was a special, special thing."

Then: Won the old Fourth Division title with Doncaster Rovers and Grimsby before moving to Southampton in 1973. Turned down job offers from Manchester United, Newcastle and Leeds before returning to his native north-east in 1985 for an ill-fated stint with Sunderland.

Now: Part of Graham Taylor's coaching team when he was England boss from 1990 to 1993 and later managed Northern Ireland. Made an MBE in 2005 and awarded the freedom of the city of Southampton in 2007, McMenemy is the chairman of Special Olympics Great Britain, coaches the Parliamentary football team and is a newspaper columnist.

Ian Turner

"Ian had the game of his life," McMenemy told BBC Sport. "In the opening 20 minutes we were under siege but Ian was stopping everything.

"Half of it was with his knee, with his ankle or his elbow but he was brave as a bull and we weathered the storm."

Then: Signed by McMenemy from his former club Grimsby, Turner left English football in 1978 at the age of 28 after a knee injury and moved to the United States to join Fort Lauderdale.

Now: Worked as a plumber, then fitted oil pipes as an engineer in the North Sea and in Saudi Arabia. Now works for UK Construction.

Peter Rodrigues
Rodrigues was an experienced Welsh international defender
Peter Rodrigues

"Our bus hit a spectator on our way to Wembley and everybody was very concerned as we went into the dressing room," Rodrigues told BBC Sport. "Lawrie quickly went back to check on this guy who was hit - he had just stumbled off the kerb.

"The boss came back and reassured us that he was all right - then we began our preparations.

"When I came out of the tunnel before the game I felt 100ft tall - it was an enormous atmosphere. I recall shaking hands with the United skipper Martin Buchan and he seemed very nervous - so I turned round and told our lads.

"When we scored I ran 45 yards to congratulate everybody. I had always remembered watching Brazil in yellow and blue - which is quite similar to our kit on the day - and when they scored their players would jump on top of everybody. So I flew from about 10 metres away and landed on top of the pile of our players - I felt like a Brazilian for a second.

"At the end my knees were shaking with delight, knowing I would be collecting the Cup from the Queen which was one of the proudest moments of my life."

Then: Experienced Welsh international full-back who joined Southampton from Sheffield Wednesday in 1975 and captained the Saints at Wembley.

Now: Forced to retire a year after lifting the Cup, Rodrigues ran pubs in Wales and Hampshire before moving to Spain in 2002 but is now back in Southampton, where he works as a driver.

David Peach
David Peach

Then: A ball-boy at the 1966 World Cup final, Peach returned to Wembley as a hard-working left-back who kept Steve Coppell quiet in the final.

Now: Lives in the New Forest and fits double-glazed windows.

Nick Holmes
Nick Holmes

Then: Versatile and dependable defender or midfielder who played 543 games for Saints between 1972 and 1987. Along with Peach, he was the only survivor of Saints' 1976 side to return for the 1979 League Cup final.

Now: Ran a newsagents in Winterslow before emigrating to the United States but was tempted back into football in 2002 when he became manager of Salisbury City and has since guided them into the Blue Square Premier.

Mel Blyth
Mel Blyth

Then: A composed centre-back who made 105 appearances for Saints from 1974 to 1977 and later played in South Africa, the US and Hong Kong.

Now: Worked as an electrician but now runs his own building firm in London.

Jim Steele

On 1 May 1976
Brotherhood of Man are at number one with Eurovision-winning track Save Your Kisses for me.
An early heatwave hit the UK as temperatures began to rise ahead of the long hot summer of 1976.
Bafta-winning director Mike Leigh, then a promising young playwright, makes his TV debut with Nuts in May

Then: A trainee mechanical engineer for the National Coal Board before joining Dundee, Steele was a tough centre-back who signed for Saints for a club record fee of 80,000 in 1972.

Now: Ended his playing days in the US with Washington Diplomats, Memphis Rogues and Chicago Sting. Now runs the Black Bear pub in Moreton-in-Marsh.

Paul Gilchrist
Paul Gilchrist

Then: Industrious front-man who scored 17 goals in 107 games for Saints from 1972 to 1977.

Now: His career was ended by a cruciate ligament injury at the age of 29 in 1980. Gilchrist then ran his own gym and he now works as a service assistant at a car dealership.

Mick Channon
Mick Channon

"Mick rang me in my room on the morning of the game," McMenemy told BBC Sport. "Being into betting, he said 'have you seen the odds?'. We were 5/1 in a two-horse race - that's how unlikely we were to win it.

"I didn't bet on us - I never did - but whoever did, did very well."

Then: Channon joined Saints as a trainee in 1966 and stayed until he moved to Manchester City in 1977. Returned to Southampton two years later for another three-year stint and scored a total of 157 goals in 391 games for the club as well as netting 21 times in 46 England appearances.

Now: Moved into horse racing when his football career ended and became a leading Flat trainer. Currently recovering after being involved in a serious car crash in August 2008.

Peter Osgood
Peter Osgood

Then: A Chelsea legend, famous for his flamboyant lifestyle off the pitch, who scored in every round when he won the Cup with the Blues in 1970. Ossie joined Saints in 1974 and stayed for three years before a move to Philadelphia Fury and a brief spell back at Stamford Bridge.

Now: Ran a pub with former Chelsea team-mate Ian Hutchinson after hanging up his boots and later became an after-dinner speaker and corporate host at Chelsea. He died of a heart attack aged 59 in March 2006 and his ashes were laid to rest under the penalty spot at the Shed End of Stamford Bridge.

Jim McCalliog
Jim McCalliog

Then: Intelligent midfielder who lost the 1966 Cup final with Sheffield Wednesday despite scoring the opener against Everton but was a winner at Wembley a year later when he returned with Scotland to beat world champions England. Was sold by Tommy Docherty from United to Southampton in 1975 and stayed until 1977.

Now: Has run pubs in Wetherby and Leeds and is now landlord of the King's Arms in Fenwick, Ayrshire.

Bobby Stokes
Bobby Stokes

"The game was heading for a draw," McMenemy told BBC Sport. "But everybody down here knows the move; Goalkeeper, long ball, out to the wing, ball knocked into Jimmy McCalliog - who didn't look before knocking an early ball through to Bobby Stokes.

"Martin Buchan always reckons Bobby was offside but it was proved that he wasn't, and Bobby put the ball across Alex Stepney and into the far corner of the net."

Then: Outstanding schoolboy player who came through the ranks at the Dell to become a skilful and hard-working forward. Stokes, known for his cheeky grin and quickfire wit, won a car for his Wembley winner but could not drive. He made just eight full appearances for the Saints after the final before stints with Washington Diplomats and hometown club Portsmouth.

Now: Ran a pub when he returned to England from the US but by 1985 he was a cook in a Portsmouth cafe, while also coaching at summer camps with Osgood. Died of bronchial pneumonia, aged 44, in 1995.

Hugh Fisher Unused

Then: Scored a vital late equaliser in the third round against Aston Villa at the very beginning of Saints' 1976 Cup run but an injury kept him on the bench at Wembley.

Now: Spent 10 years at Southampton before becoming Southport's player-manager in 1977/78 and was in charge when they dropped out of the Football League. Now a brewery sales representative in Hampshire.


Tommy Docherty
Manager - Tommy Docherty

"We weren't overconfident but we were very confident we would win," Docherty told BBC Sport. "But on the day we only played as well as we were allowed to.

"I had let Jimmy McCalliog - who made Southampton's goal - leave United and old players, by and large, come back to haunt you.

"When we got back to Manchester town hall I told the supporters that would we would be back the next year to win the Cup but it was a bit of wishful thinking."

Then: 'The Doc' did return to Wembley for another Cup final in 1977 and triumphed when United beat Liverpool but was sacked soon afterwards when it emerged he was having an affair with the wife of a United physiotherapist.

Now: Still going strong as a media pundit and after-dinner speaker at the age of 80.

Alex Stepney
Alex Stepney

"If Bobby Stokes had hit it like I thought he would, I might have saved it," Stepney told BBC Sport.

"But it was a bit of a mis-hit. Sometimes they beat you and it was one of those."

Then: Joined United for 55,000 - then a world record fee for a keeper - from Chelsea in 1966. Made more than 500 appearances for United and kept 175 clean sheets, helping them win the European Cup, the League title and the FA Cup - but won only one England cap.

Now: Stepney ran a pub and a transport business before working as a goalkeeping coach with Manchester City until 2001. Later joined United's marketing department and is now an after-dinner speaker and radio pundit.

Alex Forsyth
Alex Forsyth

Then: An attack-minded right-back with a ferocious shot, Forsyth cost United 100,000 when they signed him from Partick in 1971. He left to join Rangers on a free transfer in 1978.

Now: Manages the Auld House, a bar in Hamilton.

Stewart Houston
Stewart Houston

Then: Houston was a cultured Scottish international left-back who made 250 appearances for United in seven years at Old Trafford.

Now: Had success as George Graham's assistant at Arsenal and Tottenham but failed to make an impact as a manager in his own right at QPR and Walsall. Now a scout for the Gunners.

Gerry Daly
Gerry Daly

Then: Highly-rated Republic of Ireland international midfielder who spent four years at Old Trafford before joining Derby for 175,000 in March 1977.

Now: Sacked as player-boss of Conference side Telford in 1993. Still lives in Derby and regularly watches the Rams but is unable to work because of a back problem. Daly claims to have been promised a testimonial by the FAI but it never materialised.

Brian Greenhoff
Brian Greenhoff

Then: Versatile midfielder or defender who starred for United alongside brother Jimmy.

Now: Worked for a sports wholesaler in Rochdale and managed Whitworth Valley in the North West Counties League before a stint as a TV pundit.

Martin Buchan and Mick Channon
Buchan took on Mick Channon at Subbuteo in the build-up to the final
Martin Buchan

Buchan still disputes Bobby Stokes' winner according to McMenemy who told BBC Sport: "I only see Martin once a year at the Professional Footballers' Association awards dinner and he always walks by me and says 'Bobby was offside'.

Then: Intelligent Scottish international centre-back who captained United at Wembley in 1976 - and again when they beat Liverpool in the 1977 final.

Now: A player advisor for the Professional Footballers Association.

Steve Coppell and David Peach
Peach and Coppell had some memorable tussles on the right flank
Steve Coppell

Then: Tricky winger who turned down Liverpool as a teenager so he could complete a degree in economic history at Liverpool University, where he also coached the football team, and was a latecomer to the professional game.

Now: Had four different spells in charge of Crystal Palace, a short stint at Manchester City, and has also managed Brentford and Brighton. Now trying to steer Reading back into the Premier League.

Sammy McIlroy
Sammy McIlroy

Then: The last United player signed by Sir Matt Busby, McIlroy was a busy midfielder who won 88 caps for Northern Ireland and played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals.

Now: Took Macclesfield into the Football League as manager in 1997 and, after succeeding McMenemy as Northern Ireland boss in 2000, he repeated the trick with Morecambe in 2007. Still in charge at Christie Park.

Stuart Pearson
Stuart Pearson

Then: Nicknamed 'Pancho', Pearson was a bustling striker who won 15 England caps and won the Cup in 1977 with United and 1980 with West Ham.

Now: Had brief spells as manager of Northwich and as coach at West Brom and Bradford and worked as a TV pundit. Lives in Spain but still regularly returns to Manchester to watch United.

Lou Macari
Lou Macari

"I think everyone thought we'd win the game," Macari told BBC Sport. "Because of the names of the two clubs, everybody expected it to be a foregone conclusion.

"But all the things you dread in any cup tie happened to us - we had chances and didn't take them and they scored near the end and didn't give us a chance to get back into the game."

Then: An all-action forward with a reputation for being a practical joker off the pitch.

Now: Had success as manager of Swindon and Stoke but failed to repeat that in spells in charge of Celtic, West Ham and Huddersfield. Now a pundit for MUTV and owns a fish and chip shop outside Old Trafford.

Gordon Hill
Gordon Hill

Hill told BBC Sport: "The occasion at Wembley can kill you. It certainly did with me.

"I had an absolute stinker. I couldn't get going - I don't know what it was.

"The temperature was right up there in the 90s and it might have been all right sat in the stands in the shade but on the field it was energy sapping. I couldn't find anything.

"When I came off I felt I had let people down and let myself down because I hadn't performed the way I had done all season."

Then: A hard-working and skilful winger with an eye for goal, Hill began his career with Tooting & Mitcham and won amateur, youth, Under-23, B and six full international caps for England.

Now: A forward-thinking owner and coach of United FC, a youth team in McKinney, Texas.


David McCreery
David McCreery Replaced Gordon Hill (81 minutes)

Then: Often on the bench due to his versatility, McCreery was a bustling ball-winning midfielder who went to two World Cups with Northern Ireland in 1982 and 1986.

Now: Had brief management spells with Carlisle and Hartlepool and also worked as a consultant for the formation of Major League Soccer in the United States. Now owns a welding equipment company in County Durham.

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see also
Southampton v Man Utd (Sun)
31 Dec 08 |  FA Cup
FA Cup third round draw
29 Dec 08 |  FA Cup
Channon has successful operation
29 Aug 08 |  Sport Homepage
McMenemy awarded freedom of city
20 Sep 07 |  Southampton
Peter's perfect day
14 May 03 |  FA Cup
1976 - The Saints march in
10 May 01 |  FA Cup
Tough life after England
25 Oct 02 |  Football
Hampshire sports stars honoured
31 Dec 05 |  Hampshire
One Day at Wembley
13 Apr 07 |  Scotland
Salisbury boss eyes Cup double
06 Nov 03 |  FA Cup
Football mourns death of Osgood
01 Mar 06 |  Football
The wizard called Osgood
01 Mar 06 |  Football
King of Stamford Bridge
01 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries
Doc blasts 'abysmal' Scots
19 Feb 04 |  Internationals
United legends at football museum
29 Jul 06 |  Lancashire
Man City sack Royle
21 May 01 |  Man City
Footballers lack hunger - Macari
13 Aug 08 |  Swindon
Fans 'convinced Coppell to stay'
21 May 08 |  Reading
Boss McIlroy signs Morecambe deal
11 Dec 07 |  Morecambe
McIlroy returns to his roots
15 Oct 03 |  Northern Ireland
McIlroy quits NI for Stockport
15 Oct 03 |  Stockport
Houston leaves Saddlers
19 Sep 02 |  Walsall
Terriers sack Macari
14 Jun 02 |  Eng Div 2

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