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Southampton have a habit of beating certain clubs

Southampton has always been that model club that develops and gets great transfer fees for their players. They’ve also been an EPL or Division One Club for many years throughout their history.  They have also had some great players, and a habit in the FA Cup of knocking off top sides. This is the story of their most famous win, the 1927 win over Newcastle.

Let’s step back to 1927: an earthquake in Yugoslavia kills 700 people, and Al Jolsen has a hit in “Sitting on Top of the World.” We are a couple years away from the start of the Great Depression, and State Side the Golden Age of radio is almost a decade away. Jack Benny, Fred Allen, and the team of George Burns and Gracie Allen are still in Vaudeville.

In England, this was the last great period of dominance for Newcastle. Yes, they have had era’s where they have made runs, but 1927 is the last time they won the league title. Southampton  had a history of beating Newcastle at Southampton’s home, the Dell. Thirty-nine times they’d gone into a match there and and only been victorious three times. In 1900, the best Southampton side of the time, demolished a very average Newcastle team—needless to say, the boogey side for Newcastle was Southampton.

Compared to the other Newcastle sides that had played Southampton, this was the best one they had. They came into the match with ex-England internationals Frank Hudspeth, Tommy Urwin, Charlie Spencer and Stan Seymour. The player the Saints fans would love to see is tiny, but prolific striker Hughie Gallacher.  That right there was a good enough lineup to scare many players.

Life wasn’t easy for the Geordies: a recession had ravaged the northeast rendering many people jobless. So the numbers going to see their club win (they saw the result as a foregone conclusions) at the Dell were low. In fact they were so confident that they were looking at it being as good as the final. Southampton did not have the reputation that it has now.

 Fifth round {last 16}: Saturday February 19th 1927

The Dell, Southampton

Attendance: 21,427

The weather held itself pretty good for the Cup date. Each club came out in their typical striped kits. Newcastle in their black and white, Southampton in their red and white. Two very iconic looks. The teams for this draw:

Southampton: 1:Tommy Allen, 2: Ted Hough, 3: Mike Keeping, 4: Albert Shelley, 5: George Harkus, 6: Stan Woodhouse, 7:   Bill Henderson, 8:Dick Rowley, 9:Bill Rawlings, 10: Sam Taylor, 11: Billy ‘Spud’ Murphy

Newcastle United: 1: Willie Wilson, 2: Alf Maitland, 3: Frank Hudspeth, 4: Roddie Mackenzie, 5: Charlie Spencer, 6: Willie Gibson, 7: Tommy Urwin, 8: Bobby McKay, 9: Hughie Gallacher, 10: Tommy McDonald, 11: Stan Seymour

Southampton’s game plan was not only predicated on the need to stop Hughie Gallacher, but to cut off the supply to him. To achieve this the team had to make sure Harkus, Woodhouse, and Shelley all man the midfield. This tactic so unsettled Hudspeth and Maitland that the Newcastle fullbacks had to drop back to help out. The first half ended at 0-0, and the managers went into the half looking looking for ways to break the tie.

Newcastle came out as the more sturdy side in the second half. Even though they were having a good half, the Saints struck with the clock approaching the hour. Sam Taylor took a corner, that was met by a bunch of Southampton players, before Dick Rawley forced the ball over the line to break the deadlock.

Newcastle now had a half hour to save their cup run. Not needing that much time they struck lucky when Seymour’s cross to McKay was swiped at by Ted Hough with his, resulting in an obvious penalty. Tommy McDonald calmly put the ball in the back of the net for the 1-1 tie.

Southampton could have folded and played scared but that isn’t what happened. With the fans getting behind the team, hoping to rally the side, the Saints caught their second wind. The Magpies did not get anywhere near Allen’s goal (the Saint’s keeper), while the Saints kept the tempo up hoping to disrupt Newcastle. That finally happened when Murphy and Taylor, with seven minutes left, played a perfect ball into Rawley. His shot crossed the line for the 2-1 win.

Newcastle would turn their attention to the league. Despite losing four out of the last 14 matches, they ended up as Champions. Southampton would march into the quarters against Millwall. Saints forced a replay after grinding out a 0-0 tie, before winning the replay 2-0. That’s where they’d face Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal. The Gooners would be too much for the Saints, pulling off a 2-0 win.

The interesting thing about this match is the person who would have the most fascinating football life after the match. That was debutant Mike Keeping, who would travel all over the world after the Second World War, and he eventually end up managing Real Madrid for a couple seasons.  


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