April 4th 1972

“Went to Dell. Southampton 2 v Man City 0”

This was the first live football game I ever went to.

My Dad got the tickets and took me, even though he was in no way, shape or form, a football fan. (It was his first & only attendance at a live game)

I’m guessing I enjoyed the experience, sat high up in the stands on one side of the pitch, ‘proudly’ wearing my blue and white striped bobble hat, knitted with love by my Mum.

Being the football jinx that I sometimes feel myself to be, the result – at the time – did not go my way at all, and I probably walked away from The Dell a dejected miserable teen.

Dejected maybe more than I could imagine? For whatever reason, I would not attend another live football match for almost twenty-two years – despite my youthful enthusiasm for the beautiful game (maybe moreso the stats surrounding it?) – until a fateful winter’s night in 1994 when my friend Paul invited me last minute to go along with him to a Southampton/Liverpool tie, again at the The Dell.

A 2-0 win for Southampton against Man City would be a result I can only dream of these days (as Saints languish in mid-table “championship” obscurity), but back then it meant something entirely different to me. The wheels were beginning to fall off Manchester City’s proverbial bus at just the wrong time of the season.

I’m embarrassed to say that if, like the Stoke result, I’d drawn another set of fingers flicking the v’s at Southampton, it would not have surprised me. It’s funny how life takes twists and turns to make you squirm at past events.

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