1898–99 Southampton F.C. season
|Chairman||Dr. Ernest Stancomb|
|FA Cup||Round 3|
|Top goalscorer||League: Harry Wood (16)|
All: Harry Wood & Abe Hartley (16)
|Highest home attendance||14,000 vs Derby County (25 February 1899) (FA Cup)|
They ended the season as champions of the Southern League for the third consecutive season and reached the Third Round of the FA Cup where they were eliminated by Derby County of the Football League First Division.
Having spent two seasons as temporary residents of Hampshire County Cricket Club, the "Saints" became resident at a new stadium about 200 yards down Northlands Road, nicknamed "The Dell", which had been built by George Thomas, a fish merchant who was a director of the football club. At the time of its opening, The Dell was considered to be the most compact ground in the country — the players got their first taste of their new home when they participated in a sports meeting there on 27 August 1898.
Determined to build on their success of the previous season, the club signed several new players during the summer of 1898, including five present or former internationals — Scotsmen Geordie Dewar, Peter Meechan and John Robertson and Englishmen Jack Robinson and Harry Wood. Robinson, the current England goalkeeper, and Robertson had played against each other in the Scotland vs. England international at Celtic Park on 2 April 1898, in which England were 3–1 victors, thus claiming the 1898 British Home Championship.
The first league season in the new ground started on 3 September 1898, with a match against Brighton United, who were playing their first-ever league match. On a hot Saturday afternoon, in front of a crowd of 6,524, the Mayor of Southampton (Alderman G.J. Tilling) kicked off "like an international". The Saints soon took the lead when with "a little finessing", Tom Smith passed the ball through to Watty Keay who scored The Dell's first goal. Jim McKenzie missed some good chances and, with Southampton attacking in numbers, Bullimer in the Brighton goal was kept busy. Towards the end of the first-half, Arthur Chadwick accidentally caught Brighton's centre-forward Willie McArthur on the chin with a high kick. Bleeding profusely, McArthur left the pitch and Brighton had to continue with only ten men. Shortly before the interval, Abe Hartley scored the second goal, after a smart run up the left by McKenzie. In the second half, McKenzie added a third before Roddy McLeod reduced the deficit. With over a quarter of an hour to play, Smith completed the scoring, with a goal described as "just such a goal as there is no doubt about – a shot which beats the goalkeeper almost before it is made".
Despite having signed five present or former international players during the summer, Southampton were unable to dominate the league as they had done in the previous year, losing their second match to New Brompton and drawing four matches before the New Year. In November, the referee, Mr. T.W.H. Saywell, mistakenly ended the match at Millwall ten minutes early with Southampton leading 4–1. He soon realised his error and tried to bring the teams back to complete the match, but the crowd had invaded the pitch and refused to leave. The match was completed five months later on 12 April 1899 before a Western League match at The Dell, with no further score.
On 3 December, the Saints defeated Warmley 6–0 at The Dell, but this result was expunged when Warmley withdrew from the league before the end of the season. Reserve goalkeeper, John Joyce made his "debut" in this match, but with the result being expunged, had to wait until 21 October 1899 before his official debut. The New Year started with two away defeats; in the match at Sheppey United on 7 January, Arthur Chadwick was dismissed, becoming the first Southampton player to be sent off in a league match.
The Saints won five of the next seven games and entered the last day of the season level on points with Bristol City, their final-day opponents. Bristol City were playing their second season in the Southern League having finished as runners-up in 1897–98, and were undefeated at their St John's Lane ground. Southampton had the superior goal average, so a draw would give them the title for the third time.
A crowd of 13,000 attended the match, including 400 Saints' supporters. Early in the game, England international goalkeeper Jack Robinson damaged his right hand, attempting to prevent a goal from Billy Langham, City's outside-right. Whilst Robinson was receiving medical attention, Harry Haynes took over in goal, preventing further goals until Robinson's return. Robinson played on in considerable pain but was unable to prevent the ball entering the goal off the cross bar from a Langham free-kick; thus the first half ended with Bristol City having a 2–0 lead.
For the second half, Southampton made a tactical change, switching Roddy McLeod to centre-forward with Duncan McLean moving to inside-right and within 12 minutes of the restart the scores were level, after long shots from Arthur Chadwick and Jock Robertson, the latter going in after a "gentle hint" from Harry Wood turned the ball past goalkeeper, Hugh Monteith who had come too far out of his goal. The Southampton fullbacks continued to protect Robinson in goal and the Saints gradually began to have the better of the game. A move involving Robertson and Wood ended with McLean giving Southampton the lead before Wood scored the fourth goal, with a simple header from a corner. Although Caie pulled one back for the home side, Southampton were able to hang on to their lead to win 4–3 and take the Championship for the third consecutive season.
The news of the result had reached Southampton by telegraph and when the team's special train arrived at the Docks station at 10.30pm, it was greeted by huge crowds of enthusiastic supporters who cheered the team on their victory parade through the streets of the town, accompanied by the Town Band.
- Note: Southampton score given first
|Date||Opponents||H / A||Result
F – A
|3 September 1898||Brighton United||H||4 – 1||Keay, Hartley, McKenzie, Smith|
|17 September 1898||New Brompton||H||0 – 2|
|24 September 1898||Gravesend United||A||2 – 1||Hartley, Petrie|
|1 October 1898||Millwall Athletic||H||2 – 0||Wood (2)|
|8 October 1898||Royal Artillery||H||4 – 1||Hartley, McKenzie, Meston, Wood|
|15 October 1898||Reading||H||0 – 0|
|22 October 1898||Swindon Town||A||1 – 1||Hartley|
|5 November 1898||Gravesend United||H||4 – 1||Hartley, Keay, McKenzie, Wood|
|12 November 1898||Sheppey United||H||6 – 0||Wood (3), Hartley (2), Keay|
|26 November 1898||Millwall Athletic||A||4 – 1||Hartley (2), Chadwick, Keay|
|17 December 1898||Royal Artillery||A||1 – 1||Keay|
|24 December 1898||Swindon Town||H||4 – 1||Wood (2), Hartley, Keay|
|26 December 1898||Tottenham Hotspur||H||1 – 1||Wood|
|31 December 1898||Bedminster||H||1 – 0||Wood|
|7 January 1899||Sheppey United||A||1 – 2||Seeley|
|18 February 1899||Reading||A||0 – 2|
|11 March 1899||Bristol City||H||4 – 1||Hartley (3), Nicol|
|18 March 1899||Chatham Town||H||4 – 1||Hartley, McLean, Wood, Own goal|
|27 March 1899||Brighton United||A||2 – 0||Steven (2)|
|31 March 1899||Tottenham Hotspur||A||1 – 0||Wood|
|4 April 1899||Bedminster||A||1 – 2||Haynes|
|22 April 1899||Chatham Town||A||2 – 1||McLean, Wood|
|24 April 1899||New Brompton||A||1 – 1||Haynes|
|29 April 1899||Bristol City||A||4 – 3||Wood (2), Chadwick, McLean|
Top of league table
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Average 1||Points 2|
Played = Matches played; Won = Matches won; Drawn = Matches drawn; Lost = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Points = Points scored
1 Teams tied on points were separated by use of goal average.
2 The points system: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a defeat.
Southampton were excused the qualifying competition of the FA Cup, having reached the semi-finals in the previous year. In Round One, they met fellow Southern League side, New Brompton, with Abe Hartley scoring the winner 20 minutes from time. In the Second Round, Hartley was again the goalscorer, "dribbling through a bewildered Notts County defence before scoring with a glorious shot".
This set up the first FA Cup match to be played at The Dell, against Derby County of the Football League First Division, who were the beaten finalists from the previous year. Although Tom Nicol scored the first-ever FA Cup goal at The Dell, goals from Steve Bloomer and Billy McDonald eased Derby through, on their way to another final.
FA Cup results
|Date||Round||Opponents||H / A||Result
F – A
|28 January 1899||Round 1||New Brompton||A||1 – 0||Hartley||5,000|
|11 February 1899||Round 2||Notts County||A||1 – 0||Hartley||18,000|
|25 February 1899||Round 3||Derby County||H||1 – 2||Nicol||14,000|
Towards the end of the season, Southampton played a series of friendly matches against the Corinthians — the first two (both played away) were drawn, but the third the famous amateur side visited The Dell on 1 April 1899. Amongst the Corinthian XI was C.B. Fry, who charged Robinson in the Saints' goal late in the first half, fracturing his own cheekbone. Although he received treatment from the Southampton club president, Dr. Bencraft, Fry was unable to continue and had to be helped from the pitch. Despite playing on with only ten men, the Corinthians still managed to win 2–1.
|May 1898||FW||Sid Cavendish||Overseal Town|
|May 1898||HB||Geordie Dewar||New Brighton Tower|
|May 1898||FB||Peter Durber||Stoke|
|May 1898||FW||Frank Englefield||Freemantle|
|May 1898||FW||Walter Fairgrieve||Glasgow Perthshire|
|May 1898||FW||Abe Hartley||Liverpool|
|May 1898||GK||John Joyce||Overseal Town|
|Summer 1898||FW||Jim McKenzie||Clyde|
|February 1899||FW||Duncan McLean||Cowes|
|April 1899||FW||Roddy McLeod||Brighton United|
|August 1898||FB||Peter Meechan||Everton|
|May 1898||HB||John Robertson||Everton|
|August 1898||GK||Jack Robinson||New Brighton Tower|
|Summer 1898||FW||George Seeley||Eastville Rovers|
|Summer 1898||FW||Tom Smith||Preston North End|
|May 1898||FW||Harry Wood||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|Summer 1898||FW||Bob Brown||Queens Park Rangers|
|May 1898||GK||George Clawley||Stoke|
|Summer 1898||FW||Jack Farrell||Stoke|
|December 1898||FW||Jim McKenzie||Retired|
|Summer 1898||HB||William McMillan||Retired|
|Summer 1898||FW||Willie Naughton||Carfin Rovers|
|July 1898||FW||Jack Reynolds||Bristol St George|
|May 1898||FW||Joe Turner||Stoke|
- Chalk & Holley 1987, pp. 24–25.
- "Scotland 1 – England 3 (2 April 1898)". www.englandstats.com. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
- Bull & Brunskell 2000, pp. 20–21.
- Holley & Chalk 1992, p. 189.
- Bull & Brunskell 2000, pp. 22–23.
- Collett 2003, pp. 68 & 560.
- Wilton 2000, p. 144.
- Cavallini 2003, p. 57.
- Chalk & Holley 1987, p. 211.
- Bull, David; Brunskell, Bob (2000). Match of the Millennium. Hagiology Publishing. ISBN 0-9534474-1-3.
- Cavallini, Rob (2007). Play Up Corinth – A History of the Corinthian Football Club. Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-4479-4.
- Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan (1987). Saints – A complete record. Breedon Books. ISBN 0-907969-22-4.
- Collett, Mike (2003). The Complete Record of the FA Cup. Sports Books. ISBN 1-899807-19-5.
- Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3.
- Juson, Dave; Bull, David (2001). Full-Time at The Dell. Hagiology Publishing. ISBN 0-9534474-2-1.
- Wilton, Iain (2000). C.B. Fry: An English Hero. Metro Books. ISBN 978-1-86066-180-8.