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★★★Welcome to the FM17 Southampton FC Thread ★★★ Southampton FC club logo - Nicknamed The Saints, they currently play their football in England's top tier. ★Introduction★ The Saints experienced yet another summer of upheaval and change ahead of their 2016/17 season in the Premier League. It is now the third successive season that departures of key players and managers have hampered preparations ahead of a new campaign, and while the Liebherr family, Ralph Krueger and Les Reed have answered critics in the past many will begin to wonder whether this is the season the Saints will feel the strain Southampton finished the 15/16 season with a highest ever league position finish & securing European football at St. Marys for next season. A fantastic season lading in 6th place and ending just 3 points away from securing Champions League football. Despite this, it was not enough to keep hold of manager Ronald Koeman who moved to an under performing Everton team, along with key players Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama & Graziano Pelle moving on to pastures new. Enter center stage, Claude Puel. The new manager is somewhat an unknown quantity in England, but having had success in Ligue 1 in France with spells at Lyon & Monaco and more recently having taken Nice into Europe by playing some of the most attractive football in the league, he certainly has the CV to back his new position. Getting the best of Hatem Ben Arfa is no small feat in itself. Balancing the demands of domestic and European football will not be straightforward and Southampton will not want to spread themselves too thin. The combination of a new manager, a heavy workload and rivals hoping to overtake them presents them with a daunting challenge; simply standing still would be a fine achievement. But do not be shocked if the Saints surprise again! ★Who Are Southampton?★ Southampton Football Club are a professional club based in the city of Southampton, Hampshire and compete in the top flight of English football, the Premier League. Nicknamed the Saints, they play their home games at St Mary's Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. In 2001 the move from the Dell to the new St Mary's Stadium was something of a spiritual homecoming for Southampton Football Club. The club has won the FA Cup once in 1976 and its highest ever league finish was in the old First Division, finishing second place in 1983/84. The Saints were relegated from the Premier League in 2005 ending 27 successive seasons of top flight football for the club. Led by the Liebherr family with club legend Markus Liebherr at the helm, the owners appointed an ex Scunthorpe physio as manager who led the club to successive promotions and back into the Premier league after a 7 years absence. Markus Liebherr rescued Southampton from financial ruin. Markus sadly passed away August 2010. The time away from the Premier League was arguably the most difficult in Southampton's history. Riddled with financial mis-management the club plummeted to the depths of League One with a -10 point penalty. Thanks to the generosity and love of the Liebherr family, a world renowned youth academy responsible for producing the likes of Gareth Bale, The Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain & Adam Lallana to name a few and the appointment of Nigel Adkins as a manager the club eventually climbed back to the Premier League. ★History★ The team that play in red and white today can trace their roots back to the club formed in 1885 by members of St. Mary's Church Young Men's association who played their football on the banks of the Itchen for 13 years before moving on. Originally called Southampton St. Mary's, the club joined the Southern League in 1894 and won the championship for three years running between 1897 and 1899 and again in 1901, 1903 and 1904. That success spanned some major changes for the Saints as they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell in 1898. Although they would spend the next 103 years there, the future was far from certain in those early days and the club had to rent the premises first before they could stump up the cash to buy the stadium outright in the early part of the next century. The dream of Division 1 football at The Dell for the first time was finally realised in 1966 when Ted Bates' team were promoted as runners-up. It was a never-to-be-forgotten achievement. The most memorable day in Southampton Football Club's history came in 1976 when the Second Division side, managed by Lawrie McMenemy, won the FA Cup for the first time with a sensational 1-0 victory at Wembley over odds-on favourites Manchester United. In 1978 Saints gained promotion back to Division 1 and a year later they were back at Wembley, losing 3-2 to Nottingham Forest in the League Cup Final. Alan Ball was in the Saints team, one of several star names to join the club. The signing of Kevin Keegan, twice European Footballer of the Year, from Hamburg, was a masterstroke by McMenemy, a move which stunned the football world and one that was followed in the 1983/84 season by the most successful campaign in the club's history. With the great Peter Shilton in goal they finished runners-up to Liverpool in the league and reached the FA Cup semi-finals, losing to Everton in extra time. Saints emerged as one of the country's most entertaining teams as second top scorers in the First Division with 71 strikes in their goals for column. Matthew Le Tissier, 24-goal leading scorer, was named PFA Young Player of the Year with strike partner Rodney Wallace in second place. Matthew Le Tissier scored over 100 goals for The Saints. He now works as a TV Pundit for Sky Sports News A turbulent start to the 21st century meant manager Harry Redknapp was unable to halt the decline despite bringing in five new players during the January transfer window and, after a 27-year stay in the top flight, Saints were relegated on the final day of the 2004/05 season. They lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United to finish bottom of the Premier League. The Club was virtually on its knees as administration lingered over Saints for the early part of the summer in 2009. The positive news that everyone had been waiting for finally arrived however, when Nicola Cortese, a man who had built his reputation in Swiss finance, introduced German businessman Markus Liebherr to the idea of buying the Club. The Saints were launched upwards securing successive promotions back the Premier League where they remain today.