Sunday, March 29, 2015


I feel a bit nervous of sharing personal photographs, but this one was taken five years ago almost to the day when Southampton won the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy at Wembley.  And Bristol City`s win last weekend has rekindled memories of that day in 2010 which was the culmination of something of a struggle in earlier rounds to reach Wembley. 

I had the pleasure of being at Wembley back in 1976 when Southampton beat Manchester United to win the FA Cup thanks to the late Bobby Stokes`s decisive strike so I was determined to make the 2010 JPT Final.  The `group` in the photo are the Southampton Codgers - an exclusive collection of the more mature, discerning Saints fans, whose slogan, emblazoned on their flags, is `Have Some Tea and Cake,` which sums up their attitude to football and life in general - nothing too serious, all about enjoyment and good company.  We even had our very own calling cards, to be left in strategic locations or handed to deserving acquaintances as we pass through life`s journey:- 

As the years have gone by, I have become less enamoured at the prospect of driving through London, so my journey to Wembley took the form of a drive up the M25 to Watford, where after some excursions up and down cul-de-sacs and asking directions a few times, I found the station, bought my ticket and took the train to Wembley in the company of some amiable Carlisle fans who had travelled down for the day.

Getting off the train, I found Greggs, sat in a park and ate my `lunch` and made my way to The Green Man, the pub designated as the Codgers meeting place.   With one of the younger Codgerettes nominated as my carer, we made our way the to Stadium and  with the other 55,000 Saints fans there that day, we revelled in the 4-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Michail Antonio, Adam Lallana, Papa Waigo and Rickie Lambert, shown left to right.  (Of the team that day, only Jose Fonte and Kelvin Davis are still at the club, so does life move on.)

Back to the Green Man, more restrained revels, a brief tour of the sights of down town Wembley and then the return journey home, groping my way out of Watford but feeling like a kid again, like 1976 all over again, despite my septuagenarian status as one of the more senior Codgers (my silver locks and wizened features giving away my identity in the photo above?)   And so the memories of that big day out are still remembered, cherished even, as one of almost juvenile excitement in the company of like minded  devotees of the south coast`s finest.

And strange to say that, although winning the trophy that day marked a milestone in the extraordinary rise of the club from those League One days to the heights of the Premier League, I suspect we Codgers got as much pleasure from that day to remember as we do from the dizzy heights to which the Saints have now ascended, however long that may last.   Maybe we`re just easily pleased?


Ray Turner said...

I was there too Snopper. Being part of the incredible fleet of coaches that travelled up the M3 that day, was almost as special as seeing the Saints win.

Wurzel said...

A great day.
The photo reminds me that as our train pulled into Wembley Park thinking to myself "**** we were meant to wait for Snopper at Rickmansworth tube station". As we both appear in the Green Man photo either you were too kind to mention it or, in true Codger fashion, completely forgot as well. :D

Snopper said...

I can`t remember, Wurz, but I seem to recall we all got on the train back from Wembley and I finished up at Watford, which was just as well as that`s where I had left the car. I also can`t remember who took the photo...I hope I`m not infringing copyright again. Seriously, though, a memorable day with good friends - shame we don`t see quite as much of each other as we used to. Hope all is well with you and yours.