Strikers are the most glorified players in the game of world football. They are paid millions to finish off their teammates' hard work by putting a ball inside an 8' x 24' frame. One moment of brilliance can cancel out 89 minutes of rubbish performance.
Southampton have had hundreds of individuals play in the role of striker in the club's 127-year history. But a select few have made indelible marks on the history of the Saints. Here is a look at the top 10 strikers in the history of Southampton FC.
[Note: Before you ask, Matt Le Tissier was considered an attacking midfielder, so he won't be included in this list]
10. Alan Shearer (1988-1992)
While Alan Shearer is far more well-known for wearing black and white stripes as opposed to red and white stripes, Shearer spent the beginning of his career playing for Southampton.
Shearer made an immediate impact for Southampton, scoring a hat-trick in his full debut against Arsenal, a 4-2 victory for the Saints. Shearer scored 43 goals for the Saints in 158 appearances over four seasons before moving on to Blackburn in the summer of 1992 in a then-British-record £3.6 million move.
9. Marian Pahars (1999-2006)
One of Southampton's most beloved players in history, Marian Pahars may have helped build St. Mary's Stadium.
Not by doing any of the construction himself, of course, but by scoring both goals in Southampton's "Great Escape" in 1999, a 2-0 victory over Everton. After securing Premier League status for another season, the go-ahead was given to build St. Mary's, which opened in the Fall of 2001.
The "Little Latvian" scored 45 times in 156 career appearances for the Saints, leaving the club in 2006 due to numerous injuries. Pahars has now joined the managerial ranks and is currently the coach of the Latvian national team.
8. Ted Bates (1937-1953)
Ted Bates is more known for his long period of management with Southampton. But Bates was a pretty nifty player in his day too. Bates scored 64 times in 216 appearances with Southampton before retiring in 1953.
Bates would take over the coaching duties of the Saints in 1955 and lead Southampton from the third division to the top flight in 1966. The Thetford native would turn over the reins to Laurie McMenemy in 1973, but he stayed on as an assistant and was on the bench for Southampton's FA Cup victory in 1976.
Bates would eventually move onto the club's board and served as director and President of the club before his passing in 2003. A statue of Bates stands outside of St. Mary's Stadium today.
7. Steve Moran (1979-1986)
Steve Moran was the primary threat during Southampton's most successful season, a runner-up finish in Division One in the 1983-84 season.
Moran would score 99 times for the Saints in 229 appearances. In 1982, the Croydon native would win the PFA Young Player of the Year award, the first Southampton player to do so.
Back injuries would slow Moran's career, and he eventually left the club to join Leicester City in 2006 for a £300,000 transfer fee.
6. Derek Reeves (1954-1962)
Derek Reeves' name has graced the Southampton record book for over 50 years.
During the 1959-60 season, Reeves scored a club record 44 goals in all competitions—a record that seems likely to stand for many more years to come.
Those 44 goals came while Southampton were in the third division, and Reeves struggled to adapt to higher levels of play. The Bournemouth native eventually left Southampton to join his hometown club in 1962. But not before he totaled 173 goals in 311 appearances.
5. James Beattie (1998-2005)
Once considered a throw-in in the transfer of Kevin Davies to Blackburn, James Beattie became Southampton's most productive striker of the early 2000s.
Beattie helped Southampton reach the FA Cup Final in 2003, scoring 23 goals. That total was the most of any English player, and third most of any player in the Premier League.
4. Rickie Lambert (2009-Present)
"Southampton's Goal Machine" has been an impact player at every level of Southampton's ascent to the Premier League.
Rickie Lambert scored at least 20 goals each season in the three seasons it took the Saints to rise from League One to the Premier League. Once reaching the top flight, Lambert didn't slow down much, scoring 15 goals and finishing as the highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League, tied with Frank Lampard.
In just 199 appearances, Lambert has already broken the century mark with 104 goals in all competitions. This season, the 31-year-old finally made the England national team and will likely start against Moldova this weekend.
3. Ron Davies (1966-1973)
Ron Davies was brought in to help Southampton cope with the demands of top-flight football for the first time. The Welsh international certainly didn't disappoint.
Davies would score 153 goals in 281 career appearances with the Saints, and he was described by Manchester United manager Matt Busby to be "the finest centre-forward in Europe." The Welshman was the top scorer in Division One in both 1966-67 and 1967-68, scoring 37 and 28 goals, respectively.
Davies would move on to archrivals Portsmouth in 1972 before a surprise signing by Manchester United in 1974. He would then move to the United States to play in the old North American Soccer League. He passed away in Albuquerque, New Mexico this past May.
2. Terry Paine (1957-1974)
Terry Paine is the longest servant to Southampton, playing in 809 total matches for the Saints over 18 years. In his time as a wide forward, Paine scored 187 goals, the fourth most in club history.
Paine was also a member of England's 1966 World Cup winning team, although he was limited to one match due to injury. He was also a member of Southampton's 1960 Third Division champion team and the 1966 squad that earned promotion into the top flight.
Paine was named Honorary President of Southampton in January of 2013 and currently works as a pundit on South African television.
1. Mick Channon (1965-1977, 1979-1982)
Mick Channon is the leading all-time scorer in Southampton history, scoring 227 goals in 607 career appearances with the club during two different spans.
Channon was the leading scorer in the top flight in 1974 with 21 goals, despite the fact that Southampton were relegated after the season. The England international also played in Southampton's 1976 FA Cup victory.
Channon left the Saints in 1977 when Southampton were in the Second Division to join First Division Manchester City. However, with opportunities limited at Manchester City and Southampton back in the top flight, Channon returned to Southampton in 1979.
Channon would leave Southampton for good in 1982, making several stops before finally retiring in 1987. Now 64 years old, Channon has become a leading horse trainer and has a suite named in his honor at St. Mary's Stadium.
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