Southampton's 5 Greatest Managers of the Modern Era

Mike Miller@mwmiller20Contributor IIIMarch 28, 2014

When Southampton hosts Newcastle United on Saturday, it will mark another return for former Saints manager Alan Pardew, even if he won't be able to watch from the touchline. 

To mark the occasion, here's a look back at the five greatest managers Southampton has had in the modern era after World War II.


5) Bill Dodgin (1946-1949)

Bill Dodgin had the unenviable task of restarting a football club after a long layoff due to the war. Although the club played some unofficial matches, league football had been shut down for almost three years.

Dodgin did pretty well in his three seasons in charge. The Gateshead native won 65, drew 28 and lost 44 in 137 games, highlighted by a couple of third-place finishes in the second division.

Dodgin left Southampton to manage Fulham in 1949.


4) Nigel Adkins (2010-2013)

Only one manager in Southampton history can claim to have led the Saints to back-to-back promotions: Nigel Adkins.

After coming to Southampton from Scunthorpe to replace Alan Pardew, the former physio got straight to work in guiding the Saints up the ladder. Adkins compiled a record of 67-25-32 while guiding the South Coast club to second-place finishes in League One and the Championship.

Although Adkins had Southampton in decent shape in the Premier League, he was sacked with the Saints in 15th place in the Premier League.


3) Gordon Strachan (2001-2004)

Although his spell at Southampton wasn't all that long, Gordon Strachan did lead the Saints to one of the club's most successful seasons in history.

The 2002-03 season saw Southampton make their highest-ever Premier League finish, finishing eighth in the final table. The season was capped by a trip to the Millennium Stadium and the FA Cup Final where the Saints lost 1-0 to Arsenal.

With Arsenal already qualified for the Champions League, Strachan earned the Saints a spot in the UEFA Cup, the last European appearance for Southampton.

Overall, the Scotsman tallied a record of 39-32-39. Strachan decided that he needed a break from football in 2004 and resigned. After a year-long break, Strachan took the helm at Celtic.


2) Ted Bates (1955-1973)

The man known as "Mr. Southampton," Ted Bates managed the Saints for 18 seasons. During that time, Bates guided the South Coast club to a Third Division championship, the last league championship Southampton have won, and eventually got the Saints to the First Division.

His 346 wins stand as a club record that will likely never be broken.

Bates was more than just a manager. He played at the club from 1937-1953, making over 200 appearances for the Saints. After stepping down as manager, he stayed on as an assistant for years before becoming a director and eventually club president.

Today, a statue of Mr. Bates stands outside of St. Mary's as a testament to his greatness.


1) Lawrie McMenemy (1973-1985)

The man that succeeded Bates had a very tough act to follow, but Lawrie McMenemy took the Saints to even greater heights.

McMenemy was the manager that guided Southampton to the 1976 FA Cup victory over Manchester United. After coming to the South Coast from Grimsby, the Gateshead native compiled a record of 250-155-184. In that run, the Saints reached second place in the old First Division in 1983-1984, the club's highest-ever league finish.

McMenemy left Southampton for Sunderland in 1985, where he was unable to replicate his success. He returned to the South Coast as director of football before leaving again after Rupert Lowe took over the club.



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