There was an exciting atmosphere at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton this morning, as scores of fans gathered to wait for one of the sixty-four coaches which are carrying them to Wembley Stadium in London. The Saints are playing Manchester United today in the EFL Cup Final.
There were warnings advising fans to check before they travel. South West Trains issued advice, and extra trains have been put on. The roads are also expected to be busy this afternoon with a Six Nations Rugby tournament match happening at Twickenham this afternoon too.
Football fans from Southampton will be on their way to Wembley tomorrow to see the Saints take on Man U. The sides are in a face-off for the final of the English Football League Cup. Kick-off is at 4.30pm on Sunday 26th February.
The trains from Southampton are expected to be extra busy as fans head to see their sides in competition. The rail network is also expecting higher customer numbers than usual especially at Clapham Junction, as people change for overground services to Wembley; and also at London Waterloo as people switch to underground services to Wembley.
South West trains are putting on additional trains for travellers:
From Southampton Central to London Waterloo at 10.50am and at 11.50am.
In the evening for the return journeys, there are also two additional trains from London Waterloo to Southampton Central at 8.50pm and 9.50pm.
However, there are warnings for people to check for engineering works along the route if they are attending the Cup Final. There are planned engineering works in the Bournemouth areawith buses replacing trains between Poole, Bournemouth and Southampton Airport Parkway.
There are also engineering works on the London overground, meaning no services between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction.
There are no direct Southern services between Clapham Junction and Wembley Central.
The rail network is also expected to be busy because of the Six Nations rugby tournament at Twickenham. Rugby fans will be heading to the ground for the England v Italy match which kicks off at 3pm on Sunday.
Claude Puel was relieved to end his wait for a first Premier League win as Southampton manager.
Charlie Austin climbed off the bench to secure a 1-0 victory over Swansea to lift Saints out of the bottom three.
Austin, back among the substitutes despite his two-goal heroics in the Europa Cup win over Sparta Prague on Thursday evening, watched his team-mates spurn a host of chances.
Nathan Redmond was the chief culprit with some glaring misses, including one from just eight yards.
But Austin had been on for just 10 minutes - and already hit the crossbar - when he controlled Dusan Tadic's deflected cross and hammered it into the net.
"It's a good feeling," admitted Puel. "Also it's very important for my players.
"It's difficult when you don't score from all those chances. But congratulations to my players - they kept a good attitude, a good spirit and a good structure to create those chances.
"To finish with a victory is very important for the confidence."
England full-back Ryan Bertrand has signed a new five-year contract with Southampton FC.
The 26-year-old joined from Chelsea in 2014 and made 34 appearances for Saints last season, helping them qualify for the Europa League.
It means Bertrand is now committed to St Mary’s until 2021. And he joins Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster, James Ward-Prowse and Steven Davis in agreeing fresh deals at the club in recent months.
"I'm very pleased. It's been a fantastic move for me since the day I came to this club and I look forward to many more successful years and really pushing forward.
"I've enjoyed my football here. I've really enjoyed the club, and the fans have been fantastic with me personally as well, so I couldn't think of any better place to play football and to keep on developing.
"The club is always thinking forward and I really want to be a part of that, and I am sure we can go on to achieve even better things.”
A goal from Bobby Stokes sparked amazing crowd scenes in 1976, the year in which Southampton Football Club won the the FA Cup.
The parade is being recreated this Sunday - 1st May 2016 - with players of the time back onboard that bus. Among the footballers we spoke to ahead the event are Jim Steele, Hugh Fisher, Nick Holmes and David Peach.
This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of Southampton's F.A. Cup win of 1976. The city's streets were lined with fans celebrating.
It was thanks to a goal by Bobby Stokes, a man who was loved by both Southampton and Portsmouth fans. Andrew Pate spoke to Mark Sanderson, the author of a new book about Bobby's life.
Southampton fans are being given the chance to play a starring role in an exhibition celebrating the club's past and present.
The exhibition will take place at SeaCity Museum in 2018 and chart Saints' history from 1885, including victory in the FA Cup in 1976.
Supporters will be encouraged to provide memorabilia like programmes, tickets, commemorative items, photographs and signed shirts at a series of road shows later in the year.
“I am delighted that the club will have such a tremendous exhibition in SeaCity Museum, as it will be a fantastic opportunity for the city to find out more about our ground-breaking technology and processes, as well as providing an exclusive look at what lays ahead.
"We absolutely don't want this to be just a list of historical artefacts. Whilst that will form part of the exhibition, we want it to be interactive and want everyone to understand what makes us unique, not just dates in our history."
"It's important to involve the fans in something like this, especially being one myself.I grew up near Saints' stadium and just like so many others within the city, I'm really excited that we're having this exhibition.
"It will be really exciting to see what memorabilia people bring and interesting to see the social history of the football club and the integral part it is to Southampton.
"It forms very much its identity and is the heartbeat of so many Sotonians like myself. I'm really pleased that its an exhibition for the city, for the city."
The first road show will be at St. Mary's Stadium on 21 May, with more events to be announced at a later date.
Southampton travel to Swansea in the Barclays Premier League this weekend. We have all you need to know ahead of the fixture.Read the full story ›
Charlie Austin says his mind was made up the second he heard of Southampton’s interest.
The striker completed a move to St Mary’s on a four-and-a-half-year contract on Saturday, sealing a return to the Barclays Premier League.
Austin scored 18 goals during his first spell in the top flight last season, but despite plenty of interest from elsewhere, the Englishman knew Saints was the right step for him.
Austin came up against Saints during his time with Swindon Town and says seeing the club’s rise and ambition, which has in many ways matched his, was a key factor in his decision-making.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to move until the summer, but as soon as Southampton showed an interest in me, it was the one club I wanted to go to.
“If we could get the deal as soon as possible I was ready to go, and lucky enough it’s now and I’m delighted.
“You see the progression from when I was playing for Swindon against Southampton back in League 1 five or six years ago. You just look at where they’ve gone from then – straight up to the Premier League, Europa League last season.
“So for me it’s important to come to a club on the up and I can’t wait to be involved. When Southampton came in it was a no-brainer. I think the last five years have shown the ambition the club has and I just want to be part of that now.
“I’m delighted to join forces and hopefully bring my quality into a team with a lot of quality players already here. I can’t wait to meet the lads and show them what I can do on the pitch.”