Southern Television began broadcasting an ITV service to the Hampshire area in August 1958. Local football highlights first appeared on Sunday 6th November 1966 (2:45-3:30pm), by which time Southern had added the South East corner of England to their coverage area, indeed the 2nd game they recorded was Gillingham 1 Swindon Town 0 on 12th November 1966 (See the matchday programme article here). The station continued to turn up at a match on a weekly basis for the rest of the decade, but coverage was severely cut for 1970/71, Southern viewers then saw London Weekend's The Big Match when their local service was not covering a match of their own. For 1973/74 Southern appear to have dropped Southern Soccer altogether and merely contributed the odd local game for LWT to screen as the 2nd feature on The Big Match. Following a trickle of local programmes thereafter, Brighton's promotion in 1979 meant that the region now had two top flight clubs and this encouraged Southern to revamp their local highlights as The Southern Big Match.
November 1966 - ?December 1968?
Maurice Edelston - A former Reading centre forward (70 goals in 202 appearances 1946-52) who had also played in the infamous Berlin Olympics at the age of 18. By 1960 he was commentating for BBC radio and in 1968, towards the end of his spell with Southern, he commentated for Match of the Day whilst David Coleman was covering the Olympics. Edelston was still part of BBC Radio's team when he died in January 1976 having also covered Tennis.
?January 1969 - 1970?
Simon Smith - A BBC radio football and boxing commentator for many years, he died in the mid-2000's.
*Smith may have first commentated for Southern on 26/Oct/1968 when Edelston did a one off for Match of the Day.
Gerry Williams - A West London born Crystal Palace fan who also covered football for the Daily Mail, he later became better known nationally as a BBC Tennis commentator before retiring circa 2005. He died in 2016.
*Fred Dineage was photographed commentating on 27/Jan/1973 Bournemouth v York City
December 1974 - October 1976
Martin Tyler - First commentated for Southern on 28/Dec/1974 when Williams was unavailable, he was then asked back and may have become Southern's first choice commentator with Williams remaining with the station until 1978. Tyler commentated for Southern for the final time on 02/Oct/1976 before leaving for Yorkshire Television and going on to become the voice of football in the Granada region and ultimately Sky Sports.
?November 1976 - April 1977?
Dave Lanning - From Poole, Lanning was a darts and speedway commentator on ITV's World of Sport but also commentated on at least one football match for Southern. He went on to cover darts for Sky Sports before announcing his retirement in 2011, he died aged 78 in October 2016.
*Lanning also commentated on the Yorkshire TV series "The Indoor League"
?October 1977 - Early 1978?
Nigel King - His main ITV job was as a commentator on stock car racing (and other motor sports) for World Of Sport but he also voiced a number of football matches for Southern.
?Early 1978? - December 1981
David Bobin - Joined Southern TV in 1975 having worked for local newspapers and radio in Oxford, he was also among the original employees of Southern's successors TVS, but he was replaced by Gerald Sinstadt in the football commentary box. Bobin also worked for Meridian before joining Sky. Died in May 2017.
*Note:- It has been suggested that Tony Gubba was 2nd choice commentator for Southern in the early days, but apparently he only presented at the time (he left Southern for BBC Sport in 1973).
region's league teams 1966-1981
Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton & Hove Albion*, Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, Reading, Gillingham, Aldershot and Southend United**.
*LWT cameras also occasionally turned up at Brighton, whilst Reading and Aldershot may also have been considered LWT clubs before Southern added a TV mast in that area in 1971.
**Coverage of Southend United was shared with Anglia.
The following lists detail all known Saturday matches recorded by Southern cameras for local highlights, the re-edits of other region's matches are not included here (see the other region's pages for those here). Given dates are for when the fixture was played (not the broadcast). For midweek games (which were networked) go here, for full details of networked Wembley Cup finals go here, for European finals see here. Given dates are for when the fixture was played (not the broadcast). Non-South based matches are in italics.
Click the ball for seasons 1966/67 - 1967/68
There were no football highlights scheduled for Southern viewers until the weekend of 21st September. All editions of "Southern Soccer" continued to be broadcast in 405-line black & white on VHF only until December 1969. Maurice Edelston presumed to be the commentator until the end of December 1968, then Simon Smith.
21/Sep Southampton 2 (Channon, Sydenham) Ipswich Town 2 (O'Rouke, Crawford)
28/Sep Gillingham (Woodley) Mansfield Town 1 (Sharkey)
05/Oct Portsmouth 3 (Trebilcock 2, Pointer) Oxford United 0
12/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Lawton) Swindon Town 3 (Smith, Rogers, Butler)
19/Oct Bournemouth & Boscombe A. 2 (Hold., East) Southport 1 (Redrobe)
26/Oct Southampton 1 (Davies) Sheffield Wednesday 1 (McCalliog) *possibly Simon Smith comm (Edelston working for the BBC this weekend)
02/Nov Portsmouth 2 (Hiron, Pointer) Sheffield United 1 (Colguhoun)
09/Nov Southend United 2 (Moore, Chambers) Doncaster Rovers 0 *Edelston billed as commentator in the Express. Anglia were at Ipswich
16/Nov Portsmouth 2 (Jennings 2) Aston Villa 0
23/Nov Southampton 2 (Davies 2) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Greaves)
30/Nov Bournemouth & Boscombe A. 2 (Pound, Simmons) Gillingham 0
07/Dec Southampton 1 (Channon) Nottingham Forest 1 (Lyons)
14/Dec Portsmouth 1 (Pointer) Blackpool 0
21/Dec Southampton 2 (Davies Channon) Manchester United 0
28/Dec Portsmouth 1 (Brown) Bristol City 1 (Galley)
04/Jan Portsmouth 3 (Jennings 2, McCann) Chesterfield 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round]
11/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (K. Napier) Stockport County 1 (Young)
18/Jan Portsmouth 3 (Trebilcock, Travers, Pointer) Fulham 1 (Haynes) *Observer lists Bournemouth 3 Oldham 1
25/Jan Southampton 2 (McGrath, Davies) Aston Villa 2 (Golfre, Hole)
01/Feb Southampton 5 (Channon, Gabriel, Webb(og), Davies 2) Chelsea 0
08/Feb Portsmouth 1 (Hiron) Hull City 0
15/Feb Showed LWT's match *Observer lists Gillingham v Bournemouth (PP'd)
22/Feb Portsmouth 2 (Hiron 2) Bolton Wanderers 2 (Wharton, Taylor)
01/Mar Showed other region's FA Cup ties
08/Mar Southampton 1 (Davies) Sunderland 0
15/Mar League Cup Final *Networked highlights
22/Mar FA Cup SF *Networked highlights of Man City/Everton
29/Mar Portsmouth 4 (Jennings, Trebilcock(pen), McCann 2) Charlton Athletic 1 (Tees)
05/Apr *No programme this week, Show Jumping from Hickstead was shown in the Sunday afternoon football slot
12/Apr Portsmouth 5 (Hiron 4, Jennings) Norwich City 2 (Bennett, Foggo(pen))
19/Apr Southampton 3 (Stokes, Paine, Judd) Manchester City 0
Southampton enjoyed their best season yet in the top flight finishing 7th and they also reached the League Cup QF's, 2nd tier Portsmouth dropped to 15th, 3rd tier Bournemouth (managed by Fred Cox) had a good season ending 4th, Brighton were 12th, Reading 14th and Gillingham 20th.
There were no football highlights scheduled for Southern viewers until the weekend of 13th September.
13/Sep Showed LWT *Listed in The News of the World
20/Sep Showed LWT *News of the World (Sunday Times lists "Southern Soccer" but no game)
27/Sep Showed LWT *News of the World
04/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Bristol Rovers 3 (Stubbs, Graydon, B.Jones)
11/Oct Showed LWT *News of the World
18/Oct Southampton 0 Coventry City 0
25/Oct Portsmouth 3 (Hiron, Ley, Pointer) Swindon Town 1 (Smart)
01/Nov Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Gilliver, K.Napier) Fulham 1 (Haynes) *Simon Smith commentated
08/Nov Portsmouth 3 (Hiron 2, Pointer) Cardiff City 0 *News of the World & Sunday Times
15/Nov Southampton 1 (Davies) Leeds United 1 (Jones) *News of the World & Sunday Times
22/Nov Bournemouth & BA 2 (East, MacDougal(pen)) Gillingham 1 (Peach) *News of the World, Observer & Sunday Times
29/Nov Southampton 1 (Gabriel) Crystal Palace 1 (Kember) *Simon Smith (also shown as manin game on LWT)
06/Dec Showed LWT *News of the World
Southern began broadcasting in colour on 13th December 1969.
13/Dec Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Orient 0 *News of the World & Sunday Times (Times lists the programme as b&w)
20/Dec Portsmouth 2 (Trebilcock 2) Leicester City 3 (Farrington, Fen 2) *Times lists the programme as b&w, NOTW lists L match only, Sunday Times lists "Southern Soccer" but no game
27/Dec Showed LWT *NOTW. First colour edition of "Southern Soccer" according to the Times, S game PP'd?
03/Jan Southampton 3 (Saul 2, Channon) Newcastle United 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round]
10/Jan Portsmouth 1 (Jennings) Bolton Wanderers 1 (Byram) *Times says Southern showed "The Big Match Special", Sunday Times lists "Southern Soccer" but no game, perhaps they joined LWT half way for WC draw?
17/Jan Southampton 2 (Channon 2) Everton 1 (Morrisey) *NOTW lists L match only, Sunday Times lists "Southern Soccer" but no game
24/Jan Southampton 1 (Stokes) Leicester City 1 (Farrington) [FA Cup 4th Round]
31/Jan Portsmouth 5 (Storrie, Hiron 3, McCann(pen)) Charlton Athletic 1 (Peacock)
07/Feb Showed LWT *News of the World
14/Feb Portsmouth 2 (McCann, Jennings) Blackpool 3 (Pickering, Green, Suddick)
21/Feb Showed LWT *News of the World (Sunday Times lists "Southern Soccer" but no game)
28/Feb Portsmouth 4 (Storrie, Jennings, McCann, Hiron) Carlisle United 0 *News of the World
07/Mar League Cup Final *Networked highlights
14/Mar Showed LWT *News of the World
21/Mar Showed LWT *News of the World
28/Mar Showed LWT *News of the World (Sunday Times lists "Southern Soccer" but no game)
04/Apr Showed LWT *News of the World
Top flight Southampton dropped to an alarming 19th but enjoyed a run in the Fairs Cup (now UEFA cup) overcoming Rosenburg and Vitoria Guimaraes before going out to Newcastle on away goals in the 3rd round. 2nd tier Portsmouth were a poor 17th but there were better performances in the 3rd tier from Brighton who took 5th spot (manager Fred Goodwin then left for Birmingham) and Reading in 8th (with 24 goals from Les Chappell), Gillingham again finished just above the trapdoor in 20th but registered an appearance in the FA Cup 5th Round, Bournemouth however could not re-capture the form of the previous season and were a surprise relegation in 21st which saw the end of a 2nd spell in charge for manager Fred Cox.
From 2nd August to 6th September Southern showed LWT's "The Big Match"
01/Aug LWT's "The Big Match" featuring Reading 2 (Habbin, Cumming) Man Utd 3 (Edwards, Charlton 2) [Watney Cup] *Brian Moore comm.
12/Sep Southampton 4 (Davies 2, Channon 2) Derby County 0
19/Sep Portsmouth 1 (Hiron) Birmingham City 0
Now showed LWT's "The Big Match" on weekends when no "Southern Soccer" was produced.
An ITV technicians colour strike affected programmes until mid-February, some highlights would now be recorded in black & white
31/Oct Portsmouth 4 (Trebilcock 3, Pointer) Blackburn Rovers 1 (Knighton)
07/Nov Southampton 2 (Channon, Gabriel) Newcastle United 0
21/Nov Southampton 1 (Gabriel) Manchester United 0
05/Dec Southampton 4 (Davies 2, O'Neill(og), Jenkins) Nottingham Forest 1 (Cormack)
19/Dec Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Gilliver, K.Napier(pen)) Mansfield Town 0
26/Dec Showed LWT coverage of Arsenal 0 Southampton 0
16/Jan Portsmouth 1 (Youlden) Cardiff City 3 (Plurray, Warboys 2)
23/Jan Showed Yorkshire's "Soccer" - York City 3 (McMahon, Hewitt, Aimson) Southampton 3 (Gabriel, Channon, Davies) [FA Cup R4]
ITV technicians colour strike now ended, all programmes in colour from now on
20/Feb Bournemouth & Boscombe A. 0 Southport 1 (Kelley)
13/Mar Southampton 1 (Paine) West Bromwich Albion 0
10/Apr Southampton 1 (Paine) Arsenal 2 (Radford, McLintock) *LWT covered Gillingham 1 (Green) Fulham 3 (Johnson, Barrett, Conway)
01/May Portsmouth 1 (Hiron) Leicester City 2 (Farrington, Brown) *Listed in Sunday Times
1970/71 was a much improved campaign for Southampton who finished 7th, but Portsmouth continued to underwhelm in the 2nd tier by finishing 16th - Towards the end of the season former player Ron Tindall was appointed Pompey team manager with George Smith staying on as general manager. There was bad news for the region in the 3rd tier with Reading and Gillingham both relegated whilst Brighton (now managed by Pat Saward) finished 14th. In the 4th tier, Bournemouth - inspired by new manager John Bond - were instantly promoted back up as runners-up, a massive 42 of their league goals were bagged by Ted MacDougall.
There was no football on Southern during the first 5 weekends of the season, "Southern Soccer" returned on 19/Sep/1971, then LWT's "The Big Match" was shown when there was no local match.
18/Sep Southampton 3 (Fisher, Paine, Channon) Coventry City 1 (Hunt) *Sunday People
23/Oct Portsmouth 6 (Jennings 2, Reynolds, Trebilcock, Hand, Smith) Fulham 3 (Conway 2, Barrett) *Sunday People
13/Nov Reading 1 (B.Wagstaff) Gillingham 2 (Knight, Tydeman)
04/Dec Bournemouth 2 (MacDougall 2) York City 2 (Rowles, Swallow) *Sunday People & Sunday Times
08/Jan Southampton 1 (O'Brien) Derby County 2 (O'Hare, Durban) *Sunday People & Sunday Times
15/Jan Southampton 1 (Gabriel) Manchester United 1 (Charlton) [FA Cup 3rd Round] *included on "The Big Match" (no "Southern Soccer" billed)
05/Feb Reading 1 (Wagstaffe) Arsenal 2 (Morgan(og), Rice) [FA Cup 4th Round] *this was the main game on LWT's "The Big Match", Brian Moore comm.
19/Feb Portsmouth 1 (Reynolds) Queens Park Rangers 0 *Sunday Times & People
22/Apr Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Murray(pen)) Bolton Wanderers 1 (G.Jones(pen)) *LWT coverage with Brian Moore comm, "Southern Soccer" billed
29/Apr Portsmouth 1 (Reynolds) Burnley 2 (Dobson, Thompson) *Sunday Times & People
Southampton continued their unpredictable run in the top flight, crashing back down to 19th, last season's success earned them a UEFA Cup place but Saints lost out to Atletico Bilbao 3-2 on agg. 2nd tier Portsmouth remained frustratingly stable in 16th, but there was impressive Southern performances in the 3rd tier as Brighton were promoted as runners-up whilst Bournemouth were unlucky in 3rd (still only two up/two down at this stage), Cherries star striker Ted MacDougall was again the country's leading scorer with 35 goals, he also scored 9 times in an 11-0 FA Cup victory v Margate. Now in the 4th tier, both Reading and Gillingham were cushioned in mid-table, Southend won promotion as runners-up.
Southern ran LWT's "The Big Match" from the start of the season. The Times only bills 5 editions of "Southern Soccer".
30/Sep Portsmouth 2 (Reynolds, Piper) Brighton & Hove Albion 0 *Sunday Times & People
11/Nov Portsmouth 2 (Piper, Jennings) Luton Town 2 (Stephenson(og), Fern) *Sunday Times & People
02/Dec Southampton 1 (Channon) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Chivers) *Sunday People
13/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Chelsea 2 (Osgood 2) [FA Cup 3rd Round] *"The Big Match" main game with Jimmy Hill commentating
27/Jan Bournemouth 2 (Machin, Miller) York City 3 (Aimson, Stone 2) *Fred Dineage photographed commentating
14/Apr Southampton 1 (Gilchrist) Newcastle United 1 (Barrowclough) *Sunday People
Top flight Southampton finished 13th, 2nd tier Portsmouth a predictable 17th and sadly Brighton were unable to cope with life in the higher division and were relegated in last place. In the 3rd tier, Bournemouth slipped back to 7th following the sale of goal king Ted MacDougall to Manchester United in September, Southend were 14th. In the 4th tier, Aldershot took the final promotion place whilst Reading (7th) and Gillingham (9th) both improved on last season.
There were no editions of "Southern Soccer" billed all season, but Southern appear to have recorded a handful of games for inclusion as the 2nd game on LWT's "The Big Match" which Southern showed from the start of the campaign.
13/Oct *Times bills "Soccer" this weekend, possibly Southern's favour to Westward who had no direct line to YTV who showed Huddersfield v Plymouth.
01/Dec Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (O'Sullivan, R.Howell) Bristol Rovers 8 (Bannister 3, Fearnley, Warboys 4) *"The Big Match" main game, Brian Moore comm.
29/Dec Southampton 1 (Channon(pen)) Coventry City 1 (Craven) *included on "The Big Match", Gerry Williams commentary
16/Feb Southampton 0 Wrexham 1 (Smallman) [FA Cup 5th Round] *included on "The Big Match"
23/Feb Southampton 0 Manchester City 2 (Marsh, Law) *included on "The Big Match", LWT covered Gillingham 2 (Yeo, Wilks) Exeter City 1 (Bowker)
Southampton were early victims of an increase to three up/three down between the upper tiers - finishing 20th they were relegated after eight seasons in the old First Division, this despite Mick Channon leading the top flight goal scoring charts with 21 as well as the signing of Peter Osgood from Chelsea in March and the appointment of Lawrie McMenemy as Team manager back in November (Ted Bates was now General Manager). 2nd tier Portsmouth had moved Ron Tindell into a 'General manager' role and John Mortimer was now Team manager, but the change made little difference as Pompey finished 15th. 3rd tier Aldershot finished 8th with 25 goals scored by Jack Howarth, Bournemouth were 11th after losing manager John Bond to Norwich in November. Southend finished 12th. A deflated Brighton sacked Pat Saward on 22nd October and ten days later they sensationally replaced him with Brian Clough (who had resigned from Derby a week earlier), but his time at Brighton proved to be an unhappy one and the Seagulls finished 19th before Clough moved on to Leeds, leaving behind his assistant Peter Taylor to take on the job of managing Brighton. 4th tier Gillingham were promoted as runners-up helped by the country's top scorer Brian Yeo with 31 goals, but manager Andy Nelson was then tempted away by Charlton Athletic. Reading were 6th with Les Chappell on target 24 times.
31/Aug Gillingham 0 Charlton Athletic 1 (Peacock) *"The Big Match" main game, Brian Moore commentary
28/Dec Southampton 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1 (Potts) *Martin Tyler's first commentary
04/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Leatherhead 1 (Kelly) [FA Cup R3] *Gerry Williams commentary, Anglia at Southend
01/Feb Portsmouth 2 (Graham, Foggo) Oxford United 1 (McCulloch) *Listed in Sunday Times
08/Feb Southampton 3 (Channon 3(1pen)) Bristol Rovers 0 *Martin Tyler commentary
15/Mar Bournemouth 1 (Parodi) Preston North End 0 *"Southern Soccer & The Big Match" (prob joining LWT after main game).
19/Apr Southampton 3 (Osgood 2, Channon(pen)) Millwall 2 (Peach(og), Bolland) *Played on Friday night. Sunday Times (maybe as 2nd game on "The Big Match")
26/Apr Portsmouth 0 Norwich City 3 (Maguire, Peters, Boyer) *Martin Tyler commentary
Southampton and Portsmouth were competing in the same division for the first time since 1966 and there was controversy in the first South coast derby match when a fan ran onto the pitch and pushed referee Clive Thomas (who then took out a summons alleging common assault). Pompey had 'suspended' manager John Mortimore back on 6th September and, unable to lure Alf Ramsey back into management, then appointed future ITV football presenter Ian St John, but 19 goals from Mick Channon helped Saints finish 13th ahead of Pompey in 17th (a lowly final position that they had barely deviated from in the last 7 years!). Saints also reached the two-leg final of the Texaco Cup but lost to Newcastle. In the 3rd tier, Gillingham were 10th whilst a trio of Southern clubs narrowly avoided the drop - Southend in 18th, Brighton 19th and Aldershot 20th - all at the expense of Bournemouth who were relegated in 21st, the Cherries had sacked Trevor Hartley (the League's youngest manager at 27) on 2nd January, John Benson was then appointed player/manager. In the 4th tier, Reading finished 7th.
"Southern Soccer" returned this season on 28/Sep/1975, but this and 12/Oct/1975 are billed as "Southern Soccer and The Big Match", so they probably joined LWT's programme after showing the main game.
27/Sep Southampton 4 (Channon 3, Peach) Portsmouth 0
11/Oct Reading 2 (Murray, Hiron) Bradford City 1 (Cooke)
29/Nov Portsmouth 0 Oxford United 2 (Tait 2)
06/Dec Brighton & Hove Albion 4 (Binney, Mellor, Martin 2) Hereford United 2 (Tyler, Carter)
17/Jan Southampton 0 Bolton Wanderers 0
31/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Machin) Mansfield Town 0
27/Mar Portsmouth 0 West Bromwich Albion 1 (Cantello)
03/Apr Southampton 2 (Gilchrist, Peach(pen)) Crystal Palace 0 [FA Cup SF] *Networked highlights from Stamford Bridge
24/Apr Reading 3 (Friday, Dunphy, Nelson) Crewe Alexandra 1 (Purdie)
01/May FA Cup Final - Southampton 1 (Stokes) Manchester United 0 *Networked live & networked Sunday highlights
1975/76 was a seismic season in the history of the region's football as Southampton won the FA Cup for the first time - and did so as a 2nd tier club versus a resurgent Manchester United - Bobby Stokes (born in Portsmouth) scored the only goal of the game in the 83rd minute. Saints finished 6th in the league and Mick Channon was again their leading scorer on 19 but it was a thoroughly depressing time for Portsmouth who didn't win a home game until January and were relegated in last place. In the 3rd tier, Brighton just missed out on promotion in 4th with Fred Binney their top marksman on 23, Gillingham were 15th but Southend and Aldershot were both relegated. 4th tier Reading were promoted in 3rd whilst Bournemouth finished 6th.
Only one "Southern Soccer" programme is billed in the Times this season (14/Nov/1976), but there had to have been at least five editions. The 02/Oct match may have been seen in the South on LWT's "The Big Match" which continued to be screened on all of our unlisted weekends.
02/Oct Southampton 4 (MacDougall 2, Blyth 2) Fulham 1 (Mitchell) *Tyler's last for Southern, LWT covered Brighton 1 C. Palace 1 & also showed Soton v Fulham
13/Nov Reading 0 Preston North End 2 (Elwiss, Bruce)
04/Dec Southampton 2 (Holmes, Channon) Notts County 1 (Vinter) *TV Times bills "Southern Soccer"
15/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 3 (Cross(pen), Ward 2) Chester 0 *Dave Lanning commentated
26/Feb Southampton 2 (Peach(pen), Holmes) Man Utd 2 (Macari, Hill) [FA Cup R3] *"Southern Soccer" billed, but LWT's main game also with Brian Moore comm.
02/Apr Southampton 1 (Ball) Luton Town 0
2nd tier Southampton were unable to capitalise on their FA Cup triumph and, having waited until October to win their first league game, finished a disappointing 9th. Saints European qualification into the Cup-winners cup also threatened to turn sour in Marseille where crowd trouble suspended play for a period in the 2nd half and the Southampton party and supporters were attacked by French fans after the match, but Saints went through and reached the Quarter-finals which saw them lose 3-2 on agg to Anderlecht. Former Bournemouth star Ted MacDougall returned to the region - now playing for Saints he chipped in with 23 goals, England 1966 star Alan Ball also signed for Southampton in December. Brighton were this season's Southern success story - Following Peter Taylor's resignation in the summer, Alan Mullery was appointed manager and the Seagulls won promotion from the 3rd tier as runners-up with Peter Ward scoring 32 league goals (making him the country's top scorer). Gillingham were 12th but there was heart-break for Reading who were immediately relegated back down to the 4th tier. Portsmouth were close to going out of business early in the season and by the end of it there had been both a change of Chairman and Manager, ex long serving player Jimmy Dickinson was handed the job of managing the team in May.
22/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Mellor) Crystal Palace 1 (Hinshelwood) *shown on "The Big Match" as the 2nd game
29/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 4 (O'Sullivan, Mellor, Ward) Cardiff City 0 *Nigel King commentated
26/Nov Southampton 2 (Neville, Holmes) Fulham 0
04/Feb Portsmouth 0 Wrexham 1 (Whittle)
25/Feb Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Potts 2) Sunderland 1 (Clarke)
25/Mar Aldershot 3 (Brodie, Dingworth 2(1pen)) Southend United 0
01/Apr Gillingham 0 Wrexham 0 *main match on "The Big Match", Brian Moore commentary
29/Apr Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Ward, Horton(pen)) Blackpool 1 (Hatton) *David Bobin commentated
The region very nearly gained two top flight clubs as Southampton and Brighton battled for promotion this season - In the end, only the Saints made it (as runners-up) with Brighton missing out on goal difference to Spurs. Once again, success for Southampton compounded the depression for Portsmouth who, as the bottom placed club, were relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time in their history. Swapping places with them would be fringe club Southend United who were promoted as runners-up.
Local football programmes titled "Southsport" this season.
30/Sep Southampton 1 (MacDougall) Ipswich Town 2 (Mariner 2) *Sunday Times & Telegraph (also mentioned in McMenemy's book)
11/Nov Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Ryan, Horton) Wrexham 1 (Shinton) *Nigel King commentated
16/Dec Southampton 4 (Waldron, Hebberd, Boyer, Baker) Coventry City 0 *Sunday Telegraph
30/Dec Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Poskett, O'Sullivan) Newcastle United 0 *News of the World
27/Jan *TVTimes billed "Southsport Soccer" on FA Cup R4 weekend (only 5 ties went ahead, Aldershot v Swindon was only local Cup fixture, Express billed Ipswich v Orient).
03/Feb Southampton 1 (Peach(pen)) Derby County 2 (Duncan, Powell) *News of the World
24/Feb Reading 5 (Earles, Hetzke, Kearney, Bowman, Kearns) Northampton Town 1 (Reilly)
03/Mar Southampton 2 (Hayes, Waldron) Arsenal 0 *News of the World
17/Mar League Cup Final - Southampton 2 (Peach, Holmes) Nottingham Forest 3 (Birtles 2, Woodcock) *Networked highlights
14/Apr Portsmouth 0 Wimbledon 0 *News of the World
28/Apr Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Maybank, Rollings) Blackburn Rovers 1 (Aston) *Smoke bombs during play, David Bobin commentated
05/May Possibly showed Tyne Tees "Shoot" - Newcastle Utd 1 (Shoulder) Brighton & HA 3 (Horton, Ward, Ryan) *Brighton promoted, Bobin interviews in dressing room
Heady days for the Southern region. Southampton's return to the top flight saw them finish a comfortable 14th and make a return to Wembley in the League Cup final as well as reaching the FA Cup QF's, whilst Brighton overcame the bitter disappointment of the previous campaign by winning promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history - ending up 1 point behind the champions and 1 point ahead of 4th place in another tight finish, the Seagulls also reached the League Cup QF's. Gerry Summers' Gillingham enjoyed their best season ever, but they agonsingly missed out on promotion to the 2nd tier in 4th place by finshing only 2 points behind the champions. There was further success for the region in the basment league as Reading - now managed by Maurice Evans - claimed the Fourth Division championship, Portsmouth finished 7th, Aldershot reached the 5th round of the FA Cup and striker John Dungworth was the 4th tier top scorer on 26.
All ITV regions (except Channel TV) were taken off the air in early August 1979 due to a strike which lasted for almost three months! (South England viewers only had BBC1 and BBC2 from 10th August-24th October). When local football highlights returned, they went out as "Southsport Soccer and The Big Match" with David Bobin as the regular commentator, these were all likely shown as the 2nd match during "The Big Match" (mostly as opt-outs).
27/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Foster, Ryan) Norwich City 4 (Goble, Paddon, Taylor, Reeves)
10/Nov Southampton 4 (Watson, Channon, Boyer 2) Nottingham Forest 1 (Birtles)
01/Dec Portsmouth 3 (Brisley, Garwood, Laidlaw) Halifax Town 1 (Firth)
15/Dec Southampton 1 (Boyer) Everton 0
29/Dec Brighton & Hove Albion 4 (Clarke 2, Ward, Ryan) Manchester City 1 (Lee)
19/Jan *Intended to show Reading v Oxford United but the match was postponed, showed full LWT programme instead
09/Feb Southampton 5 (Watson, Channon, Boyer, Holmes, Hebberd) Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Ward)
01/Mar Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Clarke) Coventry City 1 (English)
22/Mar Portsmouth 1 (Hemmerman) Walsall 2 (Macken, Buckley(pen))
19/Apr Southampton 0 Ipswich Town 1 (Muhren) *Shown as 2nd match on opt-out during "The Big Match"
Southampton began to establish themselves as one of the country's leading clubs in 8th place, Phil Boyer was the top flight's leading scorer on 23. Brighton adapted well to life amongst the elite by finishing 16th. Reading enjoyed their highest finish in over a decade by finishing 7th in the 3rd tier, but Southend were relegated. In the 4th tier, Portsmouth took the final promotion position on goal difference - Now managed by Frank Burrows Pompey scored 91 league goals including 17 from Colin Garwood whose further 10 goals for Aldershot saw him finish as the basement division's top scorer with 27.
Southern continuity caption shown after the end of
"World of Sport" on 22nd March 1980
Southern weekend highlights were broadcast on Saturday nights this season
16/Aug Southampton 2 (Channon 2) Manchester City 0 *LWT coverage (Kevin Keegan's league debut for Saints), Brian Moore commentary
06/Sep Southampton 3 (Williams, Baker, Golac) Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Smith)
11/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Nottingham Forest 1 (Wallace)
25/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Robinson) Manchester City 2 (Tueart 2)
08/Nov Southampton 3 (Williams, Boyer, Moran) Ipswich Town 3 (Gates, Wark, Mariner)
10/Jan Portsmouth 1 (Gregory(pen)) Sheffield United 0
31/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Ardiles, Crooks)
14/Feb Southampton 0 Everton 0 [FA Cup 5th round]
21/Feb Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Robinson, Smith) Liverpool 2 (Johnson, McDermott)
28/Mar Reading 1 (Hetzke) Charlton Athletic 3 (Powell, Hales, Walsh)
Southampton were in the national spotlight this season thanks to the signing of England's star striker Kevin Keegan, the Saints continued to improve - finishing 6th this season, whilst Michael Robinson's 19 goals for Brighton proved crucial for them as the Seagulls only just hung on to their top flight status (one place above the drop), manager Alan Mullery then departed for Charlton Athletic. Portsmouth were now making inroads back into respectability, their return to the 3rd tier saw them finish 6th with Reading behind in 10th and Gillingham 15th. Southend were champions of the Fourth Division.
Southern weekend highlights returned to Sunday afternoons this season
05/Sep Southampton 1 (Keegan(pen)) Everton 0 *listed in Yorkshire Evening Post & Sunday Times
19/Sep Showed Anglia coverage Southend United 2 (Spence, Gray) Portsmouth 0
03/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 4 (Robinson, Ritchie 2, Williams) Manchester City 1 (Reeves)
17/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 3 (Foster, Case, Ritchie) Liverpool 3 (Dalglish, R.Kennedy, McDermott) *Bobin comm for Southern, Briam Moore for LWT
31/Oct Southampton 1 (Moran) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Roberts, Corbett)
14/Nov Portsmouth 1 (Hemmerman) Carlisle United 2 (Robson, Lee)
28/Nov Showed Granada coverage of Liverpool 0 Southampton 1 (Moran)
05/Dec Southampton 3 (Moran, Keegan, Armstrong) Manchester United 2 (Stapleton, Robson) *LWT coverage, Brian Moore commentary
The Saturday Match
TVS [TeleVision South] ran the South of England ITV service from 1st January 1982 having won the franchise at the expense of Southern Television, a change that many believed to be an injustice. The switch did at least offer an improved service as far as local sport was concerned, TVS would produce a Sunday afternoon highlights show each weekend (Southern, more often than not, had merely relayed London Weekend's The Big Match) and though a local home match could not always be guaranteed, there was now a stronger emphasis on the South in terms of the news round-up and the choice of matches taken from other region's. As the title suggested, Sunday Sportshow was not exclusively concerned with football, but it was the priority*. The programme was launched on 3rd January 1982, the first local match was covered two weeks later (Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham United). For season 1982/83 it was the turn of the ITV region's to show highlights on a Saturday night and this saw TVS introduce The Saturday Match.
*There was also a regular Friday preview show (6:30-7:00pm) called The Friday Sportshow.
Fred Dineage had presented Yorkshire Television's Sunday football highlights throughout the 1970's, but he was well known to viewers in the South having worked on various Southern TV programmes long before he took on the role of presenting weekend sport on TVS. By 1983, Dineage was being joined in the studio by George Best (now playing for Bournemouth) who provided analysis. The TVS football commentator was Gerald Sinstadt, locally born in Folkestone, he had been one of ITV's top commentators in the 1970's voicing matches for Granada as well as the Olympics and many high profile mid-week matches, Sinstadt left Granada at the end of the 1980/81 season and moved back to his home region in order to produce televised opera which formed a part of TVS's early commitment to upmarket ITV's programming.
The TVS region's
league teams 1982-1983
In terms of prospects for regional football success, TVS took over from Southern at a good time. Top flight Southampton, with Kevin Keegan in their ranks, were in 2nd position at the time whilst Brighton were not far behind in 9th. The Seagulls went on to reach the FA Cup final in 1983 and were unfortunate not to emulate the Saints feat of 1976 in beating Manchester United at the final hurdle. Portsmouth, the South's traditional super power, had faded badly in the 1970's to the point of spending time in the 4th Division, but they were now well on the road to recovery and Pompey would win the 3rd tier championship in 1983. Bournemouth were another success story, winning promotion from the 4th tier in 1982.
The 1st January 1982 re-allocation of the UHF transmitter at Bluebell Hill to the South ITV region meant that 3rd tier clubs Gillingham and Southend United were now more widely recognised as bona-fide South region clubs*, Southend achieved their highest finish since the 1950's in 1982 and Gillingham also registered one of their then best ever final positions that same year. The two TVS clubs in the North of the region, Reading and Aldershot, were less conspicuous, Reading were relegated in 1983 to join the struggling Shots in the 4th Division.
*The transmitter on Bluebell Hill
had previously relayed London Weekend Television and Thames. Coverage of
Southend continued to be shared with Anglia Television as many viewers
in that area received their TV signals from the Sudbury mast.
"Sunday Sportshow" first aired on Sunday 03/Jan/1982 at 4:30-5:30pm, it then moved to a 3:30-4:40pm slot the following week before settling on a 2:30-3:30pm window from 07/Feb. The last edition of the series co-incided with the end of the league season on 16/May.
02/Jan Watford 1 (Lohman) Manchester United 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round] *Gerald Sinstadt commentating, TVS coverage as LWT were at Spurs & there was no big cup tie in the south
09/Jan Showed Central's match *Express/Portsmouth Sports Mail. Most of the games selected for ITV highlights this weekend were postponed
16/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Ritchie) West Ham United 0
23/Jan Gillingham 0 West Bromwich Albion 1 (Statham) [FA Cup 4th Round]
30/Jan Portsmouth 0 Southend United 0 *Listed in the Sunday Express & Portsmouth Sports Mail
06/Feb Brighton & Hove Albion 3 (Grealish, Ryan, Foster) Everton 1 (Heath)
13/Feb Showed LWT's FA Cup 5th Round tie
20/Feb Showed LWT's match +Table Tennis
27/Feb Southampton 3 (Keegan, G.Baker 2) Birmingham City 1 (Worthington(pen))
06/Mar Showed LWT's match +Badminton, Listed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
13/Mar League Cup Final *Networked highlights
20/Mar *No game listed for South in Sunday Express. Portsmouth Sports Mails says games to be announced
27/Mar Southampton 4 (Waldron, Armstrong, Channon, Whitlock) Stoke City 3 (Biley, Watson, McIlroy) *Express lists LWT's game but Soton was shown
03/Apr Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (McNab(pen)) Southampton 1 (Keegan) *Express lists FA Cup SF
10/Apr Showed LWT's match +Speedway
17/Apr Showed Granada's match
24/Apr Southampton 2 (Channon, Keegan (pen)) Liverpool 3 (Rush, Whelan 2) *Sinstadt comm for TVS, Brian Moore for LWT, +Indoor Cricket
01/May Showed Tyne Tees coverage of Sunderland 3 (Rowell 2(1pen), West) Brighton & Hove Albion 0
08/May Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Ipswich Town 1 (Mariner)
15/May Bournemouth 1 (Funnell) Hereford United 1 (Showers)
Lawrie McMenemy's Southampton's return to Europe in the UEFA cup had been short lived, losing out to Sporting Lisbon in the 2nd round, but the Saints recovered to qualify for Europe again by finishing 7th and Kevin Keegan was the top flight's leading scorer on 26. Brighton, now managed by Mike Bailey, registered their highest ever top flight finish in 13th whilst in the 3rd tier; Gillingham were 6th, Southend 7th, Reading 12th and Portsmouth 13th. In the 4th tier; David Webb's Bournemouth won promotion in 4th, Aldershot finished 16th.
Football highlights returned on TVS on Saturday night's as "The Saturday Match" on 28/Aug/1982 at 10:30-11:30pm.
28/Aug Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Ritchie) Ipswich Town 1 (Gates)
04/Sep Southampton 1 (Fashanu) Aston Villa 0
11/Sep Bournemouth 0 Sheffield United 0
18/Sep Showed other region's games *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
25/Sep Showed Grananda coverage of Liverpool 5 (Whelan 2, Lawrenson 2, Souness) Southampton 0 *Listed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
02/Oct Reading 2 (Dixon 2) Preston North End 3 (Elliott 2, Bruce)
09/Oct Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Foster) Swansea City 1 (Lewis)
16/Oct Portsmouth 0 Bournemouth 2 (Funnell, Heffernan)
23/Oct Showed Granada's match *Listed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
30/Oct Showed HTV coverage of Cardiff City 1 (Hemmerman) Portsmouth 0 *Listed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
06/Nov Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Ward) Manchester United 0
13/Nov Southampton 1 (Moran(pen)) Nottingham Forest 1 (Wallace)
20/Nov Showed LWT's match *Listed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
27/Nov Showed Granada's match *Confirmed as showing another region's game in Portsmouth Sports Mail
04/Dec Showed other region's games *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
11/Dec Portsmouth 1 (Webb) Aldershot 3 (Briley, Banton 2) [FA Cup R2] *Listed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
18/Dec Southampton 4 (Wallace, Armstrong, Moran, Puckett) West Bromwich Albion 1 (Regis)
01/Jan Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Ward) Watford 1 (Jackett)
08/Jan Showed other region's games *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
15/Jan Showed other region's games *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
22/Jan Portsmouth 1 (Rafferty) Oxford United 0
29/Jan Showed other region's FA Cup 4th round games *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
05/Feb Southampton 4 (Williams, Holmes, Wallace, Moran) Norwich City 0
12/Feb Showed Granada's match *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
19/Feb Showed other region's FA Cup 5th round games *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
26/Feb Bournemouth 0 Portsmouth 2 (Aizelwood(pen), Biley)
05/Mar Showed LWT's match *Confirmed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
12/Mar Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Case) Norwich City 0 [FA Cup QF]
19/Mar Southampton 4 (Moran 3, Baird) Manchester City 1 (Reeves)
26/Mar Portsmouth 1 (Tait) Bristol Rovers 0
02/Apr Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Gatting, Ryan) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Roberts) +M/L
09/Apr Showed Granada coverage of Manchester United 1 (Robson) Southampton 1 (Foyle) *Listed in Portsmouth Sports Mail
16/Apr Brighton 2 (Case, Robinson) Sheffield Wednesday 1 (Mirocevic) [FA Cup SF] *at Highbury, Gerald Sinstadt commentated for TVS viewers only +G
23/Apr Bournemouth 1 (Morgan) Lincoln City 0
30/Apr Southampton 2 (Wright, Armstrong) Luton Town 2 (Agboola(og), Antic)
07/May Portsmouth 2 (Dillon, Biley) Southend United 0
14/May Showed other region's matches - L/M/G
21/May FA Cup Final - Brighton 2 (Smith, Stevens) Man Utd 2 (Stapleton, Wilkins) AET *Networked live
*"Welcome Home Brighton" was scheduled for TVS Sunday 2-3pm, but as it was a draw they probably showed highlights only.
Another disappointingly early exit from the UEFA Cup saw Southampton go out to Norrkoping on away goals in the 1st round, and, having sold Kevin Keegan, the Saints also dropped to a 12th placed finish in the league. Brighton found themselves in the odd position of fighting a desperate relegation battle whilst earning their first appearance in the FA Cup final. Jimmy Melia had replaced Mike Bailey as manager in December but relegation as the bottom placed club had already been confirmed by the time Melia led the team out onto the Wembley turf to face Manchester United, the Seagulls came very close to banishing the pain of the drop with what would have been a legendary cup final victory, sadly - at 2-2 - a late chance to win the cup was squandered and Brighton had nothing left to offer in the replay which was lost 4-0. There was some joy elsewhere in the region as 3rd tier Portsmouth (managed by Bobby Campbell) won promotion as champions. Gillingham dropped to 13th, Bournemouth consolidated in 14th (replacing manager David Webb after a 9-0 defeat in December with Don Megson) and Southend were 15th. Reading's Kerry Dixon was the top scorer at this level with 26, but his goals could not prevent his team being relegated in 21st and Dixon then joined Chelsea. In the 4th tier Aldershot finished 18th with Dale Banton netting 24 goals.
Fred Dineage hosting the 2nd April 1983
edition of "The Saturday Match".
Regular TVS football highlights proved to be short
lived due to ITV Sport's decision to introduce live league games on Sunday
afternoon's during the course of the 1983/84 season. TVS did however produce
their own programme for the 14/Apr/1984 FA Cup Semi-final clash between
Southampton and Everton, this was billed in the Times as "Sunday Sportsclub"
(other region's saw the game as part of The Big Match).
Networked Midweek Highlights
1968/69 - 1982/83
The Network Years
1983/84 - 1987/88
Southern football links
Voice Piece by David Bobin
from Brighton matchday programme, 25th October 1980
a database of matches includes Portsmouth line-ups
Simon Smith obituary
Southern Television stuff
TV Ark - Southern section
TVS football links
23/Apr/1983 - Brighton programme article
inlcudes a section on ITV's FA Cup SF coverage
Gillingham FC Scrapbook
TV Ark - TVS section