View from the Kingsland: A hundred year old record

View from the Kingsland: A hundred year old record

By Nick Mabey

We love a record at Saints. If I am being honest we don’t have the most impressive trophy cabinet for a club that’s spent so long in the top division and so records offer some solace and a welcome substitute. And at the moment all the talk is of our latest entry into the record books. 

The four-nil thrashing of Sheff Wednesday (to be honest it could have been eight) meant we equalled our long sequence of unbeaten games for over 100 years.

As someone who’s been going to games for nearly half of that time this was a surprise; the record has kind of snuck up on me. It certainly doesn’t feel like the most successful period, statistically, in my time at the Dell/St. Mary’s. 

This is in part I think because we are back in the second tier of football and partly because we still sit in third place as a result of monumental performances by Leicester and Ipswich. In any other season we should be top. The third factor is the run of four successive defeats that immediately preceded this record-equalling run. At the time things seemed pretty bleak and if you’d told me that nineteen games (twenty including a cup win) would pass before we experienced the bitter taste of defeat again I would have laughed in your face.

The two records I most enjoy reciting when these things arise are fastest Premier League goal and hat-trick. 

The former, set by Shane Long in an extraordinary 7.69 seconds away to Watford, was tainted as we didn’t score again and ended up only drawing. 

The hat-trick was perfect. Sadio Mane with goals one to three in a six-win thrashing of Aston Villa in 2015.  A bright sunny day toward the end of the season.

It was a joy to be there.

The time between goals one and three was an amazing 2 mins 56 seconds, and what was even more astonishing is that this elapsed time included the goal celebrations and leisurely stroll back to the half-way line after goals one and two. I can’t imagine either of these being records being broken anytime soon, but who knows?

Of course, the current record run is only compared to ourselves. 

If we want to equal Reading’s record of longest unbeaten run in the Championship we need to get to 33 games, which I guess is possible but seems unlikely (I don’t want to tempt fate so let’s just agree that won’t happen). 

The longest unbeaten run overall belongs to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ which spans two seasons and totals 49 games.  It took an exceptional Manchester United side to eventually stop their gallop.

I’m going off-line for six weeks now, during which time we have eight more league games and a cup fixture.  Will we still be unbeaten when I next put fingertips to keyboard?  One thing is for sure, if we lose our next game (away to Swansea) I am blaming myself for writing this article.

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