Alan McLoughlin: An appreciation


Saints historian Duncan Holley remembers former Southampton midfielder Alan McLoughlin, who has passed away, aged 54.

Southampton fans in the early 1990s will have good cause to remember Alan McLoughlin, who has sadly passed away aged 54.

Firstly, in January 1990, as a Swindon player, he opened the scoring at The Dell after a delightful shimmy around two defenders in an eventful League Cup tie.

Suitably impressed, that December, Saints manager Chris Nicholl potentially made him the club’s first million-pound signing (£700,000 upfront with £300,000 to be paid after 30 appearances).

In the summer between those two events he had featured in Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland side that played in the World Cup in Italy. Alan had been born in Manchester but his father hailed from the Republic and he went on to represent his country 42 times in total.

Wearing the number 10 shirt, but forced to play out wide, Alan was an ever present in the 22 league games that remained that season. Nicholl was dismissed in the close season and, under new manager Ian Branfoot, Alan was never to start another game for the club.

Portsmouth stepped in with an offer of £400,000 and, as it turned out, they had an absolute bargain, as Alan went on to pull on the Pompey shirt on more than 350 occasions.

A persistent back injury obliged him to finally quit playing in 2003 and he moved into coaching, at first with Forest Green Rovers and then back at Fratton Park.

His untimely passing has resulted in many tributes from fans and players alike, including a heartfelt message from one-time Dell colleague, Francis Benali who, while expressing his sadness on social media, finished with these poignant six words: “a wonderful player and lovely man”.

20th April 1967 – 4th May 2021