We’re wishing Matt Le Tissier a happy 50th birthday! To celebrate, we sent the Southampton legend a signed shirt from the current squad and compiled a list of his ten greatest goals…
1. Saints vs Nottingham Forest, 24th March 1993
The day of the ultimate collector’s item, as Le Tissier’s penalty was saved by Mark Crossley, eventually leaving him with a conversion rate of 47 out of 48 from the spot. Revenge would come later in the game, as a dropping ball was dispatched in stunning fashion on his left foot.
2. Saints vs Newcastle, 24th October 1993
It’s easily forgotten that Le Tissier had been left out for three games before Newcastle arrived at The Dell. Opening the scoring on the hour, he controlled a ball that was behind him with his heel, left the first defender in his wake and flicked the ball over the second before stroking a low shot inside the far post.
3. Liverpool vs Saints, 30th October 1993
A goal to earn the applause of the Kop, Le Tissier followed up a brilliant brace against Newcastle with another solo effort six days later, leaving former teammate Mark Wright in his wake – not once but twice – before firing the ball across future Saint Bruce Grobbelaar, again on his less favoured left foot.
4. Saints vs Wimbledon, 26th February 1994
Locked at 0-0, Saints won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Who else could you wish to step up? What followed was typically inventive, as Jim Magilton stood over the ball with his back to goal and rolled it back for Le Tissier, who nonchalantly flicked it up and sent a dipping volley over the wall to win the game.
5. Aston Villa vs Saints, 24th August 1994
New season, same old Le Tissier, who maintained his perfect sense of timing to rescue a point from Saints’ first away game of the 1994/95 campaign. Receiving a square pass from his right, he took a touch and sent a precise shot from 30 yards curling away from goalkeeper Mark Bosnich and into the top corner.
6. Blackburn vs Saints, 10th December 1994
Another former teammate powerless to prevent the inevitable was Tim Flowers, who had faced Le Tissier countless times in training. More neat footwork preceded another unstoppable 30-yarder so accurate it fluttered the keeper’s towel that was hanging in the top corner, capping the goal the man himself considers his best ever.
7. Coventry vs Saints, 13th October 1996
A virtual carbon copy of the strike that outfoxed Bosnich two years prior, Coventry’s Steve Ogrizovic was left furious with his supporting cast for affording Le Tissier the time to set his sights and send an unerring shot into the same top corner, so well placed the keeper did not even attempt to reach it.
8. Saints vs Man Utd, 26th October 1996
October seemed to bring out the best in Le Tissier, who was predictably at the heart of one of Saints’ most iconic results of the 90s, hitting champions Man Utd for six at The Dell. The crowning glory was this solo effort, as he jinked away from Gary Pallister and David May before chipping Peter Schmeichel, the world’s best goalkeeper.
9. Newcastle vs Saints, 1st March 1997
Not for the first time, Newcastle were on the receiving end as Le Tissier struck the only goal of the game at St James’ Park. Latching on to a long clearance from Ulrich van Gobbel, the number seven showed characteristic composure to wait for the dropping ball and fire home first time on his left, low past Shaka Hislop.
10. Saints vs Arsenal, 19th May 2001
Just an unforgettable moment. With the clock ticking down not only on the match or the season, but on the lifespan of The Dell, Le Tissier arrived off the bench to complete the fairy-tale ending, as he swivelled to hit an unstoppable half-volley into the top corner, again with the help of his supposedly weaker left foot.