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Saints v City: Top five connections



We take a look at the links between the two clubs ahead of this weekend's Premier League clash at St Mary's.

Eyal Berkovic

Fiery Israeli playmaker Eyal Berkovic first made his name in English football with a season-long loan spell with Southampton from Maccabi Haifa.

It was enough to convince West Ham to part with £1.75m for his signature and he became a hero with the Hammers’ fanbase thanks to his mazy dribbling, eye for a killer pass and taste for spectacular finishes.

These were skills City fans would learn to expect from Berkovic when he joined from Celtic in 2001.

Berkovic’s combination with Ali Bernarbia proved to be instrumental to City’s promotion back to the Premier League under Keegan and he scored a sensational goal against Ipswich to inspire a cup shock (below).

Eyal made 56 appearances for City before heading back for the south coast for a spell with Portsmouth in 2004.

Alan Ball

World Cup-winning winger Alan Ball was an integral member of the Saints team to win promotion back to Division One in 1978 in the first of two playing spells at the club.

Ball played 132 times in that stint which spanned four-years and he returned in 1981 after a few years in America to play alongside Kevin Keegan and Mick Channon in the twilight of a playing career that encompassed nearly 1,000 competitive games.

His return to Southampton as manager in 1994 came on the back of tenures at Portsmouth, Stoke City and Exeter and it proved to be a success as he kept them in the Premier League against the odds.

Ball became City manager in July 1995 but unfortunately couldn’t repeat his heroics on the south coast, taking the Blues down to Division One and resigning three games into his second season in charge.

southampton connections

Kevin Keegan

Although Keegan only spent two years at Southampton, his is a name still fondly remembered by the Saints faithful, owing in part to the shock of his arrival.

Keegan had won two successive Ballon D’or awards at his previous club Hamburg, so he was regarded as a sensational coup for Lawrie McMenemy’s Southampton at the time.

The individual awards kept rolling in for Keegan, as he picked up PFA Player of the Year in 1982 for his performances alongside Ball, Channon and Charlie George.

King Kev’s City connection stems from a four-year spell in charge of the Blues in the early 2000s, where he led City back to the Premier League with his team playing some of the best football supporters had seen in years.

southampton connections

Uwe Rosler

The fact that Rosler’s name is still sung from the terraces at the Etihad Stadium 15 years after he left the club proves just how popular the German striker became after more than 150 appearances for the Blues between 1994 and 1998.

Rosler was City’s top scorer in 1994/95, striking up a formidable partnership with Paul Walsh and finding the back of the net 22 times in all competitions.

He stayed with City until they were relegated to Division Two in 1998 and spent time at Kaiserslautern and Tennis Bourissia Berlin before returning to English football with Southampton in 2000.

It didn’t prove to be a successful move although Rosler does have the honour of being the last Southampton player to score at The Dell before the Saints’ move to St Mary’s in in 2001.

southampton connections

Kevin Bond

Harry Redknapp’s long-term right-hand man was brought to Maine Road by his father John Bond in 1981.

Kevin was a tough, uncompromising central defender who went on to amass 110 appearances for the Blues in a three-year spell before completing a big-money move to Southampton in 1984.

His spell in Hampshire proved to be just as successful as The Saints finished in fifth place in Division One in Bond’s first season.

Bond featured on more than 140 occasions for Southampton in a four-year spell and wound down his career with stints at Bournemouth, Exeter, Sittingbourne and Dover, before taking his first coaching job as reserve team manager at City in 1996.

southampton connections

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