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Jive Bunny was top of the charts when Saints were last in the top three
MARGARET Thatcher was still Prime Minister when a top flight table was last published with Saints sitting pretty in third place.
The Berlin Wall was still standing, the average price of a house in England was just over £61,000, and Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers were celebrating the second of what would prove to be a hat-trick of consecutive number ones in the pop charts.
In addition, Luton Town, now a non league club, were above Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the English First Division.
The date was October 21, 1989, and Saints had jumped up to third place by hammering previously unbeaten leaders Liverpool at The Dell.
That would be the last time in over 24 years that Saints would occupy such a lofty position in English football’s pyramid.
Until Saturday evening, that is.
That was when Saints’ 2-0 home win over Fulham lifted them into the giddy heights of the top three again.
Even though Saints slipped to fifth after yesterday’s games, for a few hours at least their fans could sit and gape open-mouthed at a table showing them above Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Back in October 1989, Kenny Dalglish’s Reds hadn’t lost any of their opening eight league games, winning five of them.
In comparison, Chris Nicholl’s Saints had only won one of their first four home league matches, but produced a stunning 4-1 victory.
On target were Rod Wallace (2), Paul Rideout and Matt Le Tissier.
It could easily have been more – Rideout twice hit the woodwork.
Of the 12 players used by Nicholl that day, five were youth team graduates. They were Le Tissier, Wallace, Alan Shearer, Francis Benali and Graham Baker.
Another youngster, full back Jason Dodd, was making only his second league appearance after arriving from non league Bath City, and his first at The Dell.
In all, Saints’ team against Liverpool that day cost under £1m.
Liverpool went on to win the league title – amazingly, the last time the club topped the table – and their Dell defeat was just one of five they suffered in 38 games.
As for Saints, they hardly got near the top three again for many seasons.
From the start of 1990/91 through to the end of 1993/94, the club only spent three weeks in the top ten.
Amazingly, from November 1994 to the first game of the 1999/20000 season, Saints never featured in the top ten at all!
Almost five years of being anywhere between 10th-20th!
No wonder fans who can remember those days are probably struggling to comprehend the current table.
Saints above Manchester United, for example.
Prior to this season, Saints had not once been above United - not even after the first game of a season - since the end of the same 1989/90 season which saw the 4-1 destruction of Liverpool.
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