IT was the news that rocked Saints – and it happened 10 years ago today.

Gordon Strachan, the man that had led Saints to a top eight finish and the FA Cup final the previous year, announced he was leaving at the end of the 2003/04 season.

The Scot wanted to keep the news private, but it broke in the media and forced Strachan to go public far earlier than he intended.

As a result, he resigned his post a few weeks later as speculation mounted about who could replace him.

Hindsight showed it took the club a long time to recover from Strachan’s bombshell decision to leave the club that he had joined in October 2001.

In the short-term, it caused an outcry among sections of the fanbase after Glenn Hoddle revealed he would be keen on returning to Saints as Strachan’s replacement.

Then chairman Rupert Lowe was keen to bring Hoddle back, but was over-ruled by his board of directors concerned what the ex-England boss’ return would have on the supporters.

Instead, Saints turned to a third division manager, Paul Sturrock.

The rest is history, and for a while not great history either.

Within a year and a few months, Saints had been relegated – just two years after Strachan had masterminded a top eight finish.

It was a big nosedive in a short space of time, and it was to get much worse for Saints before it got better.

Strachan said he was not going to sign a new contract because he wanted to take a break from football.

He did just that, enjoying a 16-month break prior to taking over as Celtic boss.

Strachan later managed Middlesbrough before taking up the role as Scottish team boss a year ago next week.