Southampton great Peter Shilton reflects on his time at the club

By Dan Sheldon

Sports Reporter

Southampton great Peter Shilton reflects on his time at the club

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LEGENDARY goalkeeper Peter Shilton has won it all.

The former Saint has an impressive trophy cabinet stocked with a First Division title, two European Cups and the European Super Cup to name just a few of his accolades.

Shilton was an integral part of the Nottingham Forest side that shocked the football world in the late 1970s when Brian Clough was at the helm.

As well as a substantial trophy hall, the goalkeeping icon has 125 caps for England – more than any other male player.

Despite his record, one thing still irks Shilton to this day.

The 69-year-old feels that the Saints side he played in, given their talent, should have won a piece of silverware.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Shilton said: “We should have won a trophy.

“We were a little bit unlucky to play Liverpool in two semi-finals.

“But the Everton game was the one we deserved to win, and they got what I would consider a very lucky goal in the final minute of extra time.

“To finish runners-up in the league was still a fantastic achievement.”

Having grown up in Leicester, Shilton was spotted by his boyhood side as a youngster and joined their youth ranks in 1963.

He made his first team debut for the Foxes three years later and went on to make over 280 appearances for them.

After representing his childhood team, Shilton joined Stoke.

From there, he was snapped up by Nottingham Forest just before they embarked on their period of supremacy in England and in Europe.

Shilton played over 200 times for Clough’s side before deciding to link up with former England teammates Alan Ball and Kevin Keegan on the south coast.

With FA Cup winning manager Lawrie McMenemy in charge, they started to build something special.

“I remember playing at The Dell and I had five great years there,” Shilton continued.

“We were a little bit unlucky not to win something. I think we had three semi-finals and one at Everton which I thought we should have won.

“Then we finished runners-up in the league. I’d been at Nottingham Forest where we won a lot of trophies, but we came very close here.

“We had a good team full of youngsters who were developing when I was here like Mark Wright, the Wallace brothers and Steve Moran.

“They all developed along with the experienced players.

“I love the area, the fans and the club. It was a really good time in my career and I’d say it was successful.”

Shilton was talking at The Knights Foundation’s Teddy Bear Appeal event at St Mary’s.

The evening was organised by ex-Saint Nicky Banger, with the local lad using his contacts book to invite a host of former players down.

Amongst the attendees were George Lawrence, Danny Wallace, Rickie Lambert, McMenemy and Matt Le Tissier.

And Shilton, who resides in Essex with second wife Steph, admitted it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with old faces and for Saints to realise the importance of embracing their history.

He added: “It only seems like yesterday that George [Lawrence], Danny [Wallace] and I were sat in the dressing room together.

“I’ve spoken to Lawrie [McMenemy] a couple of times and me and Kevin [Keegan] did an event together at the Oval with David Gower.

“It’s great to see George and Danny because I don’t think I’d seen them since I left Southampton.

“I think it’s good for the fans to see us all together as well.

“Clubs need to remember their history and a lot of clubs have turned their backs on ex-players and their history.

“But they are realising now that commercially it’s very good, but it’s about the history of the club because that’s very important for fans.

“It’s not just about next season and winning every game. They want to remember winning the FA Cup and the good times.

“It’s down to the clubs to keep that history going.”

With a lot of his time being spent doing speaking events, Shilton struggles to get down to St Mary’s to watch his former side play.

Despite this, he found it impossible to miss the excellent impact current manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has made.

The Austrian steered the St Mary’s outfit away from relegation and is looking to build on the foundation he’s already laid ahead of the upcoming campaign.

“I try and get down at least once a year to watch Saints and to keep in touch,” Shilton explained.

“I was very impressed with Hasenhuttl when he took over. He looked like somebody that knew what he was doing, and the players seemed to play for him.

“The thing is, players have to have that little bit of fear, but they also have to respect the manager.

“If you can keep that balance, the players will pay for you.

“The problems arise when they get used to you and work you out. Managers can lose their edge when that happens.

“But Ralph looks like one of those that you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of.”

Even though he's been impressed with Hasenhuttl, the ex-goalkeeper believes Saints' main aim next season is to stay in the Premier League.

“They have to make sure they survive.

“You can aim for the top-six, but they are so far ahead.

“Below the top-six, there is a gap that you can jump into.

“They’ve done well in cup competitions, but the main thing is to stay in the Premier League.”

“You want to try and get in that top-six and top-four but that’s the ultimate challenge.”