Some of Southampton’s most senior football fans made a long-awaited return to the stands at the club’s Capital One Cup quarter-final last night, including a familiar face.For our nation’s long-standing supporters, making their way to the ground can become increasingly difficult, especially during the winter months. As an early Christmas present Capital One provided 30 of Southampton’s elderly followers with tickets to the game against Liverpool.
In addition to match-day tickets, the credit card company provided fans with transport to and from the game, had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the club, and have their picture taken pitch-side with the trophy.
Amongst the crowd at St Mary’s Stadium, and attending his first game for over 30 years, was lifelong fan and former Southampton goalkeeper Arthur House.
The 95-year-old, born in 1920, made 10 appearances for the Saints during the 1940-1941 season, after manager Tommy Parker was able to relieve him of his service duties, allowing him to play through the Second World War alongside Ted Bates. Arthur’s claim to fame was conceding a goal against the great Dixie Dean in a friendly versus the army.
Arthur said: “Due to my age I have to rely on other people to go with me so it’s increasingly difficult for me to get out of the house and make it to the football. The last time I was able to attend a game was back in the 1980s when the Saints played at The Dell. We’re all really grateful to Capital One and Southampton FC for the opportunity to cheer on our team from the side-lines.”
Jason Carr, head of sponsorship at Capital One, said: “As sponsors of the Football League Cup we appreciate that it can be increasingly difficult for our nation’s older supporters to attend football grounds and cheer on their beloved team.
“We wanted to remove those barriers and realised an opportunity to reward the fans for their commitment and support to the club over the years by providing them with a memorable match-day experience.”