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Exclusive interview with Nick Holmes!

In the final interview of our 1976 series, St. Mary's Musings speaks to Nick Holmes, who made 543 appearances for Southampton.

Nick Holmes is third in Southampton Football Club's list of all-time appearances, playing for the club on 543 occasions between 1972 and 1987.

Born in Southampton in 1954 and educated at St. Mary's College, Nick is fondly remembered by supporters for his commitment to the city's club as well as his abilities on the field.

After his playing days at Saints, he progressed to manage Southern League side Salisbury City in 2002 - later leading the club to the heights of playing in the Conference Premier by 2007.

In 2009, Holmes moved upstairs and became 'General Manager' at Salisbury City as another former Saint, Tommy Widdrington, took the manager's chair. <!-- ######## START FLOATED VIDEO SNIPPET ######## -->

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Holmes is no longer in his role at Salisbury City, after departing the club in July 2010.

Remembered by Saints fans for being a versatile left-sided player, famed for his reliability and natural skill, Holmes continues to watch Southampton, his boyhood club, to this day.

Nick spoke to St. Mary's Musings at a Mayoral Reception at Southampton Guildhall last Friday.

Below is the full transcript of our chat with this particular Southampton legend.

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What are your fondest memories of the day, as we build up to the 40th anniversary celebrations?

Just winning the game. I was fortunate enough to be a Southampton boy and a Southampton supporter, so it probably meant a little bit more for me and my family on that day. The celebrations, obviously, were magical. The Sunday when we came back and had what was meant to be a 15-minute trip around the city, but ended up taking about four hours. The memory is going nowadays, unfortunately, but I can still remember that quite clearly.

Does it make it that bit more special that you're the only Southampton team to win the FA Cup?

I want them to win another one! I went to Cardiff to see them a few years ago, losing to Arsenal, unfortunately. I felt that the last couple of years they've had chances to go further, but eventually Saints will win another FA Cup and the sooner the better, for me.


You talked about the parade, but at Wembley - what's the memory that really sticks out in your mind?

I'd never played in front of 100,000 people before, it was just when you went out, just how immense it was. The noise, it was all pretty special and it was a little bit nerve-wracking, but it was alright when the football started.


As a Southampton boy and considering the fact they're planning to commemorate it 40 years on - does that show how much it means to the city?

I think it must do. We've said as a group of players, we can't believe that people still want to enjoy the cup final. We obviously do, but we're football people. It's nice to think that people still want to do it, whether they're young or old. It's quite an honour, really.


It obviously shows the appetite the city of Southampton has for football, and Saints on the pitch at the moment are really pushing on - can you see them lifting the cup again in the coming seasons?

Oh, without a doubt! I must admit, I thought this year the manager put out our strongest team and had a good chance to do well, but I certainly see them doing something in the near future if we keep improving like we've done. It's a very exciting brand of football they're playing down there at the moment, and hopefully it'll be just a matter of time.

You mentioned the manager, just how important do you think Ronald Koeman has been since he arrived in Southampton?

You need good managers to be successful. He handles everything superbly well, whether it's a loss or a win - he never goes over the top. He certainly seems to have a cool head on him, and that seems to transfer over to the players as well. Hopefully we can hang on to him.


If you had to pick one of the current squad to play alongside, who would that be?

Oh my heavens!

I had the honour to play with some of the best English players and Scottish players of that era, and the game has changed now. It's probably a very unfair question to ask! They're all an excellent brand of players and they're obviously much fitter than we ever were. I don't think the skill level has changed that much, but obviously they last a lot longer that most of us would have.

The player that I like because of what he gives to the team, is Morgan Schneiderlin. Now obviously there's a doubt about whether he's going to be at the club next year, but I really hope he is.

St. Mary's Musings would like to thank Nick for his time.