Southampton Fans To Petition Council For The Lawrie McMenemy Bridge

In the summer of 1973,  made his debut for Southampton Football Club. Since then, some Saints fans have been pushing for the Itchen BridLawrie McMenemyge to be renamed in his honor so that the City would officially recognize him.

It may be said that Southampton as a city and Saints as a football team have a history of failing to properly honor the individuals who contributed to their illustrious pasts.

Despite having a rich heritage spanning its entire history, including its medieval past, Agincourt, the Titanic, both World Wars, and more recently, the 1982 Falklands incident, Southampton has lagged behind other cities in embracing its past.

Likewise the football club, that has never glorified its famous players or the 1st May 1976 when it won it’s only major trophy to date.

You would think it would be quite simple to name a stand after a player or manager or two, The Matthew Le Tissier Northam End would go down well.

But hopefully that will be about to change.

Court Leet is an ancient system dating back to the 13th century and although it’s powers were eroded as courts as we know them today as Judges and Magistrates etc took over, Southampton’s Court Leet was one of a handful of Court Leet’s in England that were not abolished and allowed to keep their powers in the Administration of Justice Act 1977.

That in itself is a piece of history that few know about.

Southampton’s Court Leet takes place on the first Tuesday after Michaelmas, which to save you looking it up is tomorrow Tuesday 3rd October.

The Court Leet no longer deals with criminal matters, but it allows parties to make representations or what are formally called “Presentments” about matters of local concern that might not normally come before the City Council.

The Court is made up of a panel, including Honorary Aldermen, past Mayors, past Sheriffs and others considered by the Sheriff to be suitable and appropriate persons to serve on the Jury, the Steward of the Manor of Court Leet (Service Director, Legal and Governance) and the Foreman/Madam Foreman of the Jury (the Sheriff).

Before Court Leet is held a ceremony called ‘Beating the Bounds’ takes place.

Tomorrow I will make a Presentment to Court Leet requesting that the council consider changing the name of the Itchen Bridge to the Lawrie McMenemy Itchen Bridge, the Presentment will say the following.

“Lawrie McMenemy arrived in Southampton in 1973 to manage Southampton Football Club, since then he has not only put the football club on the map in World Soccer by winning the FA Cup in 1976, but also as a consequence of that, the City of Southampton itself.

“Both as manager of Southampton FC and also other roles within the club, but also with his work on television and the media, he was the face of Southampton and never missed an opportunity to champion not only the football club itself.

“In 2007 he was made a Freeman of The City, a great honour, but as he celebrates 50 years in Southampton, it is surely a sad thing that there is nothing in the City itself commemorating a man who has done so much for the area.

“Renaming The Itchen Bridge in his honour would make an apt tribute to his legacy, in that it not only overlooks Saints current home at St Mary’s, but it overlooks St Mary’s Church, the birthplace of the club in 1885.

“Hundreds of Southampton supporters travel across the bridge on foot or vehicles when attending matches at St Mary’s and indeed for work & leisure.

“With the 50th anniversary of Saints winning the FA Cup , coming in 2026. It would also be a perfect way to celebrate this famous victory and show that Southampton FC is an important part of the community in the city and indeed brings in much valued trade and income into the City on a matchday..

“This City in my opinion has long failed to champion itself and it’s achievements and has fallen behind other comparative Cities in the country who have been quick to honour their sons, daughters and indeed adopted sons & daughters in the sport and entertainment industries, who have helped put them on the map.

“Honouring Lawrie McMenemy in this way would be a popular decision, not only with supporters of Southampton FC, but also those with little interest in the sport, but who are proud of their City and all of those who have helped make it the great place it is to live & work.

“Please support this presentation and take a step forward in reminding us of the pride that we should have in our city and it’s achievements in all walks of life.

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