Matt Le Tissier

Matthew Paul Le Tissier (/ləˈtɪsi/; born 14 October 1968) is a football television pundit and former professional footballer. Born in Guernsey, he won eight caps for the England national team.

English association football player and television pundit

Matt Le Tissier

Le Tissier in 2010
Personal information
Full name Matthew Paul Le Tissier[1]
Date of birth (1968-10-14) 14 October 1968 (age 53)
Place of birth Saint Peter Port, Guernsey
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[2]
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1975–1984 Vale Recreation
1985–1986 Southampton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–2002 Southampton 443 (161)
2002–2003 Eastleigh 17 (3)
2013 Guernsey 1 (0)
Total 461 (164)
National team
Guernsey U15
1988–1990 England U21 21 (3)
1990–1998 England B 6 (3)
1994–1997 England 8 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Le Tissier spent his entire professional club career with Southampton before turning to non-League football in 2002; his loyalty garnered special affection from Southampton’s fans who nicknamed him “Le God”.[3]

A creative attacking midfielder with exceptional technical skills,[4] Le Tissier is the second-highest ever scorer for Southampton behind Mick Channon and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1990. He was the first midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League. He is notable for his record at scoring penalty kicks – converting from the spot 47 times from 48 attempts – and is considered one of the greatest ever from the 12-yard spot.[5]

Following his retirement as a player, Le Tissier became a football pundit, and worked as a panelist on the Sky Sports show Soccer Saturday until August 2020.[6] In 2011, he became honorary president of Guernsey F.C..

In 2020, he was voted the Eurosport Best Premier League Player of All Time, ahead of many world-renowned Premier League footballers, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry.[7]

. . . Matt Le Tissier . . .

Le Tissier was born in Guernsey, a British crown dependency, and played youth football on the island with Vale Recreation between the ages of seven and sixteen. At fifteen, he had a trial at English club Oxford United, but nothing came of it.[8]

Signing for Southampton on YTS forms in 1985 and then signing professional forms in October 1986, Le Tissier made his club debut in a 4–3 defeat at Norwich City in the Football League First Division, and by the end of that season had scored six goals in 24 league games, including a hat-trick against Leicester City in the league. He scored his first two competitive goals in a League Cup third round replay at home to Manchester United on 4 November 1986, a game which Southampton won 4–1 and was Ron Atkinson‘s last in charge of the visitors, his sacking coming within 48 hours of the result. Le Tissier made 19 first team league appearances in 1987–88, failing to score, but in 1988–89, scored nine times in 28 league games.

He was voted PFA Young Player of the Year for the 1989–90 season, in which he was one of the league‘s top goalscorers with 20 goals as Southampton finished seventh in the First Division, the club’s highest finish for five years.[9]

Le Tissier’s highest scoring league season was 1993–94, when he scored 25 league goals.[10] The following season he won the Match of the DayGoal of the Season award for his drifting 40-yard chip against Blackburn Rovers, scoring against his long-term friend, and former Southampton keeper, Tim Flowers.

Le Tissier’s goal tally for the season regularly went well into double figures for the league alone throughout the 1990s, playing a major role in Southampton preserving their top flight status into the new millennium as they came close to relegation on five occasions in the first seven seasons of the Premier League – including one season when they only survived on goal difference. He was the subject of interest from many big clubs in England and overseas during this time, particularly from Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, but the transfer never happened and Le Tissier would ultimately remain a Southampton player until his retirement. In August 1995, Chelsea reportedly made a £10million bid for Le Tissier which would have made him the most expensive player in English football at the time. Shortly afterwards, defending league champions Blackburn Rovers were reportedly planning to sign him for a similar-sized fee.[11]

On 2 April 2000, Le Tissier scored a last minute penalty for Southampton in a 2–1 defeat to Sunderland. This brought his tally of Premiership goals to 100, making him only the sixth player and first midfielder to reach this milestone.[12][13]

He scored the last goal in the final competitive match played at The Dell on 19 May 2001, against Arsenal.[14] This turned out to be his last goal for Southampton. He played several games for the club during 2001–02, the first season at the new St Mary’s Stadium, in an eventual 11th-place finish. His final competitive appearance for the Saints came against West Ham on 30 January 2002.[15] He announced on 29 March 2002 that he would retire from playing at the season’s end after limping off with a recurrence of a calf strain during a reserve team game against Charlton.[16]

His final match, a testimonial against an England XI in May 2002, ended in a 9–9 draw, with Le Tissier playing 45 minutes for each side, while his 10-year-old son Mitchell came on as a substitute in the second half, scoring four times.[17]

Throughout his career, Le Tissier had a fearsome reputation for scoring from the spot, converting 47 of the 48 penalties that he took for Southampton.[18] His sole failure to convert came on 24 March 1993 in a match against Nottingham Forest, his spot kick being saved by Forest keeper Mark Crossley, the feat being so unique that Crossley describes it as the save of which he is most proud.[19]

. . . Matt Le Tissier . . .

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. . . Matt Le Tissier . . .

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