Southampton are not the only local football club in the hunt for promotion this season. Eastleigh FC, known as the Spitfires, have declared their own promotion ambition; to reach the top of the non-league pyramid.The club based in Stoneham Lane, a short distance from the main university campus, currently play in the Conference South, two divisions below the football league and only three behind their more illustrious former premier league neighbours. If they manage promotion this term it will be only the latest chapter in a dizzying rise over a few years from local Wessex League football to the cusp of joining non-leagues elite.
Speaking to the Club’s radio station team boss, former Leeds Utd and Southampton striker, Ian Baird stated his aim to reach the play-offs. Such a feat would match the clubs achievement in the 2008/9 season where joy over a best ever finish of 3rd in the league was overshadowed by a defeat in the play-offs to eventual promotion winners Hayes & Yeading.
After a disappointing end to their last campaign, supporters have been cheered by both Baird’s announcement and the teams pre-season performances. Optimism has been particularly boosted by several new signings, the skilful Richard Graham brought in from Grays Athletic and Staforde Palmer signed from Hayes and Yeading have both made an instant impact as Baird has moved to increase the depth and adaptability of his squad.
Tickets for home games are priced at £6 for students.