Memorial Service For Former Saints FC Owner

Hundreds of fans turned out to pay their respects to Markus Liebherr, the late owner of Southampton Football Club, at a memorial service.

The 62-year-old billionaire died on Tuesday - just over a year after buying Southampton Football Club and saving it from administration. The memorial service for him took place at St Mary's Church at 11.30am on Wednesday August 18th.

Flags at the Civic Centre flew at half mast during the day and civic leaders attended the service to pay their respects.

A crowd of fans congregated outside the church to listen to the service on speakers - only family and friends were invited to the church.

Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Royston Smith, who attended the service, said:

"Markus Liebherr very quickly became a household name in Southampton after rescuing the Saints from Administration during some of the darkest days in the Club's 125 year history.  He had the foresight to see how important the football club is to the city. He could see that Southampton Football Club's fans are amongst the most loyal anywhere in the world and he knew that together they could turn the club's fortunes around.

"In his short reign at the helm of our great club he gained the respect of all those who met him and the thousands of fans who saw him in the stands at Saints matches. His interest and commitment to Saints instilled a confidence that had for too long been absent. 

"Our fans are passionate and are known to voice their opinions, however as soon as Markus brought the club he became hugely popular. The level of success in he achieved in such a short space of time has been fantastic.

"A Wembley appearance - and indeed success in the Johnston's Paint Trophy was very nearly matched by a place in the play offs for promotion to the championship, and would have been a reality if not for the previous year's points deduction.

"This year the fans are back at St Mary's with a renewed optimism. They are looking forward to a season with an anticipation of future success. When Saints perform well the city performs well and we all have much to be grateful to Markus for.

"His unassuming, quiet dignity made him remarkable. He will be sadly missed in Southampton."