SAINTS TAKEOVER

Southampton rescued after Swiss takeover bid

July 8, 2009
By Soccernet Staff

Southampton have finally been rescued from administration after Swiss businessman Markus Liebherr completed his takeover at St Mary's.

Southampton fans
Empics / JonBuckleSt Mary's: In Swiss hands

The south-coast club were on the brink of going out of business over the summer but joint-administrator Mark Fry today signalled an end to the three-month saga by confirming the deal.

"The sale of the Saints to Markus Liebherr is a fantastic opportunity to rebuild the club,'' said Fry.

"Markus Liebherr was attracted to Southampton by a number of qualities which include the club's rich sporting heritage, loyal fan base, first-class stadium and training facilities and the potential for the Saints to regain their rightful place in the higher echelons of English football.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all Saints fans for their support and patience in what have been uncertain times for the club. I would also like to wish both Markus and the Club well for future success.''

Liebherr stepped in when the Matt Le Tissier-backed Pinnacle consortium withdrew from the running last month.

The 61-year-old, who controls the MALI group of engineering companies in Switzerland, has paid an undisclosed fee for the club.

Saints' future had been in grave doubt since former chairman Rupert Lowe put their parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings, into administration back in April with debts of more than £30million.

The Football League docked the club 10 points despite Saints' claims the club itself was not in administration, and following last season's relegation they will kick off in League One next term on minus 10.

But the club who were FA Cup finalists in 2003 and only relegated from the Premier League four seasons ago will just be relieved to still be in business when they kick of against Millwall on August 8.