SOUTHAMPTON Football Club has been ordered to pay up nearly £60,000 after a row with a contractor ended in court.

The club has just two weeks to pay Solent Interior Systems Ltd for a major refurbishment of the luxury Mike Channon Suite at St Mary’s Stadium.

London’s Technology and Construction Court heard how the contractor started work in May and received the first three instalments of the fee as set out in a contract worth £315,000. But the court was told how the final £55,000 of the bill, due in July, was never paid.

An adjudication in August ruled that the club should hand over the money “immediately” along with interest built up in the month at £12.81 per day.

But despite further demands, no money was handed to the commercial outfitter, which is based in Lee-on-the-Solent, and no explanation was offered, the court heard.

The Mike Channon Suite, a conference and match day entertainment facility at St Mary’s, can host hundreds of guests.

A brochure on the club website describes it as a “stylish and spacious” venue which “exudes pure luxury” with a “plush interior” and “lavish carpeting”.

The club did not send a representative or a legal team to the case, emailing court officials a day before to signal their intention not to attend. In their absence, the club was ordered to pay £55,000 plus VAT as well as interest totalling £1,370.63 and legal costs of £3,309.

Mr Justice Robert Akenhead said he could “not understand” why the club had left it until the day before the hearing to tell the court they were not appearing for a defence against the claim.

“There does not appear to be a good reason why they did not do it three weeks ago to avoid paying these (legal) costs,” he said.

“I very much hope they honour this judgment as soon as possible.”

Outside the court, Amy Amison from PJ English Associates, the legal team representing Solent Interior Systems Ltd, said work on the refurbishment had overrun as a result of the club making variations to the project as it was going along.

She told the Daily Echo: “This has interrupted the cash flow of Solent Interior Systems quite significantly because they were expecting payment in July and it will be December before they receive the money.”

Southampton Football Club did not reply to requests for a comment last night.