Saints’ new owners took in their first game since buying a majority stake in the club as they watched their team lose 1-0 to Manchester United.

Gao Jisheng and his daughter Nelly sat in the front row of the director’s box along with Katharina Liebherr, to whom they paid around £210m for 80 per cent of Saints.

Gao was introduced to the crowd before the game and got a warm welcome before watching a stirring display but a narrow defeat for Saints.