SAINTS have backed down over plans to reshuffle their corporate hospitality arrangements.

The club last week informed members of the Markus Liebherr Lounge that they were being relocated into vacant private boxes at the back of the Itchen Stand.

The move, which sources said had been sold as an “upgrade”, was due to come into effect from last Sunday’s game against Fulham.

A small number of people are understood to have accepted the change, but after objections from a number of customers, the club have opted not to enforce it.

The individual boxes at St Mary’s, which can accommodate up to ten people, have not sold as well as the club had hoped, despite Saints returning to the Premier League.

Moving supporters from the Markus Liebherr Lounge, which has about 70 regular attendees, would have helped fill some of the gaps on matchdays.

However, members of the suite said they were unhappy at the prospect of losing their centrally-located position in the stadium’s executive seating area and being moved into more isolated rooms.

After raising their concerns, chairman Nicola Cortese informed table-holders they would be allowed to remain in the lounge.

One corporate ticket holder, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We were shocked and disappointed with the club’s attitude at one point, but relieved that common sense prevailed. We are grateful to Mr Cortese for sorting it out.”

As part of the proposals, the club had also planned to change the suite into a more informal setting, offering a buffet rather than a threecourse plated meal.

That is understood to still be going ahead, but clients who have already purchased tables for the season and do not wish to move are being reimbursed some of their money to compensate for the change.

Had Saints pressed ahead with the plans to move their Markus Liebherr Lounge table-holders, who were being switched at no extra cost, it could have caused problems with existing private box holders, who would have been paying more for the rooms.

A table in the Markus Liebherr Lounge, labelled as a Platinum Package, was priced at £32,000, excluding VAT, for the season.

Individual boxes ranged from £45,000 to £60,000 – again excluding VAT – depending on their position.

Saints had not commented on the story by the time of going to press.