SAINTS fans have blasted the club’s open training session as a “PR disaster” after hundreds of supporters, including children, were turned away from a scheduled signing event – despite queuing for hours.

The free event, which invited season ticket and members to the stadium, started at 9.30am yesterday (August 21), with thousands of supporters descending on St Mary’s to catch a glimpse of their favourite players.

Free tickets were even emailed out to non-members over the weekend to encourage more to attend.

A ‘meet and greet’ session followed training from 2pm – 3pm, with fans lining up in two queues hoping to meet their favourite players, including Charlie Austin and new signing Danny Ings.

But, despite doors not opening until 2.10pm, hundreds of fans had the doors “slammed in their face” as the clock struck 3pm.

One fan, Gary Goble, travelled with his eight-year old son Joshua to the stadium.

He told the Echo that the stewards were “bullish”, and the club has “let the fans down”.

“We started queuing at 12.30pm, hoping to meet some of the first team players,” said the season-ticket holder.

“My son wore his goalkeeper kit and couldn’t wait to get it signed by Alex McCarthy.

“But when the stewards told us the doors were still going to be closing at 3pm, despite it starting late, we couldn’t believe it as there were still hundreds of us in the queue. We were about 60 people away when the doors closed.

“If they extended it by an extra half an hour, everyone would have been able to see the players.

“But we were just told ‘you knew what time it finished’ by the stewards. There were children crying everywhere.”

Gary, who has been going to the Saints for more than 20 years, said the treatment of fans – some of whom have suck with the club despite “an awful season last year” – was a “disgrace”.

“I was looking forward to the Leicester game at the weekend, but I’m not sure if I’m going to go anymore,” he added.

“We pay a lot of money for our season tickets, so we can support out club, and we get treated like that. It’s not on.”

The Echo has contacted Southampton FC for a comment, but is yet to receive a response.