THE funeral takes place today of a popular Saints fan who died at the age of 39.

Friends and family of Neel Modha are calling on supporters to join them in a special tribute.

They want fans to hold a minute's applause at Southampton's next home game at St Mary's to honour Neel, who had died aged 39.

His funeral will be held at Wessex Vale Crematorium today at 4pm.

Now Neel's family would like the tribute to take place in the 39th minute of the match when Saints play Premier League leaders Liverpool on April 5

Neel, from St Marys, was a season ticket holder and supported the Saints for the past 30 years.

The "happy" immigration officer died suddenly on March 11 due to an undiagnosed heart condition.

His brother Vish Modha said Neel had spent the day in Basingstoke with some friends and had just got in his car when he had a heart attack and was found dead by members of the public.

"The police informed us once he was found. We are devastated. It was such a shock to us.

"He was the main focal point in our family. He was always very bubbly, chatty and happy. That is the thing the family will miss the most",Vish said.

Vish, 36, an IT analyst, said Neel also had a sister and lived with his parents and auntie as he looked after them.

"He was always there for everyone who needed," he added.

Neel, a former Richard Taunton College student, was single, and loved going to the stadium with his family and friends.

Now they want to give him the send off he deserves and are asking Saints fans who will be at St Mary's on April 5 to join them in the one minute's applause.

Rohit Kohli, 43, has known Neel for the past 30 years and came up with the idea of the minute's applause.

He said: "Neel has been a Saints fan for all his life. He followed the Saints home and away. There are so many people who go to the football who knew him. We felt this would be the best way to pay tribute to him.We are just asking the fans to applaud."

Mr Kohli, who works as a manager for British Gas, said Neel always had a smile on his face.

"Wherever we went with him he always bumped into someone he new. He was the happiest and nicest guy you'd ever meet", Mr Kholi added.

The Saints will play at St Mary's Stadium on April 5 at 8pm.