HE was a popular landlord who ran pubs around the city for more than 40 years - and lived and breathed Southampton Football Club.

Joe Smith, who had been known to paint his pubs red and white and fill them with Saints merchandise, will take in his last boozer The Prince of Wales, parts of the Northam Estate where he grew up and of course St Mary’s Stadium on his final journey in his Saints themed coffin later this month.

Mourners wanting to pay their respects to the popular landlord are being invited to don their Saints shirts and line the streets nearby as the hearse sets off for his funeral from The Prince of Wales, in Northam Road, at 10.30am on Friday October 16.

Joe spent most of his life in and around pubs. Having attended Bitterne Manor Primary School and Saint George Catholic College as a boy, he soon became a publican working firstly in Croydon before returning to his home town.

One of his most popular watering holes was The Canute in Canute Road, a rock bar / pub in the late 80s, which still to this day has a massive retro following, a Facebook page dedicated to it and occasional reunions. Bands were encouraged to showcase their live music there and people from all walks of life were encouraged to go to a place where they could feel comfortable.

Joe’s three children Kayleigh, Anneliese and Josh grew up in The Hope & Anchor in Freemantle when their father ran it. It was never quiet with youth clubs, bands, wedding receptions and other events regular occurrences.

His parents ran The Prince of Wales for 30 years before Joe took over the pub in 2010. He loved its proximity to the home of the Saints and welcomed home and away fans on match days serving both sets of fans happily alongside each other before setting off ten minutes before kick off to take up his season ticket seat at the ground.

Daughter Kayleigh told the Daily Echo: “He was just someone who didn’t take life too seriously. If he could make a joke out of something, he would. He always said to us that he never felt his age, he always felt 18, and it showed. He did what he wanted to do, like wearing a tie with Homer Simpson naked on it to my first Holy Communion!

“He was really kind, loving and generous and would always help people out.

“He was also funny and intelligent and surely the world’s biggest tea drinker.

“He was so popular and knew so many people. We’ve had over 500 messages on Facebook from all sorts of different people, it's been so overwhelming."

Joe, who passed away at the age of 61, leaves his three children and brother Brian.