DOZENS of mourners gathered at a Southampton pub to pay their respects to its “well-respected” former landlord, Joe Smith.

Donning the strip of his beloved Saints, friends, patrons and relatives followed Joe on a final journey starting at the The Prince of Wales pub in Northam, which he ran for a decade, before passing by St Mary’s stadium and finally reaching his funeral.

One mourner on Friday called Kev descried Joe as “a big part of the community – it’s a community that pub.”

Joe, 61, ran two other pubs in the city before taking over the pub in 2010, which his parents had run for 30 years.

Despite having taken over the running of the pub, Joe’s daughter Anneliese previously told The Daily Echo: “It will still be my dad’s pub through and through.”

Chelsea Paul, who attended the event, said the thing he remembers most about Joe is his laugh.

He said: “It was just mad, when he’d turn around and go into one.

“You know that laugh that makes you cry as well?"

Wearing a Southampton FC shirt, he added: : “I’m a London boy and you would never see me in a Saints shirt – but I’d do it for that man."

Joe was said to have made an impact on his customers.

One attendee, who did not want to be named, said: “My dad used the pub regularly for football and when he passed away Joe was really good and helped us as a family through that.”

“He was well respected as you can tell [by the crowd],” he added.

Another attendee described Joe as “a genuine old school guy”.

He said: "He wouldn’t want anyone mourning him. He’d want people to enjoy the day, without a doubt.”

Joe grew up on the Northam Estate and has owned pubs in Southampton for over 40 years, including the popular rock bar The Canute.

A post on a Facebook page dedicated to memories of the club read: “To the best pub landlord I ever [knew], may your send off be a good one, and thank you for some brilliant memories.”