SAINTS have warned anti-social fans could be banned for up to three years.

It comes after supporters reported a crowd of attendees being ‘drunk or high on drugs’ at the Coventry FA Cup match and a spike in rowdy behaviour.

Southampton Football Club told the Echo it had reviewed the ‘pattern of sales and behaviour at the match against Coventry’ after away supporters were seated with home fans.

One fan, who asked not to be named, told the Echo she was “physically assaulted” at St Mary’s when another fan fell on her at the Coventry game.

She said: “I am a season ticket holder and was sat in my normal seat but never in my whole time of supporting Southampton have I felt as unsafe at a game than I did on Saturday.

“Many supporters (were) either drunk or high on drugs.

“Sitting in my seat and someone who was quite obviously under the influence of alcohol fell into the back of me - I don’t expect to be physically assaulted at a football game and it was lucky that I was not hurt.“Supporters were bringing alcohol from the concourse to their seats - this was pointed out to the stewards by my husband but they chose to ignore this and allowed it to continue.

“Coventry supporters (were) within the home crowd and nothing done to remove them. Stewards being more concerned about watching the game rather than doing their job of watching crowd and sorting out issues.”

Some fans outside St Mary’s ahead of the Premier League clash with Norwich on Friday said bad behaviour is expected.

But Lisa-Ann Mitcham, 29, a season ticket holder in the Itchen stand, said the atmosphere has grown “hostile”.

The Portswood resident brings her two children to most games and said: “We come here to watch football. I don’t mind the swearing but the drugs, excessive drinking and fighting can wait until after. Families are sitting all around the stadium and people need to remember where they are. I’m afraid to say it’s hostile.”

Lifelong fan Michael Dunne, 73, from Bitterne, said: “I’m getting older and the last thing I need is to be bowled over.

“I’ve been watching our boys since I was just a youngster, but the drinking has never been as bad as now.”

Saints said: “As a result of our review, we will be using a different approach to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future and we have reviewed several different elements in relation to the specific issues raised.

"In addition to the review of certain issues at the match against Coventry, we are disappointed to note that there is a growing trend of disorderly behaviour in stadiums across the country.

“We are pleased with how most of our fans have supported the team this season as they have been vocal and pushed the team on positively.

“Unfortunately, we have noted in recent weeks that a small minority are intent on causing trouble with opposition fans, bringing banned items into the stadium, and invading the pitch. We have dealt with many of these anti-social elements already and will continue to do so with the utmost due diligence."

The club said long bans "will be issued to anyone who engages in this type of behaviour".

“Behaviour like invading the pitch, bringing pyro and being openly aggressive to others puts everyone at risk, damages our reputation and leaves us open to fines or the threat of hosting matches with reduced capacities," the club added.

“We want St Mary’s to be a passionate venue where our fans feel a key part of the team.

“It is very important to us that everyone coming to a match feels safe and can be themselves without being threatened in anyway.”