Hundreds of Muslims gathered at St Mary's Stadium as the club hosted its first-ever Iftar celebrations.

Worshippers were welcomed to the home of Saints for the celebratory meal hosted by the club for the first time in its history.

Iftar is the fast-breaking evening meal of Muslims in Ramadan at the time to call the prayer.

Daily Echo: Worshippers praying at St Mary's StadiumWorshippers praying at St Mary's Stadium (Image: Newsquest, Jose Ramos)

The evening started with talks by among others Greg Baker, director of Community at Southampton FC, Rashid Islam, secretary at the Muslim Council of Southampton, and other faith leaders.

Following that, the call to prayer was sung through the stadium’s PA and then the 340 worshippers carried out their prayers from around 6.30pm before sharing the fast-breaking meal together.

Daily Echo: Rashid Islam, of the Muslim Council of SouthamptonRashid Islam, of the Muslim Council of Southampton (Image: Newsquest, Jose Ramos)

Rashid Islam, of the Muslim Council of Southampton, said: “We kind of underestimated how many people would come, we thought about 300 people would come but within 48 hours of the advert going out it was sold out.

“Ever since then, I have received messages and calls from people wanting to come. It’s a great idea and a great initiative. It gets the community to celebrate Ramadan but also gets people from other faiths to learn a bit about Muslim culture.

“As Muslims, we love three things: prayer, food and football so all three combined together is a dream!"

He added: “It’s very important that Southampton FC realise they do have another base.

“This is an opportunity for the community to see the club and see how welcome the club so that they feel integrated and feel welcome.”

Daily Echo: Greg Baker, director of community at Southampton FCGreg Baker, director of community at Southampton FC (Image: Newsquest, Jose Ramos)

Greg Baker of Southampton FC said: “The football club is really committed to working with the local community and it’s something we haven’t done before and something we feel it’s really important to support.

“We are really wanting to make sure that everyone feels welcome and valued here at the club as a potential place to come to games and events and work.

“In truth, we haven’t reached out to the Muslim community before in this way and it feels like a fantastic opportunity to showcase, we are a welcoming environment and we want people to engage with.”