Hundreds of Southampton Football Club fans staged a protest in the city centre against the club’s bosses yesterday.

The fans mingled with city centre shoppers as they began a protest march against the football club’s directors.

They gathered at the Bargate before making their way down Hanover Buildings and across Hoglands Park.

They then went northbound along Kingsway, right into Old Northam Road, past the King Alfred pub, over the Iron Bridge, and down Britannia Road.

Under a police escort some of the fans carried banners while some held a paper coffin aloft.


They were also chanting among other things “Lowe Out” , "Lowe must go" and "Rupert has ruined our club" as well as favourites such as "Oh when the Saints go marching in."

They then made their way to the Itchen stand at St Mary’s Stadium, where struggling 10-man Saints drew 2-2 with Swansea City in the Championship.

Once at the ground they gathered around the Ted Bates statue where they chanted furiously up at the executive boxes.

Organisers initially estimated that as many as 1,000 protestors had taken part in the march, but police put the figure at more like 300.

After the final whistle about 150 fans gathered outside the ground and continued to chant before dispersing without incident.

The march - to protest against PLC chairman Rupert Lowe and football board chairman Michael Wilde - has been organised via a group discussion board on an internet social networking site.

Fans are angry that the club is in the relegation zone for the championship and facing financial problems.

Organiser Connor Bowers, from Hedge End, said he felt it was important fans showed their feelings and hoped the protest would have the effect they desired.

“Today we just want to voice our concerns about the way the club is being run,” he said.

“Some of the decisions Lowe has made over recent weeks are totally outrageous, like bringing in a new manager with no English league experience.”

Conor said he hoped Leon Crouch could find the necessary money to regain control of the club.

It was revealed earlier this week that Mr Lowe, Mr Wilde and fellow director Andrew Cowen had offered to step down if Mr Crouch could come up with £6m.

After the march, Conor, 16, added: “All I can say is ‘wow.’ “I was expecting 500, but we have got thousands here.

“I’m thankful for everyone here today, because without them this wouldn’t have been what it is.”

Mr Lowe was not at the game today because he is on holiday.

But football board chairman Mr Wilde was in the directors' box.

Earlier this week the Daily Echo revealed that he had been the target of a death threat.

His home and business premises have also come under attack.

Meanwhile, the younger generation of fans, meanwhile, have been praised for organising the protest march.

Southampton Independent Supporters Association member Perry McMillan, a veteran of the early 1990s protests against Ian Branfoot, said: “It’s encouraging to see the younger generation organising themselves in this way, talking to each other on the internet.

“The time to protest is before and after the game, and during it cheer on the team 100 per cent.”