Saints have confirmed they ARE planning a permanent tribute to the club’s late owner, Markus Liebherr.

This week marked five years since the German-born Swiss billionaire’s takeover, which rescued the club from administration and saved them from potential liquidation.

To coincide with that anniversary, one supporter launched a petition encouraging the board to rename a stand at St Mary’s after Liebherr, who passed away in August 2010.

The online document had attracted more than 1,500 signatures as of yesterday.

Chief executive Gareth Rogers told the Daily Echo that Markus’ daughter, Katharina, who now owns the club, has been touched by the warmth her father is held in by the fans.

He explained that there have been plans afoot for some months to commemorate him with a fitting and lasting tribute, which they hope to unveil soon – although it will not involve renaming a stand.

Rogers said: “We are mindful of the growing feeling amongst the fan base with respect to the potential naming of a stand at St Mary’s Stadium in honour of Markus Liebherr, given his immense contribution to Southampton Football Club.

“I have been discussing the idea of a permanent tribute with Katharina for several months, and every time we speak she always impresses on me how she is grateful and touched by the special relationship her father continues to hold with Southampton supporters.

“Whilst Katharina does not wish to name a stand after Markus, she set out her thoughts to me at the end of last season on what she feels will best act as a fitting tribute.

“The planning for this is already underway, and we look forward to announcing more details to our supporters within the forthcoming months.”