SAINTS legend Lawrie McMenemy has praised the club's loyal fans in a message of support ahead of this weekend's playoff final.

The old Wembley Stadium was the setting for the greatest day in Southampton's footballing history - winning the FA Cup in 1976.

McMenemy, now 87, was immortalised in the club's folklore for leading his team to their only major trophy.

The objective on Sunday is different. Leeds United stand in the way of Saints making an immediate return to the Premier League.

McMenemy wants to see Southampton's supporters rewarded for their devotion with another famous trip down Wembley Way.

He told the Daily Echo: "One thing I've always said about Southampton Football Club is their supporters are very loyal.

Daily Echo: Southampton celebrating their 1976 FA Cup successSouthampton celebrating their 1976 FA Cup success

"After relegation, the crowds didn't slump as other clubs would. I have looked at their results on a Monday and Southampton always has about 30,000 people.

"A reward for them would be promotion and that's what Sunday is about. To be at Wembley is a highlight in many, many ways.

"I am sure there are still supporters who remember the biggest-ever trip we made to Wembley way back, coming away with the FA Cup.

"They may have youngsters in the family who have heard about it but have not been to Wembley, so the trip is wonderful from that point of view.

"To see their club playing there tops the bill and it would be terrific if they get the same result as we did in the cup final.

"Then, we could all look forward to seeing the big clubs again at every home game, such as Man United, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and more.

"It is amazing for the club to sell 37,000 tickets, more than the capacity of St Mary's. 

Daily Echo: Southampton fans at Wembley Stadium for the 2017 League Cup finalSouthampton fans at Wembley Stadium for the 2017 League Cup final

"It shows how many supporters the club still has and full marks. I hope they all enjoy the day out and come home as they did in the old days - singing.

"I remember the team took the FA Cup to the town hall, and we went out on the balcony. I couldn't believe the number of people who were gathered.

"We then went on a trip around a few of the streets and they were crowded too, which reminded us how much the club meant to the people.

"They were supportive and showed it's not just Tottenham, Arsenal and Man Utd that get that sort of backing, it's Southampton as well.

"In the old days, before I joined Southampton, I was at Sheffield Wednesday, and the midweek games we had to go and watch were just up the road at Leeds.

"One of my main friends in the game in those days was Jack Charlton so I've got happy memories of Leeds.

"But I hope they don't win again on Sunday. Good luck to the Saints manager and the players, get the job done."