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So'ton 20:05 Vitesse A

Saints owner passes away

Southampton rocked by sudden death

Last Updated: 11/08/10 7:54pm

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Liebherr: Tragic loss

Liebherr: Tragic loss

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Southampton have announced that owner Markus Liebherr has died at the age of 62.

The cause of his death was not disclosed in a statement on Southampton's official club website.

"Anyone who came to know Markus learned of his quick wit, love of football - most especially Saints football - and his unquenchable thirst for better knowledge of all things," the statement read.

"Anyone who had the privilege of meeting Markus met a man who was quiet, unassuming, undemonstrative and fantastic fun to be with.

"To say he will be missed is an unmistakable understatement."

The German-born, Swiss businessman was a member of one of Europe's top family business dynasties and had led the revival of the south coast club.

Premier League dream

His holding company took Southampton out of administration in July 2009 following their relegation from the Championship with the intention of leading them back into the Premier League.

Liebherr swiftly appointed Alan Pardew as manager and sanctioned a string of big signings, including the £1million capture of Rickie Lambert from Bristol Rovers.

Despite a 10-point deduction for going into administration, the Saints then narrowly missed out on last season's League One play-offs.

They also won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Wembley in March and the club has vowed to honour Liebherr's memory by building on the foundations he laid.

"What would Markus want now is a question that will be on everyone's lips," the statement continued.

"He would have wanted to be there when the Saints get promotion to the

Premier League.

"The well-laid plans for the club that he and the executive chairman had

mapped out over a year ago will continue to be implemented uninterrupted and nothing will change in that regard.

"The club will ensure that Markus' wishes are carried out in full."

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