Saints legend Terry Paine spoke of his pride at being introduced as the Club's Honorary President on New Year's Day.
Paine was formally inaugurated into his new role yesterday, when he was introduced to a sell-out crowd at St Mary's ahead of kick off against Arsenal.
"It feels like coming home," Terry told Saints Player as he discussed his new title. "It's a tremendous honour for me, and a complete surprise.
"I've been in regular contact since the takeover, when they (Nicola Cortese and Markus Liebherr) saved the Club and put us back on a footing that has really paid dividends.
"Loyalty works both ways from the club and the player – or ex-player, in this case. When we've had bad times, I've never deserted them. You go through hard times and good times, and at the moment it's all good!
"It's lovely to follow in the footsteps of someone like Ted Bates," Paine added of his legendary former manager and a previous club president.
"He brought me into the game here at Southampton way back in 1956, and we've had a bit of a ride since that day – we went from the Third Division to the Second Division, into the First Division and then into Europe.
"It was lovely to create that little bit of history, just like the the team has done in the last couple of years. It's been an absolute joy seeing them come up through the leagues.
"It took us a little bit longer, so what this current squad has done is remarkable. I'm over the moon that it's happened and, hopefully, with a little bit of luck we can stay there."
Paine is based in South Africa, where he is a sports pundit covering European football including matches from the Barclays Premier League – meaning he always has one eye on how Saints are getting on.
"I see them every week so I can have a good look at them whether I am over there or here," he said.
"They like to get on the front foot and have a go – funnily enough, when you look back through the history of the Club, we've always been like that.
"We've always had great goalscorers at the club and long may that continue. We're as good as most in the league.
"They are a Premier League club, from the academy and the grass roots level right the way through.
"They are run as a business as they should be, so what Nicola Cortese has done off the field is great – they (Cortese and Liebherr) came to our rescue and thank goodness they did."