Southampton Football Club was proud to present its latest Forever Saint award in honour of former chairman Leon Crouch.
A lifelong Saints supporter, Mr Crouch sadly passed away aged 70 in September 2019, but he was recognised during half-time of the Premier League win over Aston Villa, with his daughter Hannah collecting the accolade.
The award, which has been introduced this season, celebrates incredible contributions made to the club and community by ex-players, club servants and community champions, with Franny Benali, Glenn Cockerill, John Corbett and Kelvin Davis having been recognised so far.
Mr Crouch, who was born in Lymington, twice served the club in the role of chairman, helping to keep it afloat during one of the most troubled times in its history.
Founder of the Fullers Group, he became a significant shareholder of Southampton in 2006, before becoming chairman in March 2007, initially on an acting basis.
Following a few months in that role, he would return to the position in a permanent capacity in December 2007, serving through to the end of the 2007/08 season.
After the club went into administration in April 2009, Mr Crouch contributed a significant amount of his own money to help keep the business running and cover the wage bills while a new buyer was sought, which eventually resulted in Markus Liebherr’s takeover that summer, sparking an incredible rise back into the Premier League and as far as Europe for Saints.
Mr Crouch also funded the Ted Bates statue that has stood proudly outside St Mary’s since 2008, in memory of the club’s legendary former player, manager, director and president, after the initial one was deemed not to have been suitable.
He was a familiar face at St Mary’s even after his time on the board came to an end, and could regularly be seen watching the team’s games with family and friends in his executive box.