Lowe on Wilde side in Saints talks

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The Independent Online

Rupert Lowe, the controversial former Southampton chairman, could be in line for an unexpected return to the Championship club.

Lowe, who is still a shareholder in Southampton, is reportedly ready to join forces with Michael Wilde – the man who led the campaign to oust him in 2006 and replaced him as chairman – in an attempt to regain control at St Mary's.

Wilde resigned his position in February 2007, having failed to attract significant investment into the cash-strapped club, but remains their biggest individual shareholder.

A move to bring Lowe back could be met with resistance from Saints fans, who still hold him largely responsible for the club's current plight after they were relegated from the top flight under his stewardship in 2005.

But in a statement to the Stock Exchange yesterday, Southampton, who desperately need outside investment, confirmed that Lowe had been in touch with the current board, now chaired by Leon Crouch, although they have yet to receive details of his intentions.

The statement read: "Following the article which appeared in today's Southern Daily Echo regarding Rupert Lowe and Michael Wilde, the company confirms it has been contacted by Mr Lowe. The board of Southampton has asked Mr Lowe for detailed proposals setting out his intentions for the company which it has not yet received."

A separate statement from the Saints board went further, saying: "All that matters at this stage of the season is the concentration of everyone (board, staff, manager, players and fans) upon the match against Coventry on Saturday and the need to succeed both then and in the following weeks. No true fan of the club or responsible shareholder could credibly identify themselves with such a controversial proposal at so delicate a time."

Southampton are currently 19th in the Championship, just two points above the relegation zone, having been thrashed 5-0 by Hull on Saturday.

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