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Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 14:00 UK

Swiss seals Southampton takeover

Southampton

Swiss Markus Liebherr has completed his takeover of League One Southampton.

The Saints' future had been uncertain following the collapse of the proposed takeover by Matt Le Tissier's Pinnacle group on 30 June.

Liebherr, 61, is expected to finalise his boardroom line-up at St Mary's by August, before the new season begins.

"I believe we have a superb opportunity to rebuild this great club. This will require resources, planning, hard work and patience," he told BBC Solent.

"We should not expect instant success, but our fans, employees and stakeholders can expect 100% commitment from me and my team.

"We will assemble a strong management team at every level of the club. We will act rapidly, but also plan for the long term, because I am here for the long term.

He was attracted by the club's rich sporting heritage, loyal fan-base, first-class stadium and training facilities

Joint administrator Mark Fry

"I also look forward to the club re-engaging with the fans and the local community. We cannot succeed without their backing."

Liebherr was on the board of Liebherr Holdings until 2007 and has been running his own group of companies, the Mali Group, since 1994.

A statement read: "DMWSL613 Limited is pleased to announce that it has acquired the assets of Southampton Leisure Holdings, principally Southampton Football Club for an undisclosed sum."

Saints manager Mark Wotte told BBC South Today: "I think it looks very good, and it's about time.

"It's been extremely difficult, there has been lots of worrying about the future of this great club but, hopefully, we can look to a better future.

"The most important thing is that the club will be saved and we can look to a better future and start working to get back to the Championship."

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Joint administrator Mark Fry's deadline for the sale of the football club had passed on Friday without him carrying out a threat to wind up the club.

"The sale of the Saints to Markus Liebherr is a fantastic opportunity to rebuild the club," said Fry.

"He was attracted to Southampton by a number of qualities which include the club's rich sporting heritage, loyal fan-base, first-class stadium and training facilities and the potential for the Saints to regain their rightful place at the higher echelons of English football.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all Saints fans for their support and patience in what have been uncertain times for the club. I would also like to wish both Markus and the club well for future success."



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