A group of lucky Southampton fans will have their loyalty rewarded when they jump on board a private charter flight to their team’s game at Manchester City next month – and Saints legend Matt Le Tissier says their dedication was one of the reasons he decided to stay at the club for his whole career.

Southampton sponsor eToro have hired a flight – nicknamed Le Tiss Air – for 12 fortunate supporters to fly up to the Etihad Stadium on November 2, a gesture devised as a form of gratitude for the unwavering passion they show towards their team throughout each season.

And Le Tissier – a one-club man who scored 212 goals in 465 games for Saints – believes their loyalty not only deserves paying homage to, but also that it influenced his decision to remain on the south coast.

“I always had a fantastic relationship with the fans, and they were one of the reasons I stayed at Southampton for my whole career,” the talismanic ex-forward said.

“They were always so passionate and loyal towards me and the rest of the players, and it’s fantastic when football clubs do give back to the fans because, let’s be honest, without the fans, there would be no football clubs.

“They’re the most important people at the clubs and rightly, they should be rewarded for that.

“What those fans go through and how much they have to dig into their pocket each season to follow their team home and away is just incredible.

“I hope that the players today are just as grateful as we were back then for their support.

“The plane will be great fun - it is a lovely gesture and hopefully the fans think that too and plenty of them enter the competition to try and get a seat.”

Le Tissier signed for the club as a precocious young academy player in 1985, making his debut the following year before establishing a reputation as a clinical marksman whose presence became invaluable at The Dell.

Over the following 17 years he set about indelibly carving his name into Southampton folklore, resisting interest from some of English football’s biggest clubs and reciprocating that loyalty the fans had so visibly shown towards him.

And Le Tissier remains an avid Saints fan himself, backing Ralph Hasenhuttl and believing the Austrian should devote a considerable part of his attention to the two domestic cup competitions this season.

“I think we’re realistic enough to know that we’re not going to win the Premier League, but there’s no reason why we can’t win a trophy.” he added.

“There’s a lot of talent in the squad so hopefully we can get the best out of all of them.

“He’s (Hasenhuttl) made a big difference since he’s come in - he’s done a fantastic job and I look forward to him being here for a long time.”

eToro, the global multi-asset investment platform, is rewarding loyal football fans ahead of an in-depth report due to be released later this month in association with the KPMG Football Benchmark, which looks at the costs associated with being a dedicated match-going football fan. To find out more please head to www.eToro.com