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By ESPN Staff

Lowe vows to secure Southampton's future

Former chairman Rupert Lowe claims he is the man to rescue Southampton as he plots a dramatic return to the ailing Coca-Cola Championship club.

Lowe has formed an unlikely alliance with Michael Wilde, the man who ousted him in June 2006 before resigning himself eight months later, in a bid to reclaim power at St Mary's.

The duo, who between them hold a 22% shareholding in the club and have supporters who account for around a further 20%, issued a joint statement explaining why they have called an EGM to remove the current board, including chairman Leon Crouch.

In the statement, published in the Southern Daily Echo, Lowe said: 'I have grown to love Southampton Football Club and stepped down in June 2006 because I believed it was in the best interests of the club.

'However, I bear no grudges, and although Michael and I have had disagreements in the past, we are now united in our wish to plan a long-term, honest and secure future for Southampton Football Club and the community it serves.'

The controversial former chairman's return is set to divide opinion among the club's fans, with many blaming him for their relegation in 2005 and subsequent struggles - they dropped into the Championship relegation zone after Sheffield Wednesday's draw with Coventry last night.

However, others see Lowe as the man to stabilise the club for whom he delivered their state-of-the-art St Mary's stadium, and who reached the 2003 FA Cup final under his stewardship, but are now in serious financial turmoil.

Wilde added: 'I feel let down and disappointed by the performance of a number of people that I was instrumental in bringing into the club some 18 months ago.

'I am prepared to take responsibility for this by working with both Rupert and Andrew (Cowen, former managing director) to arrest the club's current deterioration.'

Crouch has yet to announce a date for the EGM, and said: 'We are focused completely on Saturday's big home game against Bristol City and our remaining matches.'