Southampton FC have announced that their home shirt will not carry a headline sponsor next season in recognition of their 125th anniversary.
The club make the decision at a time when many club's finances are strained but are confident that there financial position allows them to make the change. The decision also means that their current deal with local airline Flybe will not be renewed at the end of the season.
The decision comes following hundreds of requests from fans since the takeover. A statement on the official Southampton website said: "The financial position of the Club is such that, unlike in previous seasons, it is able to take a far stronger position in negotiations for various sponsorship agreements, and will only offer the Club's highly respected brand to partners who recognise what an association with Southampton Football Club can offer their company."
Executive Chairman Nicola Cortese believes that the news will not just serve as a thank you to fans, but also as an indicator of the Club's future ambitions.
"The current support that we have experienced has been so great, and we are well aware of this special celebration that we have coming up. We consider it to be very special, and despite the fact that we have only been involved in the very recent history of the Club, we are now a part of its future. That is why we wanted to make this gesture, from us to the fans, to produce a special shirt in a special year.
"I don't want to reveal anything about the shirt at this point, but it is definitely a shirt that I am 100% convinced the fans will like. It is a one off commemorative product that will never be produced again.
"Our finance allows us to take such a decision, which I think is great news, not just for Southampton Football Club, but also for the fans as they will hopefully recognise that we are in the unprecedented position to be able to refuse sponsorship agreements for our shirt, because we want to make this special gesture towards the fans."
In my previous messages I have always made reference to how grateful we are to the fans. However, I believe that actions speak louder than words, and I hope that this action will show our fans how much we value their support."