We would like to reply to Mike Thomas's email in the letters page on November 21. He is a Manchester Utd fan who we seem to have niggled slightly!

In our letter on November 12 regarding the Leicester games, where it shocked us all that Saints fans walked out. We did comment that we are not Manchester Utd fans, as it is well known that they walk out if things are not going their way, although the gentleman disagrees with us. How many times for example, have we seen Manchester Utd lose at a cup final and by the time their players go to collect their medals, the United side of the stadium is practically empty.

When we played in the 2003 cup final at the Millennium Stadium, even though we lost to Arsenal, not one of our fans left that stadium. We were so proud of the team for even getting that far and the way our fans reacted towards our players you would have thought we had won the cup final!

You said you were an avid Saints home fan in the mid 60's, but then it changed to a Manchester Utd fan. It is such a pity that you didn't experience the joy we felt when we beat Manchester Utd in the 1976 FA Cup Final, memories that we will never forget, but by then you had already gone over to the other side!

We remember the day that Manchester Utd relegated us. Their fans did a countdown and enjoyed every minute of mocking us, and then Roy Kean put his thumbs down to Saints fans. We expect that from their fans but what a disgraceful thing for a player to do!

You are right when you say that you think we are the kind of people who believe that you should support your local team. We would think that this is the opinion of most Saints fans, this is why we all sing "we support our local team" when Manchester Utd come to St Mary's.

We have to correct you when you said that we are lucky our team is only a short distance to travel and that we would be back home by 6pm at the latest. My goodness when did you last experience the traffic and road closures after a game at St Mary's? No way have we ever been back at homes anywhere near as early as 6pm.

You asked if we were regulars. Yes we are, both home and away and have been for many years. You offered to get us tickets to watch Manchester United. We don't mean to be disrespectful, but why would we want to watch Manchester Utd when we have our Saints? The only time we would watch them is when they play Southampton. Last season when we went to Old Trafford, Manchester United fans went up on our Southampton coaches pretending to be Saints fans and got into our section of the ground. They were found out when they jumped up as Manchester Utd scored! Consequently they were left to find their own way home from Manchester. It wasn't fair that genuine Saints fans missed out because of those people.

We can see that you are a dedicated Manchester Utd fan and that you travel and awful lot of miles to support your team. Also that you are a person who would never walk out on your team and that there are others like you.

Although we take all this on board, I am afraid we cannot change our views. We will never understand how a person who lives locally and has their own local football team, whether it be Southampton or not, can support a team such a long distance away and worse still is Manchester United!

Elaine and Jemmy

Chandlers Ford and Bassett.