TOBY Steele insists Saints are still committed to refurbishing St Mary’s and continuing to develop their Staplewood training base.

The club posted a loss of £34million for the year ending June 2019, with the previous set of accounts resulting in a £29million profit.

Despite this £65million swing, Saints’ managing director made it clear that the St Mary’s side will continue to look at ways they can improve their facilities.

Speaking to the Daily Echo about the club’s home ground, Steele said: “The stadium is nearly 20 years old and we are on a cycle of maintenance that takes up a fair amount of our capital expenditure budget.

“Fans don’t always see what we do but we have to do it.

“The bits that people do see, whether that’s the LED boards we put in, the sound system and the 1885 Lounge, we want to continue doing all of that.

“Every year we earmark things to do and we are looking at a couple of projects to do now but whether that’s this summer or the next one, we always want to bring fans new and exciting things.

“We know we can’t continue to offer the same thing year after year because we need to do new things to keep the fans coming and to also bring new fans to the ground.”

Saints also want to add to their Staplewood Campus, but Steele admits that development is likely to be parked for the foreseeable future.

They want to emulate the Markus Liebherr Pavilion which is for the first team players and build something similar for their academy sides.

However, Steele says the needs to be realistic in prioritising their spending as they have to consider improving Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad.

“The development we want to do there is put in a new academy building and that is always in our plans,” added Steele.

“We are making small changes to a number of existing academy buildings we have got, but longer-term we want an equivalent of the Pavilion that we have for the first team.

“As ever, these things come down to money and is that the priority right now or is the priority to re-establish ourselves where we should be in the league?

“It’s definitely not off the agenda, it’s just being able to prioritise.”

Although investing money in the first team could lead to placing higher in the Premier League table, there’s an argument that a better academy will benefit Saints in the long run.

On this topic, Steele added: “We put a huge amount of money into the academy each year.

“Being on the south coast, targeting 16 to 18-year-olds, means that half of our market is the sea.

“If you compare that to a team in the Midlands, they have a bigger radius.

“We have made quite a substantial investment in players overseas and you can see that if you look at the Under-18s and the Under-23s.

“The building would help to solidify the infrastructure but in terms of what we are doing in the academy, in terms of players and coaches, we are continuing to make a significant investment in that.”